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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

KTM Will Shake Down All-American Dakar Team by Challenging Honda in Baja

At a press event for the 2005 Paris-Dakar rally today, KTM (along with Red Bull) announced its plans to field an all-American effort again next year, with the 2005 rally being the start of the company’s three year campaign to put an American rider on the top step of Dakar’s podium. The KTM/Red Bull U.S. team fielded three riders in the 2004 Paris-Dakar, emerging with two finishing spots in the top 20.

To prepare for the 2005 rally, KTM/Red Bull will hold what Team Manager Scott Harden called a “torture test” this summer in Death Valley, inviting 15 of America’s top off-road riders to compete for two spots on the team as well as one alternate position. The chosen team members will undergo an extensive schedule of testing and training to prepare for the race, including plans to race the 2004 Baja 1000 (November 17-21). Alongside the American racers, KTM’s Baja effort will feature a second team featuring Paris-Dakar hero Richard Sainct and another European racer.

Can KTM challenge Honda’s dominance in Baja? That remains to be seen, but KTM/Red Bull’s effort to bridge the gap between European and American off-road racing is definately interesting. Look for more info on the KTM/Red Bull “Team USA” effort as we get closer to the start of the ’05 Paris-Dakar next January.

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