Find out the science behind Team HRC’s Honda CRF450RW, as explained by double world champion Tim Gajser and general manager Marcus Pereira de Freitas. Already in 2019, Gajser has shown that the machine is capable of winning MXGP races, with the Slovenian having won six of the last eight motos and three of the last four overalls, placing him just 10 points off the MXGP championship lead.

Words, Photos, and Video: Honda Racing Corporation

FTR 1200 Hooligans prepared for racing by S&S Cycle
European Hooligan Championship race debut at Wheels & Waves

Indian Motorcycle, America’s first motorcycle company, revealed two FTR 1200 race machines at the Bike Shed London Show over the weekend. Prepared for Hooligan racing by S&S Cycle, the FTR 1200 Hooligans will make their race debut in the hands of Krazy Horse teammates, Lee ‘KP’ Kirkpatrick and Leah Tokelove for the second round of the European Hooligan Championship during Wheels & Waves in June.

“The standard FTR 1200 is an awesome looking street bike with excellent handling and plenty of power,” says Grant Bester, Vice President and General Manager for Indian Motorcycle EMEA. “For racing on dirt ovals, the work by S&S Cycle turns the stock street bike into an awesome Hooligan race package and I can’t wait to see them hit the track at Wheels & Waves.”

Lee ‘KP’ Kirkpatrick (#152) commented, “I’ve been looking forward to riding an FTR 1200 ever since I first laid eyes on one. So, when Indian Motorcycle asked if I’d be up for racing an S&S prepared FTR 1200 hooligan bike in Europe you can probably guess what my answer was. It’s insane; not just how good it looks, the engineering work that’s gone into them and to be given the chance to race one, it’s such an honour. I’m looking forward to getting some testing time on the bike, working with Indian and S&S Cycle on the development.”

Leah Tokelove and Lee ‘KP’ Kirkpatrick

 

Leah Tokelove (#37) is equally excited, “Imagine my elation when I got asked if I would like to race one,” she says. “That feeling was next level. After seeing the bike for the first time in its Hooligan form, I’m just blown away by the level of detail and consideration that has gone into transforming this street bike into a racing bike. All of the parts used are of the highest quality and everything has been considered; the craftsmanship is unreal. S&S have done a fantastic job of developing the Hooligan racer from the original FTR 1200, their involvement has enabled Indian to project their Hooligan team to a whole new level, so thanks to S&S Cycle for their support. I am one very happy Hooligan with Pigtails – Let’s go racing!”

S&S Cycle has played an integral part in the development and success of the FTR750 race program and applied that level of race winning perfection to the recently launched FTR 1200. Beyond the more visible changes such as the number plate, removal of the front brakes and the S&S 2-into-2 exhaust system, modifications have been made to the riding position, clearance, suspension and handling with special race parts designed, or selected, by S&S Cycle. Headline figures are a weight reduction of over 25kg, and a wheelbase shortened from 157cm to 148cm.

To improve clearance for the extreme lean angles of flat track racing, the oil cooler, battery, starter solenoid and voltage regulator have been moved from their stock position behind the front wheel and allow the use of -2 degree neck cups in the S&S billet triple-clamps. This sharpens the handling through a steeper rake and shorter wheelbase and the handling can be further tuned with the 8mm of movement in the adjustable offsets of the S&S triple clamps.

For stiffer, race-ready suspension, the Hooligans feature fully-adjustable inverted cartridge front forks and a FOX FTR 1200 race monoshock, with remote reservoir, specifically designed for flat track racing. Matched to the rear shock is a new, shorter S&S swingarm for better handling and feel. With the new swingarm 25mm shorter, the rear wheel could touch the standard underseat fuel tank, so a smaller, aluminium fuel cell has been designed.

To attack the ovals, the rider is given a more commanding position with wider Pro Series Protaper bars which are brought closer to the rider with new risers to get the elbows up. New frame spars reposition the footpegs for better clearance and the new sub-frame, housing a smaller and lighter Lithium Ion battery, features a carbon fibre race seat tail unit.

Completing the race package are 19” Roland Sands Design wheels wearing Dunlop DT3 flat track race tyres and a 520 race chain running on the standard front sprocket and custom Vortex rear sprocket.

Words: Indian Motorcycle Media, Photos: Ivo Ivanov, imagefactory-studio.com

The 2019 edition of the Hellas Rally Raid saw a little less than 200 competitors take on a 1,200km adventure in the mountains of central Greece. Opting to enter the week-long event on the potent twin-cylinder KTM 790 Adventure R, Birch went head to head against a number of racers on all kinds of enduro machines.

Putting in a consistent run in the opening stages of the race, KTM ambassador and racer Birch made full use of his vast experience to climb up in the overall rankings as the race went on. Crossing the finish line on Sunday with a total race time of 27 hours and 39 minutes, Chris was only thirty minutes behind overall winner Leonardo Tonelli.

Earning fourth in the event’s overall standings, Birch dominated the M6 class for twin-cylinder motorcycles over 660cc. Topping the class’ standings by more than seven hours to second-placed Alberto Ballardin, Birch led an all-KTM podium with Oliver Bassi finishing third in the class.

With Chris Birch demonstrating the immense potential of the new KTM 790 Adventure R in real rally racing conditions, please find more info on the bike here.

Chris Birch: “It’s been a great week of racing here in Greece and I’m very happy with fourth overall and with the win in the Adventure bike class. Ever since I rode the prototype KTM 790 Adventure R my eyes were set on racing this cool new machine. I’m happy I crossed the finish line of this rally on this bike. A huge highlight for me was learning how to get the most of this cool machine. It’s an amazing motorcycle and it’s taken me a while to learn how to explore its vast potential. The places we went in this race were incredible. From remote mountain passes with stunning scenery to enduro-styled trails in the valleys. The low point for me was losing my navigation gear for almost 250km and being forced to ride in the dust of other riders. Luckily the mechanics from the Kini Red Bull squad did a great job and fixed the issue at the next service point. Overall, it’s been an amazing experience racing the big bike in Greece and I enjoyed every moment of it.”

Words and Photos: KTM Press

 

The national title was actually won six weeks ago, but the champagne was kept on ice until just the right moment and that moment came on Saturday afternoon.

Raglan dairy farmer Jason Dickey (KTM 350XC-F) proved untouchable throughout the first three of four rounds for the 2019 New Zealand Cross-country Championships and, with points from only three of the four rounds to be counted towards the championships and each rider to discard their worst result, it meant Dickey was in an unassailable position before the fourth and final round on Saturday, the title in the bag with a round to spare.

Though he did not need to, the 24-year-old Dickey showed up anyway at the track on Saturday –  laid out on farmland between Taumarunui and Kuratau – with all the pressure off, nothing left to prove and the national title already in his possession. So he wasn’t at all daunted when several of the sport’s ‘big guns’ decided they’d try to steal away with a little bit of his thunder; former Kiwi internationals Ben Townley and Hadleigh Knight respectively making their series debuts on Saturday.

With farm work so demanding of his time, Dickey had not raced his bike in the six weeks since the previous round of the series, in Marlborough in April, and he knew that fatigue might play a part in the day’s outcome, but initially at least, he was certainly on the pace. Dickey was quickly in front after a shotgun blast signalled the race start just before midday and he led throughout the opening lap.

As the gruelling race wore on, however, Dickey eventually succumbed to pressure from Townley, Knight and Whanganui’s Seth Reardon, but was nonetheless satisfied to finish the day fourth overall and let that be his “throw away” result.

Fellow KTM riders Nathan Tesselaar (from Taupo) and Glen Murray’s Sam Brown rounded out the top six on Saturday.

As well as winning the series outright in the senior ranks, Dickey also won the battle-within-a-battle for over-300cc four-stroke class honours, while Reardon won the under-300cc four-stroke class.

Pukekawa’s Jim Orton (KTM 300XC) and Dunedin’s Richard Mason (KTM 150XC) respectively won the over-200cc and under-200cc two-stroke class titles.

“I have not done much riding lately, so was just having a bit of fun today,” said Dickey afterwards, “I suffered from ‘arm pump’ today. First lap I felt good but then it started hurting. I couldn’t run the same pace as the leaders today. I just rode to survive. I will be back to defend my title next year.”

Other class winners this season were Auckland’s Charlotte Russ (women’s class); Waipukurau’s Stephen Sergeant (veterans’ 35 to 44 years); Stratford’s Karl Roberts (veterans’ over-45 years); Raglan’s Coby Rooks (junior over-200cc four-stroke class); Eltham’s Adam Loveridge (junior under-200cc two-stroke class) and New Plymouth’s Josh Houghton (junior 85cc class).

Raglan’s Jason Dickey (KTM 450XC-F), outright senior title winner in this year’s New Zealand Cross-country Championships.

Words and Photo by Andy McGechan

 

Raglan’s Coby Rooks knows how to add drama to his day, leaving it until the final minutes to snatch glory at the cross-country motorcycling nationals.

This year’s New Zealand Cross-country Championships were something of a mixed bag, with the senior title wrapped up well before the final round, but it was far from settled in the junior ranks with Rooks locked in a tense battle with friend and rival Adam Loveridge. Honda rider Rooks led defending national junior champion Loveridge by a scant five-point margin as competitors arrived at the rolling farmland course, halfway between  Kuratau and Taumarunui, for the fourth and final round of the series on Saturday.

Only three of the four rounds were to be counted, with riders dropping their one worst result, so it meant that, after they’d each discarded their “dud” race, there was actually just three points between Rooks and Loveridge. It was simple mathematics – whichever of these two riders finished in front of the other on Saturday would claim the national crown for 2019 and, with a brutal 90-minute race in store, anything could still happen.

Rooks took his Honda CRF250 into the lead at the start on Saturday, but Loveridge snatched the advantage from him soon afterwards and that set the tone for a thrilling see-saw battle between the dynamic duo. Trouble with a bog section on lap two cost Loveridge the lead and Rooks was quick to capitalise, quick to stretch his legs out front.

However, Loveridge quickly recovered and the back-and-forth battle at the front between the pair continued over the following laps, with Loveridge back in front as they began the seventh and final lap. However, once again Loveridge came unstuck in the tricky bog and Rooks grabbed the lead, which he held until the end, eventually winning the race – and the national title – by just four seconds, one of the closest results in many years.

Taupo’s Wil Yeoman finished third in the junior race on Saturday and also claimed third overall for the series. Tauranga’s Jack McLean and Morrinsville’s Liam Calley rounded out the top five juniors for the series.

“It wasn’t easy, but when Adam (Loveridge) got stuck in a swamp on the last lap, that opened it up for me. I simply managed to avoid the mud,” said the 16-year-old Rooks, a Year-12 boarding pupil at New Plymouth Boys’ High School, “I was pushing it a bit at the end to stay in front. This was my last race in juniors and I’ll be hoping to continue on and maybe get a top-10 in the senior ranks next season.”

The three-hour senior race that followed was won by Tauranga’s Ben Townley, finishing ahead of Atiamuri’s Hadleigh Knight and Whanganui’s Seth Reardon. Raglan’s Jason Dickey finished fourth in the senior race on Saturday, but, after winning the senior race at all three of the previous rounds, Dickey already had the senior title in his back pocket.

Raglan’s Brandon Given (Honda CRF450) finished eighth overall in the senior race on Saturday, but this became his ‘throw away result’, enabling him to finish the championship third overall, behind Dickey and Reardon.

Various class winners this season were Dickey (over-300cc four-stroke class); Reardon (under-300cc four-stroke class); Pukekawa’s Jim Orton (over-200cc two-stroke class); Dunedin’s Richard Mason (under-200cc two stroke class); Auckland’s Charlotte Russ (women’s class); Waipukurau’s Stephen Sergeant (veterans’ 35 to 44 years); Stratford’s Karl Roberts (veterans’ over-45 years); Rooks (junior over-200cc four-stroke class); Loveridge (junior under-200cc two-stroke class) and New Plymouth’s Josh Houghton (junior 85cc class).

Raglan’s Coby Rooks (Honda CRF250), outright Junior title winner at the final round of the 2019 New Zealand Cross-country Championships on Saturday.

Words and Photo by Andy McGechan