When the KTM Red Bull Factory team rides out in Valkenswaard for the opening event of the 2007 MX GP season they will do it with an air of confidence, team solidarity and KTM machines that mean they are well equipped for continued success in the sport.
he factory team – David Philippaerts of Italy and Spain Jonathan Barragan in the MX1 class and South African Tyla Rattray and Tommy Searle of Britain in the MX2 saddles are now under the inspired leadership of 10-times MX title winner Stefan Everts. The Belgian motocross maestro retired from active racing at the end of last season and has entered into the team leadership job with as much passion and commitment was he exhibited on the track. Everts makes a point of dedicating time and attention to each team member and his mentoring role has already increased rider confidence and created excellent team morale going into the season.
"I am still very new," Everts said with characteristic modesty before the start of the season. "I had to start somewhere and time will tell if I’m working in the right direction." He said he hoped the team would win the MX2 title and be in the top three for MX1. "I want all the riders to work together on the track, to have a good team spirit and to use each other to advance to the next level," he said.
Pit Beirer, KTM Offroad Director is also very enthusiastic about the team structure and training methods.
"We are going in a completely new direction with out young motocross team which we put together in a completely new way, together with Stefan Everts. Our new MX1 and MX2 teams learnt in joint training sessions and motivation events that we must help and respect each other if we want to be an unbeatable team." He said it was unique that four world class riders could work and train together at this level for months on end. "Every training session becomes a small race."
The factory team met for a concentrated pre-season training camp at Stefan’s motocross school in Spain in January, an occasion for Everts to instill his “All for one and one for all “philosophy and to underline that he wants the riders to strive for excellent results but to also have fun doing it.
In the run-up to the opening competition in Valkenswaard, Netherlands the KTM Red Bull riders have not only consistently put in solid results in pre-season internationals but have also been meeting with Stefan for weekly training sessions in Belgium and France.
"I am satisfied with the preparation," Everts said. "I think the results speak for themselves."
All team members are in good health and spirits. This year all KTM motocross factory riders will be wearing the KTM Leatt neck brace, a revolutionary new protection for the prevention of traumatic neck and spine injuries. The brace, which has been called the “helmet for the neck” has been developed according to a design concept of orthopedic surgeon Dr. Chris Leatt of South Africa.
David Philippaerts who was third in the MX2 World championships last season has his sights set on the MX1 title in 2007 while Jonathan Barragan is going for a top three place in the championship. Both are onboard KTM 450 SX-F machines. Durban-born Tyla Rattray took four Grand Prix victories and a total of eight podiums in 2006 for 4th position in the championships. The youngest factory team member Tommy Searle who will celebrate his 17th birthday in the mid 2007 season is recognized as one of the most outstanding young talents in motocross. Searle signed as a factory team member in 2006. Tyla and Tommy are riding KTM 250 SX-F machines.
"For me as Offroad Director it gave me a lot of pleasure to see how the team was put together and the cooperation with Stefan means we are better prepared than ever before," Pit Beirer said. "I am very proud and I can’t wait for the first race to start!"
The opening event in Valkenswaard, a race that tests riders over sandy conditions, is the first of 15 Grands Prix and is scheduled for April 1. The competition winds up back in the Netherlands on September 2 in Lierop after sweeping through European venues, plus overseas races in Tyla’s hometown of Durban, South Africa and in Sugo, Japan.
Source: Press Release KTM