MX Nationals

KTM Horsham Bound With Three Rider MX2 and MXD Line Up’s

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Ask any of KTM Australia's young MX2 pilots what their stance is on this weekend's opening round of the MX Nationals and you'll find they are, not surprisingly, impatient for it to start.

KTM has some of the sport‰Ûªs most exciting young men in a hurry amongst its MX2 ranks, and with the ability to provide competitive, ready-to-race machinery in either four-stroke or two-stroke engine configurations, its three rider squad will showcase both.

Caleb Ward, the likeable North Queenslander who finished last year‰Ûªs championship with a complete domination of the final round at Coolum, has proven what he can do on the two-stroke, and has switched to the KTM 250 SX-F for 2015.

Behind the smiling face, Ward has proven to be a complete monster on sandy circuits in the past, however his off-season training has held plenty of focus on getting consistently up to speed on hardback, to make him a more complete championship contender and few of his rivals would argue that he isn't exactly that.

‰ÛÏI did a lot of riding when I was back up home, just getting through the pre-season grind of riding 5 days a week, then I went to Newcastle for a while, tried to ride a few different tracks down there, and now being up on the Sunshine Coast it's been great riding with a lot more fast guys than I can up home." Ward commented.

"I‰Ûªm feeling pretty comfortable and confident and pretty keen to start racing. The transition to four-stroke has been really good. I rode one a little while back just for fun and I'm definitely more comfortable on the four-stroke now.

"Obviously there's a heap of talented kids coming up from U19s that I've grown up racing and a lot of the field from last year like Clout and Arbon that are going to be super fast, but I‰Ûªve been working really hard and I wouldn't want to set my goals anywhere below winning. All my aims this year are winning as much as possible to try to get the title.‰Û
Harwood comes into the season a little underdone but is confident of riding into form - Credit: Shane Harwood
New Zealander Hamish Harwood was a tough and consistently fast performer throughout 2014, who overhauled Luke Arbon for second in the championship at last year's final round.

He too will compete aboard KTM‰Ûªs 250 SX-F for 2015, and though he is starting the season short of his best following a serious injury in December, Harwood is likely to only gain in momentum as the season rolls on.

‰ÛÏMy preparation level is about a 6 out of 10, because in early December I punctured my bowel with a handlebar in my guts at Auckland champs." Harwood explained. "They said not to get on the bike of 3 to 4 months, but I got a little bit keen and the first round of the New Zealand nationals was right on two months to the day, so I sort of went through the nationals having a race - and then a week to recover each time!

"But I was getting stronger and stronger and now I've got a few days on the bike. I'm definitely not at 100% fitness, but I think we can get there after a few rounds when everyone has settled into their paces.

"I'm enjoying riding the four-stroke, although it's a little bit more costly to keep it running at the top level, but I feel like I‰Ûªve got a good bike. Ride Concepts in New Zealand is doing the suspension and it‰Ûªs feeling unreal.‰Û
Jack Simpson will remain two stroke mounted for 2015 - Credit: Vann Reith Productions
Victorian Jack Simpson was one of the major players in a hotly contested under 19's championship last year, and though it looks from the outside as though he is stepping up a grade for 2015, Simpson is quick to point out that with only two exceptions, he has raced every one of his 2015 rivals in the past.

‰ÛÏI was always planning on riding the two-stroke for this year, so that's my weapon of choice again." Simpson said. "We‰Ûªve got an even better suspension setup with the bike now and the engine is almost identical, so it's a better bike already.

"It feels good to be recognised by the KTM boys and feel like I'm being rewarded for my efforts in the last two years. This sport can be pretty cruel sometimes so I couldn't be more thankful to them for helping me out and I'm going to go out there and give them 110% and try and give it back to them.

"Everyone says to me I‰Ûªve moved up a class, but it's funny, I've raced all those riders before except Clout and Arbon so I'm not intimidated at all. Crawford did really well in MX2 last year, and I beat him more times than he beat me last year, so that gives me more motivation that I can do it.‰Û

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