Fresh from their winter break, KTM factory riders and riders from the new KTM supported teams are gathering in Mantova, Italy for the first pre-season event in the MX 1 & MX2 racing season.
Max Nagl of Germany is the KTM MX1 Red Bull factory rider for the 2008 season and is joined by Tyla Rattray, Tommy Searle and new recruit Rui Goncalves in the MX2 class. Also onboard KTM machines in MX 1 racing for the new KTM-supported teams will be Jonathan Barragan for the Italian-based Team Silver Action and Marcus Schiffer from Germany’s Team Sarholz while in MX2 there will also be a group of young talents in the KTM-supported teams. Mantova is the first chance for season for the KTM MX stars to test themselves against their counterparts from the other major factory teams.
Nagl Ready for action
Max Nagl has been preparing for the season in Spain, working with Stefan Everts who heads the KTM Factory Team: “I feel very positive and am getting a good feeling for being in the team. I am very happy with the bike and working with my two mechanics Peter and David. We have been testing and working on the setup and we hope to do our best here in Mantova.”
Tommy Searle fresh from the USA
British rider Tommy Searle spent the winter in the USA where he will race for KTM in the 2009 season. Ahead of Mantova he said: “I had a great time in the USA and I did a lot of training there and took advantage of the good weather. I like Mantova a lot and I am really pumped. I’m feeling strong and I think it will be a good start to the season.”
Tyla Rattray back in action
Now fit and fully recovered from knee reconstruction surgery last year, KTM’s South African rider Tyla Rattray is also looking forward to Mantova. “I like it here in Mantova. It’s a sandy track and this event is a very good start to the season. We have a new setup and changes to the frame so we are really ready and in good shape.”
Rui Goncalves KTM’s new boy
New boy Rui Goncalves of Portugal said he is enjoying being part of the KTM factory team. “It’s a good atmosphere and a good bike so this has given me the right confidence. I spent time in Spain training with Stefan Everts and this was very good for me because he gave me good tips and showed me the lines. I want to do well in Mantova but I don’t want to push too much and take any risks before the start of the main season.” Goncalves missed Mantova last year because of injury.
A number of new talents onboard the Austrian bikes are on the starting list for MX2 – Anthony Boissiere of Belgium riding for Team HDI France; Angelo Pellegrini (Italy) and Jeremy Tarroux, (France) for Team Silver Action and two young riders from GP juniors Team Champ – Joel Roelants and Jeremy van Horebeek, both of Belgium.
25th Edition of Mantova event
The two day, action-packed Starcross event presents a novel competition format like a tennis tournament where a field of riders battle it out in an one-on-one knockout over one lap each until just two riders remain. Eighty three riders are entered. Top riders automatically qualify for the final and are joined on the 1650m sandy track by other qualifiers. Mantova is a must for the enthusiastic Italian motocross fans and riders will be spurred on by a very enthusiastic crowd of supporters. Organizers report that more than 100 journalists from all over the world will cover the event.