MRW Issue 38

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ISSUE <strong>38</strong><br />





KTM 1390<br />




& MOTOGP<br />





2024 KTM<br />

390 DUKE


Greetings <strong>MRW</strong> enthusiasts, and welcome<br />

to the <strong>38</strong>th edition of SA’s exclusive<br />

motorcycle magazine – marking the<br />

culmination of an exhilarating year in<br />

motorcycle racing. The 2023 MotoGP<br />

season was nothing short of spectacular,<br />

delivering suspense until the final race<br />

– just the kind of thrilling conclusion we<br />

relish. World SBK also provided sensational<br />

racing, setting the stage for an even<br />

more phenomenal 2024 season in both<br />

championships.<br />

Anticipation is building for the upcoming<br />

year, with numerous intriguing<br />

developments in store for MotoGP and<br />

World SBK. A major focal point is the highly<br />

anticipated move of MM93 to Ducati with<br />

the Gresini team. Witnessing the eighttime<br />

world champion on the dominant<br />

Ducati machine promises excitement, with<br />

expectations of ruffling a few feathers and a<br />

triumphant return to his winning ways. While<br />

there may be some adjustments for Marc,<br />

both with the bike and the team, I firmly<br />

consider him a strong contender for the<br />

2024 title.<br />

Pecco remains a formidable force,<br />

and Martin is poised to be a significant<br />

contender once again. Keep an eye on<br />

KTM, as they aim to make further strides<br />

after a solid 2023 season. The absence of<br />

a main race win in the previous year will<br />

undoubtedly drive them, especially our own<br />

Brad, who is eager to rectify that statistic.<br />

Brad’s impressive fourth-place finish in the<br />

highly competitive 2023 MotoGP season<br />

solidifies his status as one of the world’s<br />

best, yet questions linger until he and KTM<br />

can enhance their overall winning records.<br />

For more insights into MotoGP, be sure to<br />

catch our latest episode of Talking MotoGP,<br />

where we review the final race and the<br />

Valencia test.<br />

Looking ahead to World SBK 2024, the<br />

stage is set for an epic season. With Rea<br />

moving to Yamaha, Iannone returning to<br />

Ducati, Toprak on a BMW, and new rider/<br />

machine weight rules in play, excitement is<br />

guaranteed. I, for one, cannot contain my<br />

anticipation.<br />

As we bid farewell to 2023, a year marked<br />

by highs and lows, here’s hoping that<br />

2024 brings more positivity and restores<br />

a sense of peace and brightness to our<br />

world. I extend my heartfelt thanks for your<br />

continued support and wish you all a Merry<br />

Christmas and a Happy New Year!<br />

Cheers,<br />

Rob<br />


Shaun Portman<br />

Beam Productions<br />

Adam Child “Chad”<br />

Sheridan Morais<br />




Rob Portman<br />

082 782 8240<br />

rob@motoriderworld.com<br />


Shaun Portman<br />

072 260 9525<br />

shaun@motoriderworld.com<br />

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distributed, or transmitted in any<br />

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KISKA.COM Photo: R. Schedl Please make no attempt to imitate the illustrated riding scenes, always wear protective clothing and observe the applicable provisions of the road traffic regulations!<br />

The illustrated vehicles may vary in selected details from the production models and some illustrations feature optional equipment available at additional cost.<br />



Class-leading power and a massive electronic<br />

package mean the world just got a whole lot smaller.<br />

On pristine new asphalt or a broken-up old track,<br />

the new KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S is ready<br />

to rip through it all. #DARE2ADV<br />




POWER<br />

K A W A S A K I<br />



NINJA H2 SX<br />

Kawasaki has developed a hydrogen-powered, supercharged<br />

Ninja H2 SX, marking a significant step in the decarbonization of<br />

motorcycles. After introducing the world’s first hybrid streetbike, the<br />

Ninja 7 Hybrid, Kawasaki has now created a supercharged, zeroemissions<br />

Ninja H2 SX fueled by hydrogen.<br />

While battery-electric powertrains are thriving in the automotive<br />

industry, electric motorcycles still face challenges in providing the<br />

desired all-day range, quick refueling, and maintaining a light and<br />

well-concentrated mass. Recreational bikers often prefer the sound<br />

of combustion engines, adding another layer to the challenge.<br />

Kawasaki’s solution involves hydrogen, which offers more energy<br />

per weight than batteries, albeit with challenges related to storage<br />

space. Hydrogen can be rapidly refueled at hydrogen stations,<br />

though their current scarcity poses a limitation. The hydrogen can<br />

either power electric motors through a fuel cell or be burned in a<br />

modified combustion engine, preserving the familiar sounds of<br />

traditional motorcycles.<br />

While acknowledging the hurdles and inconveniences associated<br />

with hydrogen, Kawasaki sees it as a viable option. The company<br />

takes a combustion approach, leveraging its unique supercharger,


the only one in the production motorcycle world. This supercharger,<br />

capable of delivering air in bulk, positions Kawasaki as the only<br />

motorcycle manufacturer ready to explore a production hydrogenburning<br />

motorcycle.<br />

The recently unveiled hydrogen-powered Ninja H2 SX is not a simple<br />

modification of the existing model; Kawasaki has developed new<br />

bodywork, including an H-shaped headlamp. The design appears<br />

more bulky and angular than the regular SX, with oversized hard<br />

panniers containing high-pressure gas cylinders for hydrogen storage.<br />

Kawasaki plans to commence testing the hydrogen-powered<br />

motorcycle next year, as part of the HySE initiative, collaborating<br />

with Yamaha, Honda, and Suzuki. The initiative also involves the<br />

development of a hydrogen-combustion ATV set to race in the Dakar<br />

Rally next year. While the practical details, such as hydrogen capacity,<br />

power output, weight, and range, are yet to be disclosed, Kawasaki’s<br />

move signifies an intriguing development in the pursuit of alternative<br />

motorcycle propulsion technologies.



BETTER<br />

K T M ’ S N E W 1 3 9 0<br />


The 2024 KTM 1390 Super Duke R, a magnificent and formidable<br />

motorcycle, undergoes its second major redesign. With a larger<br />

engine, expanded fuel tank, semi-active suspension, and a boldly<br />

unconventional new headlight design, this iteration continues the<br />

Super Duke’s legacy as one of the most audacious bikes in the<br />

market.<br />

The redesigned headlight, reminiscent of a mechanical Predator<br />

alien, deviates dramatically from conventional motorcycle<br />

aesthetics. It maintains a normal profile from the side but presents<br />

an avant-garde, confrontational appearance from the front. This<br />

design choice aligns seamlessly with the Super Duke’s reputation<br />

for unapologetic hooliganism.<br />

Although named the 1390, the motorcycle features a 1350 cc engine,<br />

a slight bore increase from its predecessor. KTM emphasizes<br />

improved power and torque distribution across the entire rev range,<br />

adapting to the latest EURO 5+ emission standards. Claimed<br />

peak horsepower rises from 177 to 190, with torque reaching an<br />

impressive 145 Nm compared to the previous 144 Nm.


Despite its wild performance, the Super Duke R has practical<br />

enhancements, including a larger 17.5-liter (3.85-gallon) fuel<br />

tank, providing an extended range of approximately 300 km (186<br />

miles). The bike comes equipped with KTM’s adjustable WP Apex<br />

suspension as standard, while the EVO model boasts the latest<br />

WP semi-active technology with electronically controlled magnetic<br />

valves for rapid damping adjustments based on road conditions<br />

and rider preferences.<br />

For those seeking an adrenaline-fueled experience, the 2024<br />

KTM 1390 Super Duke R, equipped with advanced electronics<br />

for performance management, is designed to cater to both skilled<br />

riders and enthusiasts. The promotional video emphasizes its<br />

ease of riding coupled with the capability for superhuman feats,<br />

reinforcing its status as a powerhouse in the motorcycle realm.



2023 REPLICA<br />

D U C A T I C O L L E C T O R S ’ L I M I T E D<br />

E D I T I O N T O C E L E B R A T E A<br />


Ducati celebrates the conquest of the MotoGP, WorldSBK and<br />

WorldSSP titles with the creation of five special, collector’s edition<br />

Panigale series, inspired by the Desmosedici GP of Francesco<br />

Bagnaia, Jorge Martín and Marco Bezzecchi, the Panigale V4 R of<br />

Álvaro Bautista and Nicolò Bulega’s Panigale V2. The Panigale V4s<br />

dedicated to Bagnaia and Bautista take up the yellow livery with which<br />

the two champions raced in the Misano Grand Prix and SBK Round,<br />

celebrating an iconic color in the Ducati history and thus becoming<br />

even more iconic.<br />

The bikes were presented during the press conference anticipating<br />

“Campioni in Festa”, the event with which Ducati celebrated this<br />

historic success together with its enthusiasts.


2023 was an incredible year for Ducati: no motorcycle manufacturer<br />

had ever been able to prevail in the MotoGP and WorldSBK World<br />

Championships for two consecutive years. A dream result, also<br />

completed by the conquest of the WorldSSP title and second and<br />

third place in the MotoGP world championship standings, which came<br />

to fruition thanks to the exceptional work of the engineers, teams<br />

and riders. A triumph that Ducati wishes to celebrate with five unique<br />

motorcycles, true jewels in limited and numbered editions.<br />

Each individual example of the series will be made unique by the<br />

rider’s original autograph placed on the tank, a signature which<br />

will then be protected with a layer of transparent varnish. The five<br />

replicas celebrate the racing numbers of the riders to whom they are<br />

dedicated: Pecco Bagnaia’s 63, Álvaro Bautista’s 19, Jorge Martín’s<br />

89, Marco Bezzecchi’s 72 and Nicolò Bulega’s 11.<br />

Like the racing bikes that inspire them, the Panigale 2023 Racing<br />

Replicas are offered in single-seater configuration only. Each<br />

is embellished with a billet aluminium steering plate with laser<br />

engraving of the model’s name and progressive number, and

a dedicated key and animation for the dashboard at key-on. In<br />

addition, the saddle is made of special material, with the rider’s logo<br />

displayed as on the race bike.<br />

The Panigale V4 Bagnaia 2023 World Champion Replica is inspired<br />

by the most exclusive livery of the 2024 season, the Ducati Yellow with<br />

which the Desmosedici GP of the Ducati Lenovo Team raced the San<br />

Marino and Riviera di Rimini GP at Misano. Production is limited to<br />

263 units.<br />

The Panigale V4 Bautista 2023 World Champion Replica takes<br />

up the Ducati Yellow livery of the Panigale V4 R with which Álvaro<br />

raced the Misano rounds and race 2 at Jerez de la Frontera.<br />

The livery, specifically, is inspired by the one with which Bautista<br />

became WorldSBK World Champion for the second time, at Jerez.<br />

Furthermore, like the Panigale V4 R from which it takes its inspiration,<br />

is enhanced by the brushed aluminium fuel tank, carbon fibre winglets<br />

and Marchesini forged aluminium wheels in light grey. Production is<br />

limited to 219 units.


The Panigale V4 Martín 2023 Racing<br />

Replica takes up the official colours of the<br />

Desmosedici GP of the Prima Pramac team,<br />

and is rendered all the more unique by the<br />

carbon fibre front fender. Production is<br />

limited to 189 units.<br />

The Panigale V4 Bezzecchi 2023 Racing<br />

Replica is inspired by the yellow/black livery<br />

of the Desmosedici GP of the Mooney VR46<br />

team. Production is limited to 72 units.<br />

These four Panigale V4s are based on the<br />

“S” model, and are enhanced by various<br />

Ducati Performance components that make<br />

them even more valuable and effective on<br />

road and track. The technical equipment<br />

boasts the adoption of the nine-disc STM-<br />

EVO SBK dry clutch and the Akrapovič<br />

homologated silencer, which is 2 kg<br />

lighter than the standard silencer on the<br />

Panigale V4. The Brembo braking system is<br />

enhanced by Stylema® R calipers and MCS<br />

master cylinder with remote adjustment.<br />

The adjustable footpegs are Rizoma billet<br />

aluminium. The plexiglass is a racing version.<br />

Other technical details that characterise<br />

these special bikes are the heat shield for the<br />

rear exhaust manifolds, the alternator cover,<br />

the rear mudguard and the front brake ducts,<br />

all made of carbon fibre. Also in carbon<br />

fibre, combined with titanium, is the cover<br />

protecting the single-sided swingarm.<br />

All Panigale V4 Replica bikes are made even<br />

closer to the racing bikes they are inspired<br />

by thanks to a series of accessories, such as<br />

the open clutch cover in carbon fibre*, the<br />

kits for removing the number plate holder

and mirrors*, the racing fuel tank cap in<br />

billet aluminium* and the GPS module that<br />

allows the display on the dashboard of lap<br />

times and split times taken on the track.<br />

The Panigale V2 Bulega 2023 World<br />

Champion Replica takes up the red/black<br />

livery of the Panigale V2 of the Aruba.it<br />

Racing WorldSSP team with which Nicolò<br />

Bulega won the world title. Production is<br />

limited to 111 units.<br />

The Panigale V2 is also enhanced with<br />

Öhlins suspension and steering damper,<br />

and Akrapovič racing silencers*, which<br />

increase the maximum power by 2.5%<br />

and the maximum torque by 2%, and<br />

contribute to reducing the weight of the<br />

bike by 5 kg, along with the Li-ion battery.<br />

The Rizoma rider footpegs are adjustable,<br />

made from billet aluminium. The front and<br />

rear mudguards, chain guard, clutch cover<br />

guard, swingarm guard and shock absorber<br />

guard are in carbon fibre. Also the Panigale<br />

V2 dedicated to Bulega can get even closer<br />

to the racing bike by fitting the number<br />

plate and mirror removal kit*, and the billet<br />

aluminium racing tank cap*.<br />

Each motorbike will come with a certificate<br />

of authenticity and will be delivered in<br />

a wooden packing case with dedicated<br />

graphics and a customised motorbike cover.




The moment has finally arrived; 2021 WorldSBK Champion<br />

Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)<br />

got to try the BMW M 1000 RR for the first time and he was<br />

overjoyed with the first impressions. Despite a mechanical<br />

issue after just two laps, the smile said it all for Razgatlioglu,<br />

who described the sensation of the power, the braking,<br />

the turning and the feeling within the team. It was originally<br />

planned that Razgatlioglu would test on Monday, 4th<br />

December but with unpredictable weather coming, he and<br />

Shaun Muir’s team decided to get the ball rolling with a half a<br />

day of testing on Sunday.<br />


FEELING IS VERY WARM” – Toprak talks<br />

Beginning in his usual humorous fashion, the #54 was relieved<br />

to finally try the bike: “First, I say, finally! We were waiting for my<br />

contract to finish but finally, I’m riding a BMW. For me, it’s very<br />

positive, I like hard braking but the engine braking was working<br />

a lot. Inside the team, my feeling is very warm and everyone is<br />

a very good person, so I’m happy for this. The first day is done<br />

but I think the total was only 11 laps but it was important to<br />

have a feeling. The first ride was very good and positive.<br />

“We tried to put my setup but today, we didn’t start it really<br />

because the bike wasn’t ready. We used half a day from 12pm.<br />

We had a problem and everyone said it was the engine but<br />

actually it was an oil problem. I lost time due to that but my last<br />

run was very positive as I rode eight laps. I learnt the bike as<br />

both this and my old one are different. I’m very happy as every<br />

lap I’m improving and learning the bike’s style. I need my style<br />

but in the slow corners, I feel better now.”

CAREER RECAP: BMW the third manufacturer<br />

for ‘El Turco’<br />

Starting his WorldSBK career with Kawasaki – coincidentally<br />

with a first test at Portimao in 2017 – Razgatlioglu was a<br />

podium finisher in his first season in 2018, before becoming<br />

a race winner in 2019. He moved to the factory Yamaha team<br />

in 2020 where he won his first-ever race for them, whilst in<br />

2021, he stopped Jonathan Rea and Kawasaki’s reign in the<br />

Championship, taking the crown. In 2022 and 2023, valiant<br />

efforts left him just short of Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing<br />

– Ducati), with a new challenge needed for the #54, thus his<br />

switch to BMW. However, one hot topic was the power of the<br />

BMW, which features engine upgrades for 2024.<br />

“I FELT UNBELIEVABLE POWER” – the smile<br />

said it all…<br />

“On the first lap, I was just smiling,” resumed a still-smiling<br />

Razgatlioglu. “Especially on the corner exit. I know my old<br />

bike very well after 4 years but on the exit of the last corner,<br />

I felt unbelievable power and over the hill, it was still going.<br />

This bike keeps getting faster. I had to adapt the braking at


the first corner because I was trying it like I had before but I<br />

stopped a lot. Also, after the problem at Turn 1, there was oil<br />

on the left side of the track so we used the middle. This wasn’t<br />

easy for me to turn into Turn 1. Anyway, every lap I was getting<br />

better, understanding the bike and the traction. The throttle<br />

connection is much better. I’m very happy and we have many<br />

parts to try.”<br />

THE MAIN DIFFERENCES: “Engine brake is<br />

unbelievable… the bike is very fast on the straight!”<br />

BMW are the third manufacturer Razgatlioglu has ridden for,<br />

having made his debut with Kawasaki and spent two seasons<br />

on the ZX-10RR for the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing outfit,<br />

before switching to the Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK<br />

squad from 2020 to 2023; claiming the 2021 title. After two<br />

days of limited running under his belt, the Turk explained the<br />

differences between his old Yamaha YZF-R1 machine and his<br />

new M 1000 RR bike<br />

He said: “The biggest difference is the engine brake is<br />

unbelievable and also the other biggest difference is the bike<br />

is very fast on the straight. This is good because it’s the first

time I’m feeling power. I’m very happy about this. I don’t know<br />

about the aero but maybe I’m feeling it on the last corner exit,<br />

going uphill. I’m feeling the bike isn’t wheelieing but maybe<br />

this is helping; I don’t really understand it. I’m just focused on<br />

entering the corner and acceleration. Maybe I need more laps to<br />

understand the wings. I think it’s helping through the exit of the<br />

last corner. With the Yamaha, I was always trying to have more<br />

lean because of the wheelie but with the BMW, I’m not fighting.<br />

On the corner exit, I’m feeling power and, after the hill, I’m<br />

feeling power still; the bike’s accelerating more. Under braking<br />

for Turn 1, I’m also happy now because I start to lean, I feel<br />

the engine brake a lot and now it’s a very positive test. I need<br />

more laps. I tried my best and explain the bike, explain some<br />

problems. We are immediately improving. I need more time.”<br />

WARNING SENT: already aiming high<br />

After so few laps on the bike, you could forgive a rider for being<br />

a bit coy about the potential of the rider and bike package.<br />

However, Razgatlioglu was not as he fired a warning shot to his<br />

rivals: “We are not far away. I’ll say just this. We are coming.”


It was a challenging week for the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK<br />

Team as they went in search of valuable dry weather running to prepare<br />

for the 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship with Toprak<br />

Razgatlioglu and Michael van der Mark. Initially planning for a day at<br />

Portimao and then two days at Jerez, the team ended up travelling<br />

across the Iberian Peninsula and their unexpected and unplanned<br />

‘week’ of testing concluded in Valencia.<br />

THE STORY OF THE WEEK: trying to run away from rain<br />

Initially, the team planned to test at Portimao on December 4th before<br />

heading to Jerez on December 5th an 6th. However, with poor weather<br />

forecast, the #54 took to the track on the 3rd before getting limited<br />

running across the two days. Razgatlioglu and van der Mark didn’t fare<br />

much better in southern Spain either, with rain continuing to hamper<br />

their running. Due to this, the team opted to – spontaneously, according<br />

to BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director Marc Bongers – head a bit<br />

further across Spain to Valencia where they were able to get some key<br />

laps in to allow the 2021 Champion to adapt to the M 1000 RR while the<br />

#60 was able to test some new components for 2024.<br />

RAZGATLIOGLU’S REVIEW: “Now I know the grip and the<br />

reactions; this makes me very happy”<br />

After four years on the Yamaha YZF-R1 machine which he won the 2021<br />

title with, the Turk left the Japanese manufacturer to join BMW for 2024.<br />

Portimao was his first taste of his new machine, and he’s been looking<br />

to adapt to it since. Reviewing the test, the 27-year-old said: “We have<br />

not really been lucky over these past days. Also in Valencia, it started<br />

to rain a bit on Friday morning and the track was fully wet. But this track<br />

dries really fast and we could ride again in the afternoon. We made<br />

big improvements, especially on the last three outings, and I am really<br />

enjoying the BMW M 1000 RR. Especially with the engine brake and the<br />

electronics we made big improvements. With every lap I am still learning<br />

my bike but now I know it, I know the grip and the reactions, and this<br />

makes me very happy. I am still learning because it is a completely<br />

different bike, but we did a very good job, especially on the final day.<br />

Thanks to all the guys because everyone really works hard to give me<br />

a good bike. I am still adapting to the bike and the guys in the team are<br />

learning my riding style, so it is teamwork. But we are not far off, we are<br />

coming, the feedback also has been better every day.”



Valencia for van der Mark<br />

After two injury-hit campaigns, van der Mark will be hoping 2024 will<br />

have him return to his best and see out a full season. He is the reference<br />

of the team, having been on BMW machinery since 2021, which also<br />

means he’s able to test components looking at next season while his<br />

teammate gets adjusted to the new bike. Discussing his test, where he<br />

worked with the BMW test team which was announced to feature 2014<br />

WorldSBK Champion Sylvain Guintoli and two-time MotoGP podium<br />

finisher Bradley Smith, the Dutchman said: “It has been really nice to get<br />

to Valencia. In the end, we got a day and a half in. On Thursday evening,<br />

it rained again so Friday was a bit cut short. But it was really good for<br />

me to finally do laps. In the end, I was working with the test team and<br />

the test bike which had a lot of new items on it for next year. It was nice<br />

to do some longer runs with that bike and I think that the guys have<br />

enough data now to work over winter and to prepare everything for the<br />

end of January.”<br />

THE TEAM SAYS: “Great to welcome Toprak to the team…<br />

his initial impressions have been very positive”<br />

With a new arrival, the make up of the test team announced and BMW<br />

aiming to make a big step in 2024, these tests have been crucial for<br />

the German manufacturer although they tested without their rivals,<br />

so making a comparison is hard. Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad<br />

Motorsport Director, reviewed the tests and stated: “After the Bonovo<br />

Action BMW team tested with Garrett Gerloff and Scott Redding<br />

immediately after the season finale at Jerez, we now have been able<br />

to start testing with Toprak Razgatlioglu, Michael van der Mark, and<br />

the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. Overall, it was great to<br />

welcome Toprak to the team. His initial impressions of the BMW M 1000<br />

RR he conveyed to us have been very positive. He adapted well to the<br />

bike right away. However, the conditions were challenging, and we had<br />

no reference from the competition. Therefore, making an assessment<br />

is still difficult. The days in Portugal and Spain were demanding. The<br />

weather was not on our side. Initially, we had some bad luck in Portimao<br />

and could only complete a few laps; the situation was no better in<br />

Jerez. Since it was crucial to gather test information, we spontaneously<br />

travelled to Valencia with Michael and Toprak to hit the track there<br />

together with our BMW Motorrad Motorsport test team. Michael also<br />

tested new components with the test team that will be available to the<br />

ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team and the Bonovo Action BMW<br />

team for the upcoming season.”





The complexion of the BMW test team for the<br />

MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship<br />

has been announced. Sylvain Guintoli and<br />

Bradley Smith, each with vast experience across<br />

motorcycle racing, will test, and were at the<br />

Valencia test, for the German factory as they look<br />

to take a step forward in WorldSBK. With Toprak<br />

Razgatlioglu joining the ROKiT BMW Motorrad<br />

WorldSBK Team for 2024 alongside Michael van<br />

der Mark, plus Garrett Gerloff and Scott Redding<br />

and Bonovo Action BMW, the test team is another<br />

piece of the puzzle the manufacturer hope will<br />

lead them to glory.<br />


links up with BMW<br />

French rider Sylvain Guintoli last raced in<br />

WorldSBK back in 2017 but he’s kept himself<br />

race fit by competing in the FIM Endurance World<br />

Championship as well as occasional wildcard<br />

appearances in MotoGP with Suzuki until 2019.<br />

His responsibilities for BMW include testing for<br />

them but he will also dovetail this with an EWC<br />

campaign on the M 1000 RR. Discussing his new<br />

role, the 2014 WorldSBK Champion said: “I am<br />

very happy to join the BMW Motorrad Motorsport<br />

WorldSBK factory project as a test rider, the<br />

project is very exciting, and I am looking forward<br />

to bringing my experience into it. I can’t wait to get<br />

started and enjoy the BMW M 1000 RR.”<br />


a member of the test team<br />

33-year-old Smith, like Guintoli, brings lots of<br />

experience to the BMW family. He raced in<br />

MotoGP as recently as 2020 with Aprilia and<br />

has podiums in the 125cc World Championship<br />

as well as Moto2, MotoE and MotoGP to<br />

his name. While running Yamaha machinery in<br />

MotoGP, he teamed up with Pol Espargaro and

Katsuyuki Nakasuga to win the famous Suzuka 8<br />

Hours and his attention now turns to a test role –<br />

something he’s held previously with Aprilia – with<br />

BMW. On his move to BMW, Smith said: “To be<br />

asked by BMW Motorrad to join the test team is<br />

a great privilege. I will work my hardest to deliver<br />

what our four WorldSBK factory riders need to<br />

battle with the best in the Championship.”<br />

THE TEAM’S VIEW: “their wealth of<br />

experience strengthens our project…<br />

they are the perfect riders”<br />

Discussing the two new arrivals to BMW, Christian<br />

Gonschor, Technical Director for BMW Motorrad<br />

Motorsport said: “Welcome aboard, Sylvain<br />

and Bradley. It’s fantastic that their wealth of<br />

experience strengthens our project. Sylvain brings<br />

extensive knowledge from many years in the<br />

Superbike and Endurance World Championships,<br />

where he also secured the titles, as well as from<br />

MotoGP. Bradley complements this knowledge<br />

perfectly with his extensive experience as a race<br />

and test rider in MotoGP. They are the perfect<br />

riders for our new test team, which focuses solely<br />

on testing work on the track, independent of race<br />

commitments.”<br />

BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director Marc<br />

Bongers added: “I am proud that, under Chris’s<br />

leadership, we have assembled such a strong<br />

line-up to support our factory commitments in<br />

WorldSBK and the FIM EWC with the test team<br />

in the background. It is also a clear indication<br />

of BMW Motorrad’s strong commitment to<br />

motorsport. The significant input provided by the<br />

test team has already shown promise in recent<br />

months, and we are confident that this structure<br />

will contribute to success.”





The 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World<br />

Championship is rightly being billed as one of the<br />

most exciting seasons ever with a line-up featuring<br />

a myriad of changes as well as the arrival of fresh<br />

faces. Sam Lowes (ELF MarcVDS Racing Team)<br />

will be aboard the Ducati Panigale V4 R for the<br />

forthcoming season and after just one day of<br />

action at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto, he<br />

was more than positive with his first sensations.<br />

Elsewhere on track, Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT<br />

BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) only did a<br />

handful of laps on Monday and nothing on<br />

Tuesday, with him and the BMW outfit heading to<br />

Valencia for more testing.<br />


A VERY POSITIVE DAY” – Lowes takes to<br />

the track<br />

Evaluating his first laps on track, Lowes said:<br />

“We only did 65 laps at Jerez on Tuesday and<br />

on Monday, we didn’t ride at all because of the<br />

conditions. I started with rain tyres and did about<br />

30 or 35 laps with those, then changed to the slick<br />

tyre. The conditions weren’t so good, particularly<br />

at Turn 2, Turn 9, Turn 13, which were quite wet<br />

but the other parts of the track were dry and I was<br />

able to ride and get the first sensations.

“My first feeling with the Ducati was honestly amazing; I was quite nervous to<br />

go out in the morning with the first feeling in the rain, so for me it was a good<br />

feeling. To go out, understand the bike, the electronics… of course, it’s the first<br />

day so I’m not going to get a massive feeling but to understand the electronics,<br />

the power compared to the Moto2, I was smiling even with the first few laps<br />

being in the rain. I was very excited and there was a lot of anticipation. Waiting<br />

around all day on Monday before going out made it longer.”<br />


rain doesn’t dampen Lowes’ feeling<br />

With the conditions not being great, it was still productive and learning for the<br />

33-year-old: “Considering the conditions, it was a very positive day; I felt very<br />

comfortable on the bike straight away which is something that I was quite<br />

surprised about. There are some things that I need to adapt with my riding<br />

style in comparison to Moto2, and probably not the areas I actually thought.<br />

Where I thought I’d need to work on, I was already quite good. There are lots<br />

of things to think about and work on and obviously, you need time and laps; 30<br />

dry laps is not so much, especially when it was quite patchy.”



DAY” – a bright future for the new team and rider<br />

It may have just been the first test but Lowes was elated to be part of the team<br />

and start this new challenge in his career, returning to the WorldSBK paddock<br />

for the first time since his 2013 WorldSSP title success: “The team were really<br />

good! It was really nice to get everyone together; the months did a great job to<br />

put it all together to get to ride this side of Christmas so thanks to the team and<br />

Ducati for helping with that. It’s a really nice group and we’ve done a good job<br />

to get that. My crew chief has fantastic knowledge of the bike which also helps.<br />

I’m really happy, lucky and proud to be in the team.<br />

“Where I still need to work is to understand the tyres and electronics more and<br />

to adapt my style to the Superbike. The strengths were that in some corners<br />

and in some areas of the bike, I was doing very, very well, on the level that I<br />

need to be. I just smiled all day, enjoyed it, was nervous but it was nice to get<br />

out and get the first day out of the way. I look forward to January and it’s quite<br />

a long wait now but in the end, the first race is at the end of February. We have<br />

a lot of work to do in that side but very positive, looking forward to it and we<br />

can look into our first season and have high goals.”




2024 will see a new team land in MotoGP:<br />

Trackhouse Racing. Trackhouse have already<br />

enjoyed impressive success in the NASCAR Cup<br />

series, and now the American team will take their<br />

racing ambition onto two wheels as they join<br />

MotoGP as an Independent Team, partnered<br />

with Aprilia to run their RS-GP MotoGP<br />

prototypes.<br />

The announcement was made in Milan on<br />

Tuesday, with the presentation beamed live<br />

around the world. At the launch, Trackhouse<br />

founder and owner Justin Marks was joined on<br />

stage by Aprilia Racing CEO Massimo Rivola,<br />

Dorna Sports Chief Sporting Officer Carlos<br />

Ezpeleta and Dorna Chief Commercial Officer<br />

Dan Rossomondo to talk about the new venture.<br />

Trackhouse Racing will run two Aprilia RS-GPs,<br />

ridden by multiple-MotoGP winner #88 Miguel<br />

Oliveira and rising talent #25 Raul Fernandez. The<br />

full 2024 livery will be revealed early next season<br />

but as part of the launch, the team unveiled a<br />

symbolic American flag-liveried bike, paying<br />

tribute to both previous testing colours used by<br />

Nicky Hayden and to the incredible motorcycle<br />

racing heritage of the USA.<br />

Adding to that heritage and writing a new chapter,<br />

with a new approach, is a key goal for Trackhouse<br />

and one MotoGP shares. The addition of an<br />

American team, representing one of the world’s<br />

largest markets, offers a wealth of opportunity<br />

for both parties to create an exciting new project<br />

from the ground up – built on foundations of<br />

established success.<br />

Justin Marks, Trackhouse Racing Founder<br />

and Owner: “Joining the MotoGP World<br />

Championship is a very exciting moment for our<br />

young company. Trackhouse has worked from<br />

day one to recognize unique and compelling<br />

motorsport opportunities and being able to<br />

expand to a global series like MotoGP is a<br />

massive step in scaling the company. We believe<br />

deeply in the mission of Dorna and are committed<br />

to bringing something new and exciting to the<br />

championship while working hard to help grow<br />

and amplify this amazing sport to millions of new<br />

fans in North America and beyond.”<br />

Massimo Rivola, Aprilia Racing CEO: “We are<br />

happy and proud to welcome Trackhouse into<br />

the Aprilia Racing family. What they have been

able to build in a very short time in NASCAR is an<br />

extraordinary presentation card, which anticipates<br />

the potential of this partnership. This is thanks to<br />

Justin Marks and his team, whom I got to know<br />

through my long-time friend PJ Rashidi, and<br />

with whom we were immediately in sync both<br />

in terms of technical ambitions and marketing<br />

and communication developments in such an<br />

important market as the US. Our commitment will<br />

increase significantly, a responsibility we gladly<br />

take on because, I am sure, it will allow us to grow<br />

even more.”<br />

Carlos Ezpeleta, Dorna Sports Chief Sporting<br />

Officer: “We’re super happy to welcome<br />

Trackhouse to MotoGP. We know this new team<br />

is a perfect fit for our sport: they’ve already<br />

shown they know how to win and arrive with a<br />

great personality. In the most competitive era<br />

the sport has ever seen, it’s even more vital than<br />

ever to have strong Independent Teams on the<br />

grid with solid projects. Trackhouse working<br />

with Aprilia, who will offer extensive support, is<br />

a really exciting prospect too. The RS-GP is a<br />

winning motorcycle and the combination of the<br />

bike, factory and Trackhouse’s approach with<br />

this team is something super exciting for MotoGP<br />

fans everywhere. We can’t wait to see Trackhouse<br />

come racing with us.”

Marc Márquez:<br />

“Repsol Honda will<br />

always be the team<br />

for which I will be<br />

remembered”<br />

The eight-time World Champion talks<br />

about his time with the Repsol Honda<br />

Team in an interview prior to the<br />

Valencian Grand Prix weekend.

You are going to face your last Grand Prix with<br />

the Repsol Honda Team. How do you feel?<br />

“It’s the Wednesday before the Valencia Grand<br />

Prix, the last of the year. Obviously now the stands<br />

are empty, with a calmness that will not be there<br />

later during the weekend. Being the last race<br />

of the year, it is always special, but this one is<br />

different. I don’t like to say that it is my last Grand<br />

Prix with Honda, because you never know what<br />

will happen in the future. But it will be the end of a<br />

spell with the Repsol Honda Team and it will be a<br />

weekend with many emotions.”<br />

How have you worked on it mentally?<br />

How do you face it?<br />

“It is always very difficult to work on how to face a<br />

Grand Prix, especially when it comes to emotions.<br />

At the Valencia Grand Prix there are sure to be<br />

unforgettable moments, because I want to do my<br />

best on track -and to do that I need to be 100%<br />

focused.”<br />

What does the Repsol Honda Team<br />

mean to you?<br />

“The Repsol Honda Team has been -and always<br />

will be- the team that has defined my sporting<br />

career and my life. I have been with them for 11<br />

years and we have won 6 world titles, something<br />

that I am not going to achieve with another team.<br />

I am 30 years old now. They will be the team with<br />

which he I have achieved the most success on a<br />

personal and collective level.”<br />

Do you recognise the bike behind you? What<br />

does it mean to you? What memories does it<br />

bring back to you?<br />

“I do recognise this bike. This is where it all<br />

started. It was from my rookie year and it was<br />

a dream debut: My first year in MotoGP, and<br />

winning the title. It was the most fun year in<br />

MotoGP for me, because I had no pressure on<br />

me, I could do anything and everything went well.<br />

Here I had the opportunity to join the team where<br />

my idols had raced, in addition to sharing the box

with one of them: Dani Pedrosa. From there, these<br />

11 successful years began.”<br />

What is the difference between the Marc from<br />

2013 and from 2023?<br />

“We have learned a lot; more from the difficult<br />

moments and the setbacks we have received, but<br />

we have also enjoyed a lot of the good moments.<br />

You cannot compare a 20-year-old kid with a<br />

30-year-old, with all his ideas clearer in his head<br />

and more mature. I have learned many things and<br />

the decision I have made now at 30 years old is<br />

one I would have been incapable of making at<br />

22, 23 or 24 years old, because I was not mature<br />

enough to do it.”<br />

There are many times<br />

that it is difficult, but<br />

I would not be able<br />

to sleep soundly<br />

tomorrow if I had<br />

doubts or if I were<br />

thinking “what if I<br />

had done this?”<br />

And what hasn’t changed about you over<br />

the years?<br />

“My character, my smile and, above all, my<br />

ambition have not changed. That remains the<br />

same as when I started out. This is one of the<br />

reasons for the change. I am here to try to be the<br />

best on the track and to do this you have to try<br />

to find the best solution. There are many times<br />

that it is difficult, but I would not be able to sleep

soundly tomorrow if I had doubts or if I were<br />

thinking “what if I had done this?” I am a rider<br />

who, both on and off the track, does what he feels<br />

is right and what I need in order to try to fight for<br />

the leading positions.”<br />

Throughout all these years with Repsol, what is<br />

a moment that stands out?<br />

“There are many moments with Repsol, and<br />

above all I remember moments at the circuit the<br />

most: the details like when I got in their plane,<br />

many events, the Sunday dinners in Valencia once<br />

the season was over, the fun parties… these are<br />

moments that I will never forget. Since I have been<br />

there for so many years, I have seen many people<br />

come and go at Repsol, different teams such as<br />

communications departments and sponsoring,<br />

but they have always performed excellently, and I<br />

have felt very well treated. I feel privileged.”<br />

Do you think that having the support of a brand<br />

like this has helped you in terms of recognition<br />

in Spain?<br />

“The entire paddock wants to be a Repsol Honda<br />

Team rider and wants to be with Repsol because<br />

they are the sponsor with the longest history in

MotoGP, with ties to motorcycling and competition<br />

for the longest time… Everyone would like to have<br />

a bike in Repsol colours, to have your picture<br />

shown everywhere.”<br />

When you are alone and think about who you<br />

are, what you have achieved and what you<br />

mean to this sport, what comes to mind? What<br />

do you feel?<br />

“All the people who support, you value it very<br />

much -not only in the good times, but also in the<br />

bad times. For me it makes no sense to go around<br />

the track alone, for me it is competition that makes<br />

sense, creating excitement for the fans, seeing the<br />

paddock full, a little girl or boy coming up to you<br />

and starting to cry… These are reactions that you<br />

create in people that I would never have imagined.<br />

As a child you imagine the life of a rider, but you<br />

don’t imagine the life of a star.”<br />

What was your debut like, with riders like<br />

Lorenzo, Rossi and Pedrosa on the same track?<br />

“The first race in Qatar, when I was able to go behind<br />

Pedrosa and Valentino -but not Lorenzo because<br />

he escaped quickly. But seeing Pedrosa’s name,<br />

Rossi’s name and Lorenzo’s name when you’re

As a child you imagine<br />

the life of a rider, but<br />

you don’t imagine the<br />

life of a star.”<br />

riding… You’re in Moto3 -125cc back in my time-,<br />

then in Moto2, but when you arrive in MotoGP and<br />

see that, you realise that it’s a big thing.”<br />

Which was the easiest race for you?<br />

“There were many that I didn’t win by being the<br />

fastest, but rather I won by being the smartest or by<br />

managing the race in a different way. I won some at<br />

Montmeló not by being the fastest but by managing<br />

the race in the best way, and many others. I won<br />

in the Netherlands, which is a circuit that I am not<br />

good at, but I have won many times there. They<br />

stick with you, but there have been so many… it’s<br />

good that there are so many that you forget them.”<br />

Which was the toughest?<br />

“The one I suffered most in? I think 2013 here in<br />

Valencia. It wasn’t the hardest, but it was the longest,<br />

by far because I had to finish fourth if Lorenzo won<br />

the race. And it was very long because when you are<br />

at the limit you are very focused and the laps go by<br />

quickly, but when you have doubts, you don’t go to<br />

the limit, you know you can’t crash… you think more<br />

things. The race seemed to go on forever, but it gave<br />

me the title in 2013.”

We are at Turn 1 in Valencia. Does it remind you<br />

of anything?<br />

“At this corner, in the 2017 season, I made<br />

the famous save that is by far one of the best<br />

saves I have ever had. That save was sheer<br />

nonconformity. I was so calm that I tried to create<br />

tension to concentrate on the race again and I<br />

almost went down, but the save allowed me to<br />

finish the race on the podium and win the title.”<br />

What are you going to miss most about your<br />

experience with Repsol?<br />

I will miss everything, from<br />

the entrance to the box,<br />

to the colours, the people<br />

there, the bike… I haven’t<br />

known anything else.<br />

“What will I miss about Repsol Honda? I will miss<br />

everything, from the entrance to the box, to the<br />

colours, the people there, the bike… I haven’t<br />

known anything else. Since I joined in 2013 I have<br />

been with the same people, the same colours,<br />

the same box, with everything the same… The<br />

question is what I won’t miss.”<br />

What message do you want to send to the fans?<br />

“I know that many Repsol Honda fans will continue<br />

to support no.93 as well, because as I said in my<br />

post when my departure was announced, “we are<br />

separated, but always united.” In some way we are<br />

united. Whatever I do, and no matter how things in<br />

the new stage of my career, this will be the team of<br />

my life, of my professional career and with which I<br />

will be remembered.”





The spotlight was firmly on the eight-time<br />

world champion, Marc Marquez, during the<br />

Valencia test held on the Tuesday following the<br />

conclusion of the MotoGP season. A departure<br />

from his usual Repsol Honda colors added<br />

an unexpected twist, creating heightened<br />

anticipation and excitement throughout the<br />

paddock. As observers gathered around<br />

the Gresini garage, eager to catch a glimpse<br />

of MM93 on his new Ducati machine, the<br />

atmosphere was charged with curiosity and<br />

enthusiasm, adding a unique flavor to the<br />

MotoGP narrative.<br />

The Tuesday test became a focal point for fans<br />

and pundits alike, raising the question of whether<br />

Marc Marquez’s move to Ducati could fill the<br />

void left by the iconic VR46. It was a departure<br />

from the norm, and the anticipation surrounding<br />

the switch added an extra layer of intrigue to the<br />

already thrilling world of MotoGP.<br />

When discussing reigning world champions,<br />

Marc Marquez quickly emerged as a prominent<br />

figure during his debut on Ducati’s 2023-spec<br />

Desmosedici. The departure from his familiar<br />

Repsol Honda colors did nothing to dampen<br />

Marquez’s competitive spirit, and his infectious<br />

smile after the first outing hinted at the success<br />

that lay ahead.<br />

The Valencia test showcased Marquez’s swift<br />

adaptation to the Ducati as he wasted no time<br />

in challenging the leaders on the timesheets.<br />

With just over 90 minutes remaining in the day,<br />

Marquez claimed the top spot with a lap time of<br />

1:29.460, momentarily sitting 0.250s ahead of his<br />

competitors. However, Maverick Viñales of Aprilia<br />

Racing shifted the dynamics in the final hour,<br />

leaving Marquez in a commendable position.<br />

Despite ending his day early, Marquez completed<br />

an impressive 49 laps, providing valuable insights<br />

ahead of the winter break. Finishing the Valencia<br />

Test just 0.171s behind Viñales and 0.078s adrift of<br />

Bezzecchi, Marquez’s Ducati debut proved to be a<br />

triumph in the brand-new racing environment. The<br />

tantalizing prospect of Marquez filling the void left<br />

by VR46 adds an extra layer of excitement to the<br />

upcoming MotoGP season, as fans eagerly await<br />

the continuation of this captivating storyline.<br />

The Tuesday test became<br />

a focal point for fans and<br />

pundits alike, raising the<br />

question of whether Marc<br />

Marquez’s move to Ducati<br />

could fill the void left by the<br />

iconic VR46.

MARC<br />




JANUARY 20<br />

The first feelings of the ‘93’ on the back of the<br />

Ducati at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit were really<br />

positive and the fans are already counting down<br />

the days to see the Cervera rider wearing his new<br />

colours. The exact date of the presentation of his<br />

new team for the 2024 season is now known.<br />

As announced by Gresini Racing MotoGP on their<br />

own social media channels, the official presentation<br />

for the upcoming campaign with Marc Marquez<br />

and his brother, Alex Marquez will take place on<br />

January 20th. “We are always ready to dance. We<br />

start on January 20,” the team announced on its<br />

Twitter account.<br />

So, Marc Marquez’s first ‘dance’ with Gresini is just<br />

around the corner and we will be sure to share all<br />

the details of a presentation that will mark the start<br />

of a new and exciting adventure for the eight-time<br />

World Champion.
















Words: Shaun Portman | Pics: Beam Productions<br />

FIRST<br />


KTM 390 DUKE<br />

CHALK &<br />

CHEESE<br />

Rev your engines for the latest chapter in the evolution of<br />

KTM’s iconic 390 Duke. Having dominated the entry-level naked<br />

motorcycle segment for over a decade, the 2024 KTM 390 Duke<br />

is not just an upgrade – it’s a full-blown transformation.

POWER<br />

44.3 bhp<br />

TORQUE<br />

39 Nm<br />

TANK<br />


15 L<br />

SEAT<br />

HEIGHT<br />

820mm<br />

DRY<br />

WEIGHT<br />

165kg<br />

Cast your memory back to 2013 when the firstgeneration<br />

390 Duke hit the scene, a pint-sized<br />

beast that set the standard for agility, power, and<br />

affordability. Its success continued until 2017<br />

when the second generation brought aesthetic<br />

upgrades and modern features. Now, in 2024, the<br />

third generation is here to redefine the game.<br />

Visually, the 2024 390 Duke stands out with a new<br />

wider LED headlamp and new LED rear taillight,<br />

color-injected plastics and shrouds, and daytime<br />

running lights, giving it a more aggressive look.<br />

A beefier 15-liter metal fuel tank, reminiscent of<br />

its elder siblings, promises extended rides with<br />

enhanced rider comfort.<br />

LED lights all around, a redesigned sharp-looking<br />

front fender, and two striking color options –<br />

Electronic Orange Metallic and Atlantic Blue<br />

– further distinguish this Duke. The build quality<br />

remains top-notch, and the overall finish is<br />

impeccable.<br />

Under the hood, or rather, under the rider, the<br />

390 Duke boasts a new steel trellis frame with an<br />

aluminum subframe. The 373 cc engine has been<br />

replaced by a punchier 399 cc single-cylinder, liquidcooled<br />

motor, delivering 44.3 bhp and 39 Nm of<br />

torque(up from 43bhp and 37Nm). The addition of a<br />

slipper clutch and an optional quick-shifter/auto blip<br />

makes the 2024 model unrivaled in its class.

On the side, a significant design change stands<br />

out – the absence of a side-slung exhaust. In<br />

2024, the bike adopts the underbelly exhaust<br />

format which takes the 390 back to its 2013 roots.<br />

Also noteworthy is the offset mono-shock, a<br />

consequence of the expanded airbox, enhancing<br />

the distinctive Super Duke aura of the bike.<br />

Suspension receives a notable upgrade with a<br />

43mm WP Apex open cartridge fork at the front<br />

and a WP Apex separate piston shock absorber<br />

at the rear, both adjustable for rebound and<br />

compression. New lighter wheels, fitted with grippy<br />

Michelin tires, enhance handling on both road and<br />

track. The new wheels use a hollowed-out hub<br />

design like on the RC200 and RC390. This design<br />

also means that the disc brake is mounted on the<br />

rim spokes directly rather than on the hub as they<br />

have been on the previous two generations and is<br />

reminiscent of those fitted to Buells.<br />

The dual-channel ABS braking system sees<br />

significant improvements as well for 2024,<br />

featuring a new single 300mm disc on the<br />

front with BYBRE four-piston radial calipers<br />

and a new master cylinder with new adjustable<br />

levers. A 240mm disc on the rear, coupled with<br />

cornering ABS and Supermoto mode, ensures<br />

optimum braking performance and maximum<br />

fun on the track.








Electronics take center stage with dual-channel<br />

ABS, three riding modes (Rain, Street, and Track),<br />

traction control, launch control (in track mode),<br />

and a TFT screen with Bluetooth connectivity. The<br />

handlebar switchgear is revamped for a neater<br />

layout. You also get a speed limiter as standard<br />

which can be set to ensure the rider can’t exceed<br />

certain speeds.<br />

Embark on a thrilling journey with the 390 Duke<br />

as it effortlessly transitions from a refined ride to<br />

an agile powerhouse on the open road or track.<br />

The redesigned frame geometry enhances its<br />

adaptability, offering stability at high speeds and<br />

the capability to reach an impressive 170kph+.<br />

The acceleration, particularly from a standstill<br />

to 140kph, leaves competitors in the dust, even<br />

defying a friend’s robust Audi A3 1.8T in a robotto-robot<br />

showdown.<br />

Incorporating Rain, Street, and Track modes, the<br />

390 Duke caters to diverse riding preferences.<br />

Rain mode ensures safety in wet conditions, while<br />

Street and Track modes maintain power delivery<br />

consistency. Track mode, with its launch control<br />

and bespoke display, transforms the bike into a<br />

lively, fun companion on the race track.

The third-generation 390 Duke, featuring WP<br />

Apex suspension, proves predictably forgiving.<br />

The suspension not only absorbs road bumps<br />

but remains firm enough to conquer corners with<br />

aggression as we found out around the track.<br />

The steel trellis frame, paired with a new<br />

aluminum swingarm, contributes to a sleek<br />

design and reduced rear-wheel pumping during<br />

aggressive leans while the new suspension<br />

setup, with adjustability options, strikes a balance<br />

between plush ride quality and responsive<br />

handling.<br />

On the track, the 390 Duke shines with increased<br />

power, shorter gearing, and a smooth quick<br />

shifter and auto-blip. The bike’s performance<br />

improvements are evident, delivering better<br />

acceleration out of turns and a refined riding<br />

experience thanks to KTM’s engine tuning,<br />

providing 80% power and torque 1000rpm earlier,<br />

enhancing tractability, and making it more userfriendly<br />

for everyday riding.<br />

Comparing the 2024 Duke to its predecessor,<br />

the improvements are noticeable but not<br />

revolutionary. You can in essence still tell it’s a 390<br />

Duke and it hasn’t lost any of its characteristics.<br />

The bike is snappy, responsive, and accompanied<br />

by a throaty exhaust note. The riding position<br />

has evolved, with the new model feeling more<br />

compact and immersive compared to the older<br />

one’s spacious design.

Navigating turns with precision, the 390 Duke<br />

remains in control, equipped with Metzeler<br />

Sportec M5 H-Rated tyres that seamlessly handle<br />

both road and track conditions. Surpassing<br />

even 1000cc superbikes on the track, the 390<br />

Duke offers a full day of exhilarating riding at a<br />

budget-friendly cost, embodying its essence of<br />

“Performance on a Budget.”<br />

We had the privilege of comparing the 2024 390<br />

Duke to its predecessor at Redstar Raceway in<br />

Delmas and on the open roads. The result? The<br />

new Duke emerges as a true game-changer,<br />

pushing the boundaries of what an entry-level<br />

naked bike can offer. KTM continues to lead<br />

the pack, proving that evolution is not just about<br />

keeping up; it’s about setting the pace.<br />

Priced from as little as R109 999.00 and just under<br />

R5000 for the optional quick-shifter, the new 2024<br />

KTM 390 Duke is set to be the bargain of the<br />

century. A huge thank you to RAD KTM for the use<br />

of their 2023 KTM 390 Duke demo.




CAYDEN ROBERTS’ 2023<br />

South Africa boasts a wealth<br />

of talented youngsters making<br />

strides towards success, not<br />

just within the country but also<br />

on the international stage. One<br />

promising young talent who<br />

has caught our attention is<br />

Cayden Robert. In this feature,<br />

he takes us through the<br />

highlights of his racing journey<br />

in 2023.

What an incredible year it has been! In 2023, I had the<br />

privilege of racing a Honda CBR150 in both the SA Short<br />

Circuit Series and the Redstar Race Series, and the journey<br />

was nothing short of amazing.<br />

Round 1 at a wet VKC in Vereeniging tested my skills, where<br />

I qualified 3rd, leading in the first race but unfortunately<br />

crashing on the last lap, finishing 4th. However, I secured a<br />

2nd place in Race 2, ending Round 1 in 2nd place overall.<br />

Round 2 at Idube in KZN marked a turning point as I<br />

clinched my first 150 Cup race win, finishing 1st overall.<br />

Round 3 at Formula K became a highlight with a hat-trick of<br />

wins and first overall.<br />

Round 4 at the Polokwane Cart Circuit was a memorable<br />

victory, securing pole position and winning all 3 heats,<br />

maintaining a comfortable lead in the Championship.<br />

Round 5 back at VKC provided intense racing, with close<br />

battles among the top 4 riders. Winning 2 out of 3 races,<br />

I took 1st overall for the day, extending my lead in the<br />


Round 6 at Formula K presented challenges, but I managed<br />

to finish 3rd overall. During the mid-year break, I received<br />

exciting news of an invitation to the MotoGP Red Bull<br />

Rookies Cup Selection Event in Spain, a dream come true.<br />

Though I didn’t make the finals, the experience was surreal.<br />

Peter Clifford, CEO of the Red Bull Rookies Cup, advised<br />

me to work hard and apply again in 2024 – a plan I fully<br />

intend to pursue.<br />

Returning to SA, I secured the Redstar Raceway<br />

Championship, overcoming bike issues. The final race of<br />

the SA Short Circuit Series at VKC posed challenges, but I<br />

secured the 2023 Championship.<br />

A heartfelt thank you to the Gaorekwe Family, King Price, HJC<br />

Helmets, Clint Seller, Dragon Energy, the Morrocon Barber,<br />

Honda SA, <strong>MRW</strong> Magazine, MASS Leathers, and everyone<br />

who supported me.<br />

To my family, your sacrifices and dedication mean the world.<br />

Two championships and Red Bull Rookies – it couldn’t<br />

be better. Next year promises to be epic! I’ll strive to retain<br />

my 150 Championship and step up to the 400 Class on a<br />

Kawasaki ZX400.<br />

Thank you all, and happy holidays!

LIFE<br />

AFTER<br />

RACING<br />


What becomes of the motorcycles<br />

used in the MotoGP World<br />

Championship once the season<br />

concludes? While manufacturers have<br />

varied approaches, MotoGP bikes<br />

generally enjoy a prolonged life even<br />

after the championship wraps up.

As the season is now done,<br />

riders and teams reset,<br />

anticipating a new season<br />

filled with fresh aspirations<br />

and equipment. The retired<br />

motorcycles, often left to the<br />

side, are typically reserved<br />

for the financially affluent,<br />

considering the abundant<br />

private training in lower<br />

categories that frequently<br />

recycle and adapt bikes from<br />

one season to the next. While<br />

everyone may desire a new<br />

motorcycle annually, this isn’t<br />

always feasible. MotoGP,<br />

being subject to constant innovation, presents<br />

a different dynamic. But what happens to these<br />

motorcycles post-championship?<br />

Traditionally, previous season’s official materials<br />

were either recycled, sold, or leased to private<br />

teams. Some retired bikes found themselves as<br />

showpieces in motorcycle expos, occasionally<br />

leading to intriguing tales. Notably, a Honda<br />

RC166, the six-cylinder 250cc that secured Mike<br />

Hailwood two 250cc championships in 1966 and<br />

1967, faced an interesting fate. Upon Honda’s<br />

Traditionally,<br />

previous<br />

season’s official<br />

materials were<br />

either recycled,<br />

sold, or leased to<br />

private teams.<br />

withdrawal from Grand Prix<br />

racing in 1968, Hailwood was<br />

offered contracts and some<br />

champion motorcycles, yet<br />

by 1969, these machines<br />

were seemingly discarded.<br />

One of these models<br />

appeared at the 1969<br />

German Grand Prix during<br />

training, piloted by an<br />

unknown German rider<br />

who convinced Honda<br />

Germany to lend him<br />

the bike. Unfortunately,<br />

technical issues prevented its<br />

participation in the race. Subsequently, it vanished<br />

into obscurity, much like many motorcycles of its<br />

time, with some landing in collections or displayed<br />

in venues such as the Twin Ring Motegi Honda<br />

Collection Hall.<br />

The journey of racing motorcycles sometimes<br />

takes curious turns. For instance, the Benelli<br />

250/4 with which Kel Carruthers won the 1969<br />

250cc World Championship was once part of<br />

Benelli’s private collection. Later, it saw its engine<br />

removed for personal use by a member of the

Benelli family. After restoration and dismantling, the<br />

motorcycle found its way to auction at Bonhams, a<br />

renowned auction house.<br />

Motorcycle champions like Ángel Nieto had a habit<br />

of retaining some championship motorcycles,<br />

assembling valuable collections. Nieto even managed<br />

to keep a motorcycle on the podium after becoming a<br />

champion, a moment of opportunistic triumph.<br />

In current MotoGP scenarios, obsolete motorcycles<br />

no longer head to the scrapyard due to<br />

considerations about sustainability and financial<br />

prudence. Each rider typically has two units in<br />

MotoGP, and manufacturers also maintain test<br />

teams with varying materials to experiment with for<br />


In current MotoGP<br />

scenarios, obsolete<br />

motorcycles no<br />

longer head to the<br />

scrapyard due to<br />

considerations<br />

about sustainability<br />

and financial<br />


Honda uses previous season’s bikes for<br />

evolutionary purposes and engages in separate<br />

strategies for their official and satellite teams.<br />

Ducati utilizes materials across multiple seasons<br />

depending on their needs and commitments to<br />

satellite teams.<br />

Once motorcycles are retired from service,<br />

they might find new roles as test team units,<br />

dyno components, or showroom exhibits. KTM<br />

took a unique step in 2018 by publicly selling<br />

two genuine MotoGP motorcycles, offering<br />

enthusiasts a rare opportunity to own such<br />

exclusive machines.<br />

KTM took a unique step in 20<br />

publicly selling two genuine<br />

motorcycles, offering enthu<br />

a rare opportunity to own su<br />

exclusive machines.<br />

While the price tag might be substantial, it is<br />

a testament to the value of these exceptional,<br />

museum-worthy motorcycles, ensuring their<br />

journey concludes with a dignified purpose.

18 by<br />

MotoGP<br />

siasts<br />







At the Valencia GP, the<br />

#44 took the chequered<br />

flag as a full time rider<br />

for the final time and is<br />

poised to move into a<br />

new role with GASGAS<br />

Tech3 from 2024

Amidst the heightened emotions of the title-deciding<br />

Valencia GP season finale and the subsequent<br />

thrill of rider debuts a few days later at the Test, a<br />

significant story evaded the limelight as 2023 drew<br />

to a close. The tumultuous journey of Pol Espargaro,<br />

marred by a brutal injury sustained during the<br />

opening weekend crash in Portimao, unfolded as a<br />

less-heralded but captivating tale.<br />

Enduring a protracted recovery process, the resilient<br />

#44 rider made his return to the track at the British<br />

GP, only to face another setback shortly after – the<br />

loss of his full time GASGAS Tech3 seat to Augusto<br />

Fernandez and Pedro Acosta. Despite rumoured<br />

interest from Repsol Honda, Espargaro is slated to<br />

transition into the role of the team’s Test Rider from<br />

2024. Consequently, the Valencia GP marked his<br />

final appearance as a full-time MotoGP rider.

As Espargaro crossed the chequered flag at Circuit<br />

Ricardo Tormo, the moment triggered a flood of<br />

emotions. Friends, family, and loved ones gathered<br />

by his side, expressing their gratitude for his efforts<br />

during a trying season.<br />

“It was a very tricky day honestly, you know, it’s<br />

not the last time I’m going to be on a on a grid but<br />

obviously the emotions that I was feeling on that grid<br />

they were a little bit too much. Every time I raised<br />

my head and I was looking at all the people in the<br />

stands, the noise, the tension, all my teammates<br />

around, all the guys that I have raced with since I was<br />

a little guy. It’s been amazing. I just feel so, so lucky<br />

to have been with you know living my life, my story,<br />

trying to chase my dreams through the last 10 years<br />

so I’m a very lucky guy,” said Espargaro after the<br />

race in Valencia.

“A day to remember because, OK I have raced my last race as a permanent guy<br />

in MotoGP but obviously because I had those people surrounding me. This is<br />

with the people I live every day with, every hour, not just in racing but at home.<br />

It’s the people that make me happy so at the end of the day I need them from<br />

now till the end of my days so it was just amazing to be with them.”<br />

One of those who was the first to offer his congratulations and thanks was elder<br />

brother Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing). The #41 spoke glowingly about Pol,<br />

and the influence he has had on his career.<br />

“Pol has been always my idol even if I’m older than him. When we arrived at<br />

the World Championship, he was very fast immediately, winning races and he<br />

won the Moto2 title. I’ve always been by his side so today was very emotional.<br />

On the grid, I went to hug him and I couldn’t avoid crying before the race. It was<br />

not easy. The last lap with him was very nice. This year has been very tough you<br />

know because you cannot imagine how Pol has suffered and we, his family, we<br />

suffered a lot with him. His injury in Portimao was a very big one and I’m very<br />

happy to see him happy and smiling. Next year he has a new role but for me<br />

you know I don’t really care where he works I want to see him happy and I think<br />

he’s happy now.”<br />

Admitting he hasn’t been the same rider as he was prior to his Portimao crash,<br />

Pol Espargaro is looking forward to getting some well-deserved R&R before<br />

focusing on the future.<br />

“I need to take some rest. I need to recover myself a little bit. It’s been a while<br />

since I don’t feel as competitive as I should feel, but also with the confidence<br />

that I need to perform to be beside these guys. These guys are talented, young<br />

and extremely fit. If you don’t have all of these things, then you are too far away<br />

so you enjoy it. It’s important to enjoy it but I will need to recover part of the Pol<br />

that left in Portimao.”<br />

While it’s not a definitive farewell, it does mark the conclusion of a significant<br />

chapter for the rider hailing from the vicinity of Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya.<br />

With an impressive track record, including a Moto2 World Championship, 15<br />

Grand Prix victories, and an additional 37 podium finishes, eight of which were<br />

in MotoGP, Espargaro departs the grid with achievements that many would<br />

take pride in and others can only aspire to attain.<br />

Yet, as mentioned, this isn’t a final goodbye. We look forward to seeing<br />

Espargaro make his return to the track as a wildcard with GASGAS Tech3 in<br />

2024 as he begins the next stage of his career.


Words: KTM Blog (Adam Wheeler) | Pics: Polarity Photo & KTM Images<br />

YOUNG<br />

TURK<br />


2023 was the fourth and final<br />

Moto3 season for 20-yearold<br />

Turkish racer Deniz Öncü<br />

and a term where he won<br />

three Grands Prix – his first<br />

victories – often with explosive<br />

and captivating displays.<br />

Now on the threshold of a<br />

Moto2 challenge with his<br />

Red Bull KTM Ajo team for<br />

2024 we decided to get 1-1 on<br />

discussions with Deniz.

At the end of the 2018 MotoGP season the Ricardo Tormo<br />

Circuit in Valencia was grey, cold and soaking wet. The Grand<br />

Prix was a washout, but it was also the stage for the ‘Öncü’<br />

name to make a first big splash. Fifteen-year-old Can, the<br />

2018 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Champion that year, cut<br />

through the puddles for an amazing debut wildcard win. Twin<br />

brother Deniz, making his own steps along the MotoGP talent<br />

pyramid, looked on in awe.<br />

Skip forward to the start of 2023 and Deniz is now a three<br />

season ‘veteran’ of Moto3. Can is still racing on the world<br />

stage but his brother is making a mark in Grand Prix and<br />

has switched from Red Bull KTM Tech3 to Red Bull KTM<br />

Ajo to eye a path through the KTM GP Academy. Moto2 is<br />

on the horizon but the chance of the Moto3 championship<br />

remains in the palm. 2023 would turn out to be a ‘very Deniz<br />

Öncü’ campaign; full of unpredictable action, amazing<br />

highs (such as his first GP wins in Germany, Austria and<br />

Australia), mistakes and moments of controversy (like the<br />

last corner contact with David Muñoz in Barcelona that<br />

cost him a podium finish). While his results have improved<br />

and there is more consistency, Öncü has also shown clear<br />

signs of progress. He was a clear protagonist in Moto3, a<br />

leading name in title contention, and is currently one of the<br />

most curious figures in the KTM GP Academy thanks to his<br />

transition to Moto2 for 2024, to replace the MotoGP-bound<br />

Pedro Acosta.

Deniz attracts interest regardless of his scorecard or his<br />

speed. The mischievous grin accompanies a very strong<br />

personality. Fans will either love him or hate him and his<br />

future rivals in Moto2 and maybe MotoGP will quickly feel the<br />

depth of his determination. We sit in the Red Bull hospitality<br />

unit in Phillip Island, Australia as the wind begins to pick up<br />

and buffet the large windows. Deniz has also blown his own<br />

path through Moto3 in 2022 and 2023 especially. How does<br />

he feel about the journey?<br />

Deniz, when Can won in Valencia what was going<br />

through your mind?<br />

This moment when he won was super-amazing for all our<br />

family. My brother and me are the same, no? When he or<br />

I make a good result then we are both very proud of each<br />

other. I was very emotional, and I was thinking ‘it’s possible!’<br />

If he could do it, then I knew I could. I could see myself in that<br />

place as well and I have been working for it ever since.

You’ve made progress quickly in the last two<br />

seasons: this must be down to mentality as much as<br />

physical and technical development…<br />

Yes. Mentality, like you say, and two things with this: to be<br />

more strong but also more calm because normally I am a very<br />

aggressive rider and I’m very crazy. I was either arriving to the<br />

finish line or I was making a mistake.<br />

Your natural ability is evident but were the family<br />

and the team the catalyst for the rest?<br />

For sure. My family was always pushing me to be cleaner.<br />

They said I was too aggressive and doing crazy things and it<br />

meant the results were not coming. Nobody really understood<br />

why we were not finishing where we should. Changing team<br />

also helped me a lot. Before I thought ‘if I attack everywhere<br />

then I can win…’ and I changed this mindset and I noticed if<br />

I calmed down and thought slower then I could plan the next

lap or the last moves to win the race. I stopped being a<br />

‘question mark’ and just going like hell; riding the bike<br />

with more strategy helped me a lot.<br />

You show your emotions easily, which is<br />

endearing but also leaves you a bit exposed to<br />

criticism…<br />

I don’t care what people say or think about me. I don’t<br />

give a s**t! I’m here to work and chase my passion. I will<br />

say that I have started to change my feelings in the last<br />

year because when I am too ‘hot’ or emotional then I see<br />

it doesn’t work so good on the bike. It’s best to be like a<br />

robot: all the time the same and without emotion. Now,<br />

when I am on track, I just think about flowing with the<br />

bike and at the same time riding with strategy.<br />

Being a robot might be good but you also want<br />

to show character and maybe inspire other<br />

riders or kids…?<br />

Yeah, sure. When I take off the helmet then I am a totally<br />

different character then when I have it on. At the circuit<br />

you need to be a bit of a b**tard but otherwise I’m just<br />

myself. I do think the race starts ‘before the lights’. If<br />

you are already beating some riders mentally then you<br />

are a tenth ahead. Even some conversations with riders<br />

can be important for this. In general, though I am a very<br />

friendly character! I enjoy what I do and I do what I want.

What other sports do you like and look towards<br />

for inspiration?<br />

I like all extreme sports. Also BMX. Surfing I like a lot.<br />

For training it is running, cycling or crossfit; which is<br />

really nice. Basically, I like any sport that has wheels! I<br />

don’t really take reference from any other sport. I’m here<br />

because I like it [racing]. And I want to be the best.<br />

Do you always go home during the races or do<br />

you have a base somewhere else?<br />

I normally always go back to Turkey between races.<br />

It’s my home, and we also have a ‘ranch’ with<br />

Kenan [Sofuoğlu] and some other riders like Toprak<br />

[Razgatlıoğlu] and my brother. We live a sporting life.<br />

We are always pushing each other. We wake up and<br />

start the day by running or cycling together, then by<br />

midday we are in the circuit riding, then to finish it will<br />

be crossfit or something. On free days we just hang out.<br />

Sometimes PlayStation together. Almost everything we<br />

do is a competition. Someone always wants to win at<br />

something. Always pushing.<br />

2023 was the first full year with Aki and now<br />

you’re looking to Moto2…<br />

When I moved to this team I knew the pressure would<br />

be very high because it is one of the best, maybe the

est, and you always have to be winning or fighting at the top. There are no<br />

excuses. For me there was a point where I thought ‘is this the right decision or<br />

not?’ but in the end I’m happy because we managed the situation quite well and<br />

the relationship inside the team is good. It was a season where we could think<br />

about the championship. We had really good speed and we showed how strong<br />

we were but there have also been unlucky moments for us. We managed a lot<br />

of situations in the right way. Even when we were bad, we found some way to<br />

improve.<br />

Moto3 craziness, talk about it…<br />

Well, every race has a different scenario for the circuit. I would describe it as<br />

‘too-aggressive’, ‘great fun’ and ‘very instinctive’. Without thinking I might dive<br />

to the inside and pass five riders. It’s an automatic thing. Sometimes I crash,<br />

sometimes not! You have to be a bit crazy to be in this Moto3 category. If you<br />

are not then you won’t find a way. It’s not always about the last lap, and another<br />

factor is luck; you can do your very best but you also need a bit of luck in Moto3.<br />

It is not like MotoGP where they might be five seconds between a few riders. In<br />

Moto3 there is half a second between five of us! There are a lot of factors like the<br />

size, the weight, the setup, the speed of the bike and the position.<br />

Moto2: curious or excited? Some riders adapt quicker than others…<br />

Honestly, I haven’t thought about it! It’s clear I will be there…but that’s next year.<br />

I’m here to be my best, enjoy and be the best in every session. I enjoy my life<br />

and my category and I want to win. I will have a good think about Moto2 after my<br />

last Moto3 lap!


THE mountain<br />

games<br />


Watch it all on our<br />

YouTube Channel<br />







TF 250-X<br />



STORM<br />

THE<br />

BARN<br />


NEW TF 250-X<br />

Triumph starts an “all-in” assault<br />

on the dirtbike world with the TF<br />

250-X, a race-ready MX bike with<br />

a “class-leading power to weight<br />

ratio and the most complete<br />

specification package ever to<br />

launch into the ultra-competitive<br />

250cc motocross market.”

The British company has spent plenty of time<br />

getting muddy with its Tiger series adventure<br />

bikes, scramblers and whatnot, but the new<br />

machine marks the brand’s first proper modern<br />

dirt squirter, and Triumph wants you to know it’s<br />

not planning to do things by halves.<br />

It’s a ground-up, clean-sheet 250cc MX racer<br />

designed to hit the ground sprinting at the pointy<br />

end of the class. It’ll be supported by specialist<br />

motocross dealers, starting in Europe, Australia<br />

and the UK, complete with “a unique 24/7 parts<br />

and accessories supply system” to keep bikes<br />

running with minimal turnaround time. And<br />

Triumph is running factory race teams in the<br />

2024 FIM Motocross World Championship and<br />

US SuperMotocross World Championship, so<br />

there’ll be nowhere to hide if it doesn’t deliver.<br />

The heart of the beast is a new, “ultra compact<br />

and super light” button-start 249.95 cc single<br />

with a bore x stroke of 78 x 52.3 mm. With<br />

diamond-like low-friction coatings, a forged<br />

aluminum piston, and titanium valves, it runs<br />

magnesium engine covers to keep weight down,<br />

and offers the ability to fiddle with fuel mappings<br />

and diagnostics through an optional MX Tune<br />

Pro app.

It’s held in a twin-cradle aluminum frame and<br />

surrounded by running gear that Triumph claims<br />

is “unrivalled specification for a production<br />

bike in this category.” That entails 48 mm KYB<br />

AOS coil forks, forged and machined triple<br />

clamps, a three-way KYB piggyback shock,<br />

brakes from Brembo and Galfer, DirtStar 7000<br />

series aluminum rims with machined aluminum<br />

hubs, Pro-Taper carbon core handlebars, Pirelli<br />

Scorpion MX32 tires and ODI grips as standard.<br />

Race-ready accessories include a full titanium<br />

Akrapovic exhaust system, XTrig holeshot<br />

device, Athena launch/traction control module,<br />

bodywork replacement kits and the like. There’ll<br />

also be a full range of riding gear, apparel,<br />

motocross and enduro boots.

Wet weight is listed at 104 kg, but no power<br />

figure is claimed as yet. As our friends at<br />

MCNews point out, the class-leading KTM 250<br />

SX weighs about the same and makes a claimed<br />

47 horsepower thanks to a wide 81-mm cylinder<br />

bore. It remains to be seen what tricks Triumph<br />

has up its sleeve to top that figure using a<br />

strokier motor with a 78-mm bore.<br />

“The TF 250-X is an incredible bike,” says widely<br />

acknowledged GOAT motocross racer and<br />

15-time AMA MX racer Ricky Carmichael, who<br />

Triumph brought in from the very beginning<br />

of the project, and who worked on the TF 250-<br />

X from initial scoping through to prototyping,<br />

testing and development. “This is the bike that<br />

we set out to build. When you talk about the<br />

chassis, the powertrain, the components - it’s<br />

the best of everything you could ever want. And<br />

whether you’re a professional rider or an amateur<br />

rider, you will not be disappointed. I love this<br />

bike, it’s been such an honor to part of a project<br />

with such an iconic brand.”

DAKAR 2024 PREVIEW<br />




South African contingent to add a twist<br />

to epic Dakar 2024 Bike race

It is almost that time again! On Friday 5 January 2024,<br />

354 crews comprising of 72 cars, 137 motorcycles and 10<br />

quads, 78 Challenger cars and SSVs, and 46 Trucks will line<br />

up to start Dakar 2024’s 157 km prologue around Al-Ula.<br />

That sets the starting order for the next day’s first 532 km<br />

Arabian desert stage to Al Henakiyah before 4,727 km of<br />

racing and 7,891 km overall, to the finish at Yanbu on Friday<br />

19 January. This preview covers all you need to know about<br />

the 2024 bike and quad race.<br />

The Dakar Motorcycle race is always close and intense,<br />

and usually goes right down to the wire. Once again,<br />

there’s a significant South African contingent among the<br />

two wheelers, but looking at the frontrunners, it seems that<br />

Dakar 2024 will be a very close-run race.

Husqvarna Factory Racing has only one machine<br />

entered, but that’s for reigning Dakar bike<br />

champion, Argentine Luciano Benavides. Sister<br />

brand KTM Factory Racing has its regular trio<br />

of bikes for former winners, second overall last<br />

year, Aussie Toby Price in his swansong Dakar<br />

bike race and, and Luciano’s brother, Kevin<br />

Benavides. The third partner in that trio of sibling<br />

dirtbike brands, GasGas has another two former<br />

winners, Brit Sam Sunderland, and Aussie Daniel<br />

Sanders in the saddle.<br />

Honda quite literally has a Monster team<br />

out chasing Dakar victory. Chileans Pablo<br />

Quintanilla and Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo,<br />

Americans Ricky Brabec and Skyler Howes,<br />

Frenchman Adrien van Beveren and Spaniard<br />

Schareina Tosha will all form part of that red<br />

wave. Sherco’s Factory riders are Spaniard<br />

Lorenzo Santolino, Portuguese Rui Gonçalves<br />

and Indian Harith Koitha Veettil. Newcomers<br />

Kove have American Mason Klein, Frenchmen<br />

Xavier Flick and Neels Theric, and Italian<br />

Cesare Zacchetti riding. Yamaha has called it<br />

quits at the Dakar, but privateers Antonio Maio<br />

and Javi Vega should be quick.<br />

Hero Motorsports has however once again put<br />

a strong factory effort together, with Spanish<br />

Honda refugee Joan Barreda joining its existing<br />

line-up of German Sebastian Bühler, Portuguese<br />

rider Joaquim Rodrigues, and top Southern<br />

African rider, Botswana hero Ross Branch. Ross<br />

is one of eight Southern African riders entered<br />

in the 2024 Dakar bike race alongside privateer<br />

BAS KTM teammates, Bradley Cox starting his<br />

third Dakar, and ever-quick 2023 rookie winner<br />

Michael Docherty.

South Africa’s 2023 Malle Moto Original winner Charan<br />

Moore is back but riding his Husqvarna with assistance<br />

this time. Stuart Gregory however continues once<br />

again in Malle Moto on his KTM. Former multiple South<br />

African motocross champion and 2023 SA Senior<br />

Cross Country champion Kerim Fitz-Gerald is worth<br />

keeping a close eye on as he makes his Dakar debut<br />

on a KTM. Fellow rookies, Ronald Venter rides a KTM<br />

and Zimbabwean Ashley Thixton, a Husqvarna.<br />

The Dakar quads are a dying breed with only ten<br />

entries this year. Watch for Lithuanians Laisvydas<br />

Kancius and Antanas Kanopkinas, Slovakian Juraj<br />

Varga, French rider Alexandre Giroud, and Argentine<br />

duo Francisco Moreno Flores and Manuel Andujar<br />

among them.<br />

“We have made sure that the fifth edition of Dakar in<br />

Saudi Arabia will be the toughest race since we have<br />

come to the Middle East,” race director David Castera<br />

warned. “We will race 4,727 km and cover 7,891 km of<br />

special stages, including a new two-day ‘48h chrono’<br />

marathon stage, where competitors must stop at the<br />

nearest of eight bivouacs at 4pm and crews will have<br />

no contact with their teams. This one will be tough.<br />

Good luck to all competitors and teams!”<br />

Also the opening round of the third season of the<br />

W2RC World Rally-Raid Championships Dakar 2024<br />

starts with the 157 km Al-Ula Prologue on Friday<br />

5 January. Day 1 on Saturday races 532 km to Al<br />

Henakiyah, before 662 km to Al Duwadimi, and 733 km<br />

on to Al Salamiya on Monday. Day 4 races 631 km to<br />

Al Hofuf, before 727 km to Shubaytah, an 818 km lap<br />

around there on Thursday, and on to Riyadh on Friday.<br />

Saturday is the rest day before an 873 km trek to Al<br />

Duwadimi on Sunday 14 January, before 678 km to<br />

Ha’il, and then 639 km Al-Ula. A 609 km loop around<br />

Al-Ula follows on Wednesday, before 587 km to Yanbu,<br />

and finally, a 328 km sting in the tail loop to the Friday<br />

19 January finish at Yanbu.


ROCK<br />

STARS<br />




With the incredibly popular GTA<br />

VI trailer hit fresh in our minds, it’s<br />

understandable how the simple<br />

mention of the name Rockstar<br />

might have one twitching in<br />

anticipation of something perhaps<br />

even cooler. Especially when the<br />

name is tied to motorcycles.

Rockstar is a name that, despite being used<br />

by several companies, will probably forever be<br />

associated with the New York-based video game<br />

publisher. But moving past the GTA trailer-induced<br />

confusion, we’ll tell you this story is about another<br />

kind of Rockstar.<br />

That would be the one that makes energy drinks,<br />

and even more specifically its involvement<br />

with Austrian motorcycle maker Husqvarna in<br />

motocross. The two entities run joint teams in the<br />

sport, called Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory<br />

Racing, and it is them the new Rockstar Edition<br />

bikes are meant to honor.<br />

With so little time left in the year Husqvarna<br />

announced the availability of two race teaminspired<br />

motocross bikes for the 2024 model<br />

year, the FC 250 Rockstar Edition and the FC 450<br />

Rockstar Edition.<br />

Although not new to the market, the two bikes in this<br />

configuration come with a series of improvements<br />

over what came before, the most important of which<br />

is the fitting of a new frame and the revision of the<br />

suspension system.

More to the point, the molybdenum steel frame<br />

that holds the two bikes together has been<br />

reworked to provide better cornering capabilities,<br />

while the upgrades made to the rear shock<br />

linkage reduce its rigidity.<br />

The suspension system on both bikes continues<br />

to rely on WP XACT gear, with the 48 mm forks<br />

up front featuring more progressive end-ofstroke<br />

damping, and the rear shock coming with<br />

optimized main piston and tool-free adjusters.<br />

The bikes ride on Excel wheels, the same ones<br />

used by the racing team’s motorcycles, with<br />

stopping power ensured by Brembo hardware.<br />

Just like we’ve seen happening with the 2024<br />

KTM SX-F Factory Edition bikes, the two FC<br />

machines now feature the Connectivity Unit<br />

Offroad (CUO) system. Installed on the fork leg<br />

and working in conjunction with the Husqvarna<br />

Motorcycles app, it allows riders to modify<br />

the engines’ maps based on track conditions,<br />

play around with launch and traction control<br />

settings, and even customize the sensibility of<br />

the quick-shifter.<br />

The Austrians make no reference to the bikes’<br />

four-stroke engines having been modified in any<br />

way, except for the fitting of racing silencers on<br />

the tips of the exhaust system.<br />

To make sure the two machines can be<br />

differentiated from their normal siblings,<br />

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing<br />

graphics have been devised for both of them.



From sea level to over 6,000 metres in less than 24<br />

hours on the adventure icon. BMW Motorrad and<br />

Metzeler climb the world’s highest active volcano<br />

with series production BMW R 1300 GS models.

Barely two and a half months after its world<br />

premiere, the new BMW R 1300 GS proves<br />

its outstanding off-road expertise and unique<br />

robustness in South America. From 6th to 7th<br />

December 2023, starting from sea level on the<br />

Nevado Ojos del Salado - at 6,893 metres the<br />

highest active volcano in the world - a fleet of<br />

fully equipped<br />

BMW R 1300 GS models managed to reach<br />

an altitude of more than 6,000 metres in less<br />

than 24 hours. The climb, which is very difficult<br />

for riders, bikes and tyres, culminates in the<br />

notorious “Rock Channel” on the northern<br />

flank of the Nevado Ojos del Salado, where<br />

the expedition climbed to 6,006 metres in just<br />

19 hours and 22 minutes to reach a maximum<br />

altitude of 6,027 metres.<br />

The backdrop for the expedition, which<br />

represents an extreme challenge for man and<br />

machine, is the Circuito de los Seis Miles in<br />

the Atacama Desert in Chile, the highest active<br />

volcano chain in the world, to which the Nevado<br />

Ojos del Salado belongs. The four standard<br />

BMW R 1300 GS models set off on 6 December<br />

at 3.00 pm local time from Bahia Inglesa, a town<br />

near the port of Caldera on the Pacific Ocean in<br />

the Atacama region, to climb the Nevado Ojos<br />

Del Salado.<br />

International team of riders.<br />

The destination was finally reached on 7<br />

December at 10.22 am local time. Equipped with<br />

Metzeler Karoo 4 tyres, the BMW R 1300 GS<br />

models started from sea level on the coast of the<br />

Pacific Ocean, followed by the ascent through<br />

the Atacama Desert to the Circuito de los Seis<br />

Miles and finally to the slopes of Nevado Ojos<br />

del Salado on the border between Argentina and

Chile. Riding the BMW R 1300 GS were Christof<br />

Lischka, BMW Motorrad Development Manager,<br />

Salvatore Pennisi, Metzeler Test and Technical<br />

Director, Michele Pradelli, Italian Extreme Enduro<br />

Champion and tester for Italian magazine InMoto,<br />

and Karsten Schwers, tester and journalist for<br />

German magazine MOTORRAD.<br />

A further unique feature of this expedition<br />

was the decision to undertake it with standard<br />

motorcycles and standard tyres. It should also be<br />

noted that this result was achieved with 19” front<br />

and 17” rear tyres, showing a new dimension in<br />

the world of adventure riding.<br />

Christof Lischka: “With this extreme ride up to<br />

more than 6,000 metres, the new BMW R 1300 GS<br />

has shown what it can do and what it is made for.<br />

It masters off-road and adventure riding as well as<br />

a sporty pace on tarmac and long tours. Even in<br />

standard trim with off-road tyres. It was important<br />

for us to emphasise these core competencies of<br />

the new GS once again with this expedition.”<br />

Standard BMW R 1300 GS with<br />

off-road tyres.<br />

The new BMW R 1300 GS is fitted with Metzeler<br />

Tourance Next 2 tyres as original equipment<br />

ex works. For dedicated off-road use, Metzeler<br />

Karoo 4 tyres are available as an option, and<br />

were used on this expedition. With the Metzeler<br />

Karoo 4 tyres, the BMW R 1300 GS offers even<br />

better riding characteristics both off-road and on<br />

adventure tours. The multi-purpose tyres offer<br />

exemplary off-road traction and can be used on<br />

everything from sandy or desert tracks to the<br />

deepest mud. They also work perfectly<br />

on- and off-road with the advanced rider<br />

assistance systems of the new BMW R 1300 GS.

A challenge for man and machine.<br />

The climb to Nevado Ojos del Salado is an<br />

extreme challenge for both man and machine.<br />

Considerable physical and mental effort is<br />

required of the expedition participants. After<br />

all, the climb is be completed in less than 24<br />

hours. In addition, the participants reach an<br />

environment above 5,000 metres that is very<br />

inhospitable to humans. The temperatures are<br />

very low - around -10 °C during the day and -20<br />

°C at night - and the oxygen content is low.<br />

Long-term preparation and prior acclimatisation<br />

to the region are therefore essential. In the days<br />

leading up to the expedition, several base camps<br />

were set up at different altitudes and a simulation<br />

was carried out on Mount Etna in Sicily, the<br />

highest active volcano in Europe. Specific<br />

medical tests and checks at the University of<br />

Enna, in cooperation with the health authorities<br />

of the province of Enna, were also part of the<br />

preparation of the expedition participants.<br />

At over 5,000 metres above sea level, the cold<br />

and low air pressure place particularly high<br />

demands on the electronic control of the air-fuel<br />

mixture of the Boxer engine, but also on all other<br />

vehicle components of the new BMW R 1300<br />

GS. The chassis and tyres are also put to the test<br />

by the varied terrain with stony tracks, unpaved<br />

roads, endless sandy areas and sometimes even<br />

ice and snow.<br />

“I am delighted that we were able to take on this<br />

challenge with the new R 1300 GS and mastered<br />

it with flying colours. On such adventurous rides,<br />

the new GS has already demonstrated its great<br />

off-road expertise in standard trim and shown<br />

what it can do in extreme situations,” concludes<br />

Christof Lischka.

Pics: Roof of Africa by ZCMC<br />

LUCKY<br />

NUMBER<br />

EIGHT<br />

In the challenging setting of Lesotho’s<br />

Mountain Kingdom, Wade Young emerged<br />

as the eight-time victor of the Roof of Africa<br />

Hard Enduro in 2023, overcoming scorching<br />

temperatures. This year’s race presented a<br />

stark contrast to the previous edition, with<br />

dry and hot conditions replacing the rain<br />

and floods, posing significant challenges to<br />

riders over three days.

Undeterred by Lesotho’s unpredictable weather,<br />

Wade Young showcased his mastery, securing<br />

victory despite strong competition from Cody<br />

Webb, Matt Green, and Brett Swanepoel.<br />

Young’s triumph began with a win in the Round<br />

the Houses race on Thursday and a strategically<br />

placed fifth in the Time Trial. By day one’s end,<br />

he had established a commanding 25-minute<br />

lead over Green and Swanepoel, a lead he<br />

maintained to claim his impressive eighth victory.<br />

Day two witnessed a tactical battle among a<br />

small group of riders, with 17-year-old sensation<br />

James Moore setting the fastest time. However,<br />

Wade Young’s substantial lead from day one<br />

ensured his overall victory, finishing just under<br />

20 minutes ahead of Green, with Swanepoel<br />

closely trailing Green by three minutes in the<br />

overall standings.<br />

Reflecting on the race, Wade Young<br />

acknowledged the toughness, stating, “I have<br />

never been this tired at the end of a race in my<br />

entire career; the days were just so long, and the<br />

heat only made it worse.”<br />

The extreme conditions led to multiple<br />

retirements across all classes, emphasizing<br />

the grueling nature of the event. Sherco<br />

claimed the Manufacturers title, with impressive<br />

performances across various classes, including<br />

Cody Webb’s sixth position in the Gold class.<br />

Louis-Bresler Knipe dominated the Bronze class,<br />

securing victory with an 18-minute lead.<br />

The Silver class witnessed a fierce battle, with<br />

Daniel Peckham settling for second place<br />

after challenging encounters with Tate Stroh<br />

and Grant Burton-Durham. Terri-Lynn Hodge<br />

emerged as the top-finishing Lady at this year’s<br />

Roof of Africa, overcoming mechanical problems<br />

faced by Kirsten Landman.<br />

Well done to all involved. Another great Roof of<br />

Africa in the bag. To all the competitors, a big<br />

hats off from us. Enjoy the pictures. They tell the<br />

story of the Roof perfectly.

Pics: Roof of Africa by ZCMC<br />




Brad Binder, known for his exceptional skills on the MotoGP circuit, harbored<br />

a long-standing dream of participating in the Roof of Africa. In a serendipitous<br />

turn of events, 2023 proved to be the year when his MotoGP schedule aligned<br />

seamlessly with the iconic enduro race. Seizing the opportunity, KTM South<br />

Africa joined forces with Brad Binder to transform his dream into reality.<br />

Despite having only a mere two hours of Enduro riding experience under<br />

his belt before the event, Binder exhibited unmatched determination and<br />

adaptability throughout the Roof of Africa. His riding technique underwent<br />

a remarkable transformation, showcasing the true mark of a champion.<br />

Facing the challenges posed by the treacherous Lesotho mountains, Brad<br />

demonstrated not only his prowess as a MotoGP rider but also his resilience<br />

as an athlete.<br />

After a grueling 17 hours on the bike, Brad Binder crossed the finish line<br />

in the Bronze class, marking a historic achievement in one of the toughest<br />

editions of the Roof of Africa. The KTM South Africa team is immensely proud<br />

to have played a role in Brad’s success and looks forward to witnessing more<br />

such milestones in the future.




The 55th edition of the Roof Of Africa, The Mother of Hard<br />

Enduro, witnessed KTM’s unparalleled dominance as the brand<br />

clinched an astonishing 64% market share with a staggering total<br />

of 359 KTM’s participating in the grueling event.<br />

KTM’s stronghold on this year’s Roof Of Africa was nothing short<br />

of remarkable, with more competitors choosing the Austrian brand<br />

over all others combined. The sheer number of KTM motorcycles<br />

in the race not only demonstrated the trust riders place in the<br />

brand but also showcased the exceptional performance and<br />

reliability of KTM off-road machines.<br />

The Brother Leader Tread KTM factory team, a powerhouse team<br />

in the world of off-road racing, brought their A-game to the event.<br />

However, extreme heat conditions posed a significant challenge,<br />

leading to the unfortunate withdrawal of top rider William Slater at<br />

the end of day 1. Despite this setback, the resilience of the team<br />

was evident as the two junior riders stepped up to fly the orange<br />

flag high throughout the demanding race.<br />

Dylan Jones, facing some of the toughest riding challenges of<br />

his young career, showcased remarkable skill and determination<br />

to secure an impressive 10th-place finish. His performance<br />

underscored the commitment and talent embedded within the<br />

Brother Leader Tread KTM factory team.<br />

Adding to the triumph, Matthew Stevens, a 16-year-old prodigy,<br />

joined an exclusive list of young riders who have conquered<br />

the Roof Of Africa in the gold class. Stevens’ accomplishment<br />

onboard his 150 XC-W not only highlighted his individual skill but<br />

also spoke volumes about the prowess of KTM motorcycles in the<br />

hands of emerging talents.<br />

The dominance of KTM at the 55th Roof Of Africa reinforces<br />

the brand’s legacy as a leader in off-road racing, setting new<br />

benchmarks and showcasing the unparalleled performance of<br />

KTM motorcycles in the most challenging terrains.<br />

KTM enthusiasts, sponsors, and the entire off-road community<br />

celebrate this outstanding achievement, recognizing KTM’s<br />

commitment to excellence and the indomitable spirit of the riders<br />

who conquered the Roof Of Africa aboard the Austrian brand.

Commenting on his unforgettable experience, Brad<br />

Binder stated, “The Roof of Africa has always been<br />

a dream for me, and to have the chance to tackle<br />

it this year with the support of KTM South Africa is<br />

beyond words. The race was tough and the heat<br />

didn’t help, but every twist and turn of the route<br />

made the victory even sweeter. I’m grateful for the<br />

opportunity, and this experience will remain etched<br />

in my memory forever.”<br />

Brad Binder’s remarkable journey at the Roof<br />

of Africa adds another chapter to his illustrious<br />

career, showcasing not only his adaptability as<br />

a rider but also the collaborative spirit between<br />

him and the KTM team. As the MotoGP season<br />

drew to a close for 2023 Binder found himself<br />

in fourth place in the championship, fans and<br />

enthusiasts eagerly anticipate witnessing Brad<br />

Binder’s future endeavors, both on the track and<br />

off-road in 2024.

Brad at the finish with<br />

brother Darryn Binder,<br />

who also completed the<br />

Mother of hard enduro on<br />

his Husqvarna machine

Words: JP Boer | Pics: BMW Press<br />


Securing Victory in the Qualifiers and Earning a Spot<br />

on the Team - JP Boer’s Ongoing GS Trophy Tale.<br />

JP Boer, the founder of Mantle Fitness, embarked on a personal<br />

challenge, pushing the limits of man, machine, and tyre. In this<br />

narrative, JP shares his experience of triumphing in the GS<br />

Trophy qualifiers and securing a spot on the team for the 2024<br />

competition. Additionally, JP provides a candid review of BATT’s<br />

X-Terrain rear tyre, the reliable companion that accompanied<br />

him on this remarkable journey.

My preparation for the GS Trophy took me to<br />

some of the most stunning and breathtaking<br />

places in South Africa. It was incredibly<br />

beneficial to cover so many kilometers through<br />

diverse terrain and weather conditions in the<br />

lead-up to the National Qualifier. The journey<br />

was incredible, filled with new people, exciting<br />

performances, and a wealth of knowledge<br />

and life lessons shared within the group<br />

and community. It’s hard to put into words<br />

the experiences I had, from conquering the<br />

challenging sands of Mozambique to navigating<br />

the rocky drop-offs of Lesotho, all the way to<br />

sleeping on a mountaintop at -3 degrees Celsius<br />

without a sleeping bag.<br />

Not only did I gain valuable<br />

technical knowledge, such as<br />

replacing clutches, respoking<br />

wheels, fixing punctures,<br />

rewiring side stand switches,<br />

and much more, but I also honed<br />

my soft skills through countless<br />

hours of practice in small fields,<br />

packing and unpacking cones,<br />

and refining my techniques until<br />

they became second nature.<br />

The first chapter in my quest to qualify for the<br />

National Team was the Regional Qualifier in the<br />

North West Province. After performing well in<br />

the first few exercises, I made a crucial mistake<br />

on the slalom, one of the most frequently<br />

practiced exercises for the GS Trophy. Despite<br />

this setback, I regrouped, performed well in the<br />

remaining exercises, and managed to win the<br />

regional event.<br />

In the few months leading up to the National<br />

Qualifier, I realized that the most important thing<br />

I needed to train for was staying calm, having a<br />

clear head, and avoiding making silly mistakes<br />

on simple exercises. Ultimately, the GS Trophy<br />

is more about the person who makes the fewest<br />

mistakes rather than the person who goes the<br />

fastest or rides the most flamboyantly.

Three weeks before the<br />

National Qualifier, my team and<br />

I decided to take one last trip to<br />

Mozambique. This proved to be<br />

an invaluable training ground, as<br />

four out of the six riding events<br />

in the Qualifier turned out to be<br />

sand-based.<br />

Upon arriving in Aberdeen, we split up into<br />

groups of 10 at random. We were briefed and<br />

then split up into teams of 2 for the first exercise.<br />

Our first exercise was a navigation event. We<br />

faced a new navigation format this year. Unlike<br />

previous GS Trophies, where navigation involved<br />

a combination of loading coordinates onto a<br />

GPS and following track logs, this year’s event<br />

required participants to follow a roadbook like in<br />

Dakar. It was a fun challenge in the dark, and it<br />

served as a great icebreaker for the start of the<br />

2023 GS Trophy National Qualifier.<br />

On the second day, we headed out in our<br />

groups, composed of people we had never<br />

met before. One of our team members had<br />

a puncture early on, the first of many for the<br />

weekend. After covering about 70 kilometers, we<br />

came across a small dugout dam and faced the<br />

challenge of riding up and down the dam wall,<br />

maneuvering through parallel logs. We continued<br />

through the beautiful Karoo, surrounded by<br />

nothing but fynbos as far as the eye could see.<br />

Next came a challenging combination of an<br />

elephant turn and a figure-of-eight. For the<br />

second group, the small box within the figure-ofeight<br />

proved to be extremely difficult to navigate<br />

faultlessly due to the thick sand that was created<br />

by previous groups. We continued along<br />

wonderful Karoo roads until we reached the town<br />

of Prince Albert.<br />

We were then briefed on our final event for the day,<br />

a team event that involved riding one bike through<br />

a thick riverbed, making it turn around a pylon, and<br />

bringing the bike back to the starting point.

The catch was that all team members had<br />

to touch the bike for the time to stop. After a<br />

challenging run in boots around the pylon in<br />

thick sand, we finished the day and headed<br />

to Prince Albert, where we were treated to the<br />

amazing pool and wonderful food at the hotel.<br />

After a long ride together, our<br />

team adopted the name “Bomb<br />

Squad.” It quickly became clear<br />

what riding a GS is all about,<br />

and that the “Spirit of GS”<br />

slogan is not just a marketing<br />

ploy but a genuine phenomenon<br />

that can be experienced with<br />

like-minded people who share<br />

a passion for adventure and<br />

the thrill that these beautiful<br />

machines can offer.<br />

The next day, we were the first team to the<br />

starting point, eager to tackle the challenges<br />

that lay ahead. We began with the Beautiful<br />

Swartberg Pass, a scenic route with breathtaking<br />

views. A quick walk-around bike challenge tested<br />

our balancing skills, as we were asked to find<br />

a fossilized clock engraved on the Swartberg<br />

mountain. The winding gravel roads that followed<br />

were like a dream come true, and we made our<br />

way to the summit of the Swartberg Pass for a<br />

quick team photo on the cliff’s edge.<br />

We continued along gravel roads until we met up<br />

with the rest of the marshals at a beautiful town<br />

called De Rust. Along the windy road through<br />

Meiringspoort, we were greeted with the next<br />

challenge of the day, a quiz about the history of<br />

the Meiringspoort pass. After a challenging trek<br />

to the marshal at the top of the waterfall, we were<br />

asked to take a picture of a box and bring it back<br />

to the marshal at the...

After what felt like a 3-hour ride through the dirt<br />

roads, we came to our next exercise, which was<br />

at the bottom of a riverbed with lots of BMW<br />

branding and spectators. It smelled like loads<br />

of fun. I noticed that my bike was running a bit<br />

hotter than it was supposed to. After further<br />

inspection, I saw that one of my radiators was<br />

leaking and that there was no more fluid left in<br />

my coolant tank. With a quick Pratley putty and<br />

the help from Stefan Boshoff, we attempted to<br />

repair the leaky radiator.<br />

After a brief explanation from the marshals, we<br />

found out there were two events that were going<br />

to happen: the Quarter Mile sand race and the<br />

Namibia preparation. The Quarter Mile sand race<br />

was a full blast as fast as you can run down a<br />

riverbed with a pylon at the end. You turn around<br />

and return as fast as you can, stopping over the<br />

line trying not to send your bike into the river. The<br />

second event was a series of rocks and thick<br />

sand, flags that you had to navigate through thick<br />

sand without spinning your bike into the sand<br />

and getting stuck. We had a great time with some<br />

difficult runs. Comradery was the name of the<br />

game helping fellow team mates navigate the sand.<br />

As we were managing to hop back on the bikes,<br />

I looked down at the screen and saw that it was<br />

a breezy 40 degrees Celsius. This just added to<br />

the immense challenge of the physical work of<br />

helping the bike through the sand. We tracked<br />

through the hot afternoon and got to the camp,<br />

which was the best I could explain the word<br />

“the middle of nowhere.” With no cell phone<br />

reception of any kind, it became dark quite

quickly with the last participants coming into<br />

camp. After further inspection, I saw that the<br />

repair that had been made to my leaky radiator<br />

was not working. Luckily for me, there was a bike<br />

that had some damage from the first day, and<br />

the owner, Lorin, graciously offered to swap his<br />

radiator with my leaky one. Under headlight, I<br />

swapped out radiators and filled up all the water.<br />

I did a test run, and everything seemed to be<br />

working perfectly.<br />

After two days of riding, I was coming into the last<br />

day where the group would be split into the top<br />

14. I was in fifth position. The last riding event was<br />

coming up, and I would just have to keep my head<br />

and not make any stupid mistakes to qualify for<br />

the top 14. They informed us that all points would<br />

be reset coming into the last event.<br />

The last day came, and back to<br />

Aberdeen with the final event<br />

before the group would be split.<br />

A slalom event through thick<br />

sand, with all the spectators and<br />

participants filling up around the<br />

sand pit, we completed the last<br />

exercise. It should be mentioned<br />

that all these events needed to<br />

be done at 2 bar tire pressure.<br />

To my knowledge, the last event was exactly the<br />

same throughout all the international regions<br />

that were selecting teams before the GS Trophy<br />

International. It was a combination of eight<br />

exercises that tested all the skills that you had<br />

to practice for the GS Trophy event. I felt like the

event itself was a combination of everything that<br />

most participants would know to be part of the<br />

event in the GS Trophy. There were garages,<br />

elephant turns, brake slides, full lock turns, brake<br />

slide then power slides, general balancing, and<br />

ending off with an emergency brake. It was an<br />

extremely close event, and to my luck or detriment<br />

(whichever way you want to look at it), I was<br />

selected to participate last in the entire group.<br />

Having looked at every other competitor’s run,<br />

there were a few that stood out above the rest,<br />

and I knew that there was no room for error in the<br />

events. After doing my run, I felt like I did a good<br />

run, but I wasn’t confident that there was enough<br />

to make the top three. I had a feeling that there<br />

were two or three people that maybe made fewer<br />

or the exact same amount of mistakes that I did.<br />

After a long and stressful award ceremony, it was<br />

announced that I was part of the team and then<br />

placed second out of all the competitors! The<br />

journey has come to an end, but the new one<br />

has just begun. There is lots of hard training that<br />

lies ahead, and a little bit of pressure, seeing as<br />

South Africa has won the last four GS Trophy<br />

titles. Obviously, there is a legacy already left<br />

behind that you need to follow up through to make<br />

it 5 for 5. There is lots of fun riding ahead, and I<br />

am extremely excited about the journey that lies<br />

ahead, the new teammates that I have, and the<br />

bonds and relationships that we will make that will<br />

last a lifetime. Thank you for all the support I have<br />

received from my family and friends.

X FACTOR<br />

JP reviews the BATT X-Terrain rear tyre<br />

I was first introduced to Batt-Tech tyres when I went on a trip to<br />

the Waterberg with a good friend, John Harris. The tyres looked<br />

promising from the first glance, and I decided to test them out<br />

after the trip. I was pleasantly surprised to see the price compared<br />

to other brands that I am used to.<br />

My Goals:<br />

I had a goal of qualifying for the GS Trophy after I missed out on<br />

being part of the 2022 team. The advice I got from members who<br />

were part of previous teams was that you need to put in time in<br />

the seat, so I decided to commit to riding and training as often as<br />

I could.<br />

Tyre Lifespan and Performance:<br />

After riding a bike for a few years now, I have become<br />

accustomed to the fact that longevity shouldn’t be the aim when<br />

putting on a new set of rear tyres. The aggressive riding you<br />

need to inherit when training for the trophy (lots of wheel spin<br />

and tire drags) means the life of the tire is shortened by quite a<br />

lot. The way I see it, there are some compromises to be made.<br />

A soft tire provides a lot of grip but offers little mileage. But the<br />

price difference between the Batts and what I am used to means I<br />

could buy 3 Batts for the price of 2. A big win in my opinion!

My Experience with Batt-Tech Tyres:<br />

In the span of 2 years, I did about 25,000 km,<br />

and about 20,000 km was off-road. All of the<br />

kilometers were on Batts, from every terrain<br />

imaginable - mud, sand, rock, and everything in<br />

between. The performance I received from the<br />

Batts was remarkable!<br />

Overall, I highly recommend Batt-Tech tyres. They<br />

are great value for the money and offer excellent<br />

performance, both on and off-road. I am confident<br />

that they will help you achieve your riding goals.<br />

Here are some additional details about<br />

Batt-Tech tyres:<br />

• They are designed and developed in South<br />

Africa.<br />

• They are available in a wide variety of sizes and<br />

tread patterns to suit all types of off-road riding.<br />

• They are DOT approved and E-marked, but<br />

not for road use. Core thoroughbred off road<br />

competition tyre.<br />

• They are backed by a comprehensive warranty.<br />

If you’re looking for a high-quality, affordable offroad<br />

tyre, I highly recommend Batt-Tech.

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