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KTM Withdraws from Dakar Rally

Thursday, June 4, 2009
Marc Coma - 2009 Dakar Rally Stage 8
With a rule change limiting Motorcycles to 450 cc, KTM has chosen to withdraw their factory supported teams; ending KTM's dominance in the Dakar Rally.
Following the announcement at a press conference on June 4, 2009 of the French "ASO" - the organisers of the "South American Dakar" that from 2010, only motorcycles with a maximum displacement of 450 cc will be permitted to compete, KTM, after eight consecutive victories, has decided to immediately accept the consequences and announces its withdrawal from the "Dakar".

The company will no longer be represented at the rally in South America either with an official factory team or a KTM-supported team. At the same time, KTM underlines that the company remains committed to rally sport and will now concentrate its efforts on the world championship and other important rallies.

The organiser's short term change to the rules, designed to end the dominance of KTM, and which comes without any advance warning, hits the KTM factory hard. Today, just six months before the start - and at a time when not only the factory team but also dozens of private teams are deep in preparations for this extremely complex rally, the immediate withdrawal of the worldwide market leader of offroad sports motorcycle is the only possible consequence.

"Every sport regulation needs changes and adjustments to new developments to retain an interest in it, but this also require the appropriate lead times. We have the entire material for the 690 Rally motorcycles for our factory team as well as that for 50 customers' motorcycles in our storage facility ready to be constructed in June. Riders' contracts have been finalised and all the team members have been engaged. The financial consequences that results from this decision are enormous. Quite apart from this, we are shocked by the organiser's lack of loyalty, above all because of the huge efforts we made following the cancellation of the Dakar in 2008 by contributing to the new edition - even during a period of extreme economic crisis," said KTM Motor Sport Advisor and "Rally Legend" Heinz Kinigadner in a first statement.

Following the decision for the deployment of 450cc motorcycles, which are unthinkably unsuitable for use in long distance rallies, KTM can no longer economically justify a commitment to be engaged in the Dakar in the future. KTM Motor Sport Director Winfried Kerschhaggl: "Rally sport serves to prove the efficiency and stability of our large volume series single cylinder. There is no question that we will remain active in rally sport! Having said that, for KTM, the rally in South America is now history. We will now fully concentrate on the Rally World Championship and we will seek out alternatives. Maybe we will soon again see full KTM Rally engagement on African soil - back to the roots!"

With its commitment to rally sports, KTM naturally takes the obligations to its long term worldwide customers seriously because it is they who have decided to put their trust in the products and in the unique service of the Austrian company for rally sport by choosing KTM motorcycles.
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Ken Hart -Rallly rule change to 450cc only.  September 27, 2009 12:48 AM
This appears to be a move by the big three in Japan. They have the money to buy the changes. It appears that the next SOuth American
winner will be a Yamaha WR450 Rally. My guess.
Since Yamaha, Suziki and Honda do not build anything that works well in a single much over a 450cc. Also, they have a lot of money in 450 motors. The rule change is designed to benefit them.
It appears that is how things are done now! If cannot beat them, change the rules to outlaw them. Money and politics, everywhere!

I bet someone took a big bonus to do that fot the Japanese big three?
Why not have the different classes? Anyway? We well see private and Major manufactures build 450 rally bikes. It be interesting to see if the bikes will all be true 450cc and no more! Do they not have a 250 class? Why not limit to 250cc? The only reason for this rule change is money!

Oh, why not limit the cars to 3liters and max 6 cylinders? Oh well, make that 4 cylinders and max 2 liters for the cars and trucks?
Would that not be great also? How many car/truck classes are there anyway?

Yamaha has done well with it WR450 Rally? Winning the 450 class.

KTM does have good 450 bikes. I am sure private companies will set them up for the rally. Not all of use can afford a 30 to 50 grand 690 from KTM.

If this works out, maybe more equipment will come on the market for adventure riders to build machines in the 450 range also, that are light and very durable? KTM rally adventure parts are very hard to get.

Did noticed that some companies in California are now building 450 rally bikes for customers.

Me? I have 3 Hondas, one KTM, and 3 BMW's.
If I get a new bike, looking at the KTM 690 and adventure kit for it.

Kind regards!

WOLFPAC76 -KTM DAKAR  June 8, 2009 01:28 AM
Here is another suggestion for the dakar organizers. Nobody should be able to compete with red underwear. I know i always ride faster, (well everyone does), with red undies so to stop any rider gaining an unfair advantage red undies now banned from dakar too!
Tim B -Simply Dumb  June 5, 2009 09:15 AM
That first sentence is horribly written! It's as long as a paragraph and it's confusing. Anyway, way to alienate one of the companies that has continually been involved with rallying. What genius made this decision? He should be fired.
SAMXRL -Yawn fest!  June 5, 2009 07:00 AM
No offence to the rally loyalists but I was getting bored with the almost exclusive KTM rally. When BMW and a smattering of Hondas competed it was somewhat more interesting because of the challenge to knock off the big kid on the block. KTM is justified to withdraw because they've been stabbed in the back by Dakar organizers. Personally I'd like to see all the major brands represented and see the likes of Johnny Campbell and other Baja riders competing in the Dakar! This would certainly make for much better viewing!! As it is it will continue to be a "Yawn Fest" with viewing excitement right there with the pro bowlers tour.
Bill -KTM - Dakar  June 5, 2009 06:43 AM
KTM is right to pull out. If the rally was 500 miles, not 6,000, the smaller bikes might be the way to go. KTM dominated because of the team they assembled. Not because of the size of the engines. What about the cars? Is the Corvette engine in Robby Gordon's Hummer going to be restricted too? Bill