Ryan Dungey and his KTM crew celebrate their first American motocross title in 2012, but the road to KTM’s overall win was a muli-year journey fraught with difficulty.
Red Bull KTM enjoyed a racing milestone in 2012 when Ryan Dungey gave the Austrian marque its first professional title in the United States. KTM and Red Bull recently partnered to create a web-series to chart the multi-year journey to the top-step, and Behind the Machine is the result.
Episode 1 goes back November 2009 when KTM began plans to increase its presence in America, both in sales and on the race track. Mike Alessi had been hired to ride for Team Orange in the premier class and late in 2010, legendary motocross icon Roger DeCoster joined the team as Manager and, along with his crew, offered experience and expertise to the racing effort. Alessi had mixed results in the 2010 Nationals, but was able to finish fifth overall at the end of the season. Andrew Short was hired on as a second and made his debut on the new KTM 350 SX-F in January 2011 at the Supercross season opener in Anaheim. Alessi failed to break the top-10 in that year’s Supercross effort, but Short held to sixth overall and heading into the 2011 Motocross season, Team Orange felt positive about the advances they’d made on both the 450 and 350. Episode 1 ends with the crash that severely dampened KTM’s hopes of an outdoor title in 2011.
Episode 2 picks up right after Alessi’s incident at Hangtown and follows Short through the remainder of the round. Short had no easy task though, crashing in Moto 1 and the suffering an engine failure not long after. The difficult start to the season pushed the KTM crew to continue improving on their machines, but much of the hope for a championship title in the premier-class was lost after the dismal showing at Hangtown. Episode 2 ends with a look toward the lites class and French rider Marvin Musquin’s bid for a championship.
Musquin is a world title winning rider who wanted to test his mettle in the American ranks and KTM offered him a unique opportunity to do that. A knee injury took Musquin out of much of the 2011 Supercross season, but he was ready to ride by Hangtown. In his first career race at the venue, Musquin took fourth in Moto 1 and battled back from 36th after an early pile-up in Moto 2 to finish sixth. Terrible luck continued to plague the KTM team at Freestone after Musquin was hit by the tire of a crashed bike, breaking three bones in his hand. Episode 3 ends with Short as the only hope for KTM of a podium finish at Freestone.
KTM and Red Bull will continue to release episodes of Behind the Machine every Wednesday until the concluding installment set for November 8th, 2012. Check out the first three episodes below, provided by Red Bull and KTM via YouTube.