Motocross

KTM MX Team Heads To Unfamiliar Territory This Weekend

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The KTM Motocross Racing Team is enthusiastically targeting this weekend's first round of the New Zealand motocross championships at New Plymouth, despite the fact that no member of the team has been there before.

The team is continuing its traditional strategy of early-season racing in New Zealand as a method of conditioning its riders for the Australian MX Nationals, which begin on March 29.

KTM 450 SX-F riders Kirk Gibbs and Luke Styke are both fit and healthy and excited to lay eyes on the track in the wake of their first trip to New Zealand, for the Woodville Grand Prix a fortnight ago.

On that day Queensland-based South Australian Kirk Gibbs made history by becoming the first foreigner in 25 years to win the Woodville Grand Prix, but the Australian motocross Vice Champion came second in the MX1 program after some lacklustre starts.

Gibbs will aim to carry the momentum from Woodville into the New Zealand Championships with the aim of getting throught the series fit and healthy ready for his main goal for 2015, taking home the Australian Motocross Championship.

‰ÛÏI had a couple of days off the bike last week after a practice crash, so I've got a couple of little niggles, but as a pro you're always carrying something." Gibbs expalined. "It‰Ûªs all good. There are two new tracks we‰Ûªll do out of the four rounds this year, so it should be pretty exciting.

"We only get 20 minutes on the track before we race so it's a little bit harder to compete with the boys who know the tracks, but we just have to learn and adapt.

"To me though, I just want to come over here and ride good and stay safe and just head into the Australian season healthy. But if I ride good, and feel good in myself, I should be up the pointy end anyway.‰Û
Luke Styke has been busy preparing to tackle this weekend's New Zealand Motocross Championship opener - Credit: Craig Bourke, Freeride Images
Styke was an impressive fourth in his first ever national-level MX1 race at Woodville, but with a better lead up to this weekend's meeting, the man who wiped the floor with the Australian MX2 category in 2013 is hoping for an improved showing.

‰ÛÏI feel like this trip is going to be a lot better - I've had a good two weeks with testing and solid training." Styke stated. "I was a bit sick going into Woodville, but the last two weeks my health has been 100%.

"Since Woodville I've been to work a little bit on chassis set up and just trying to improve my comfort level on the bike. This weekend I want to try to get good starts, try to get on the podium and just hit all my marks.

"It‰Ûªs only pre-season racing for me so I want to just take one step at a time. I have no idea what to expect at New Plymouth, apart from a concrete start, but I turned up fresh at tracks in Europe all last year - I think it's good, it keeps it fresh.‰Û

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