KTM Factory Junior Team racers Regan Duffy and Mason Semmens 1-2 finish at the first round of the Yamaha 125cc Gold Cup at Wonthaggi once again confirmed the validity of KTM’s junior program.
Two-time Aussie junior champ Semmens, in his fourth year with the factory squad, and Duffy in his second, are part of the next generation of Aussie schoolboy motocross stars.
KTM has already in the last six months, seen 2016 team members Caleb Grothues and Noah Smerdon graduate to overseas rides. After a successful 2016 in which the team claimed three Australian championships and five podiums, the team has brought two fresh faces on board for season 2017, 13-year-old Blake Fox from Dubbo, NSW and 12-year-old Deegan Mancinelli from Ingham in Queensland.
Fox is the current Australian Champion in 85cc 11-12 years and will race a KTM 85 SX and KTM 125 SX in the 12-14 Years division in 2017.
Mancinelli will compete aboard the KTM 85 SX big-wheel and was the Australian Vice Champion in 65cc 11 Years in 2016.
KTM has a highly-competitive range of Ready to Race motocross machines from the KTM 50SX Mini right through to the KTM450 SX-F ridden by Kirk Gibbs, and Junior development has always been an important part of KTM’s philosophy.
The KTM Junior Racing Team is one of the most successful Aussie junior teams of recent years, having amassed an incredible tally of state, national and world titles in the last few years, and Factory Junior Team Coordinator Tam Paul has a fresh bag of targets on the radar in 2017.
The team will continue its key partnerships with Troy Lee Designs, Motorex, and Dunlop tyres KTM Genuine Parts, KTM Power Parts and KTM Power Wear continues.
Tam Paul, KTM Factory Junior Motocross Team Coordinator: “It’s exciting to be looking at another year for the KTM Junior Team, where we have the reigning dual champion moving into the premier 15-year-old class in Mason Semmens, and Regan Duffy with dual podiums from the 2016 KTM Junior Motocross Championships.
“Blake Fox is the current 85 small-wheel Aussie champion and Mancinelli is a multiple national and state level podium place-getter. These two new young riders have got a lot to offer the team, and us them in return, and we’re very excited to move forward.
We had originally penciled Caleb in for a ride with our development team, Raceline, but we were happy to see him get the ride with Husqvarna in Europe instead.
“Noah Smerdon has won three Australian titles already and his family had the opportunity to move to the USA to follow their dreams to race full-time, so we wish them all the best.
“It’s good for KTM to develop these you riders and see them progress to international opportunities. It means we’re doing something right. We give them the tools and the support to progress.”
Mason Semmens – KTM 125 SX, KTM 250 SX-F “Finishing equal first with my team mate at the first round at Wonthaggi was something I can’t complain about, it was a good day! I wasn’t sure whether to race that round or not because I’d fractured my shinbone, but I’m glad I did. The KTM Factory Junior team has been a positive thing in my life. It’s a good confidence boost and it makes you train a little bit harder and want it more. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. It’s helped me heaps and I appreciate it.
“The goal for me this year is to go to the next 125 rookie round and win, and to come home with that championship. Also, I’ll go to Appin in a few weeks’ time for the 250 junior rookies class round and try to win there. Then the Vic state titles, and then I’ll try to win the Aussie titles back-to-back.”
Regan Duffy – KTM 125 SX, KTM 250 SX-F “I was hoping to do well at Wonthaggi with all the training I’ve been doing, but winning it was a bit of a surprise, particularly winning the second moto with a lap time a second quicker than the U19s. I’m hoping to go overseas this year for the worlds, but I think Dad would prefer if we went to the mini Os in America. It’s like two days of national racing and two days supercross in Florida and I could handle that!
It feels good to be back on the team this year. The first year it was a bit daunting being under the awning of a big team truck, but I understand how it all works now and I’m feeling comfortable. The bikes are the best. The power is great, and they’ve been reliable to me my whole life – and I’ve ridden them since I was four. This year I’ve stepped up the training; I’m going to the gym three times a week and riding three times a week. I just have Saturday off to get bikes ready.”
Blake Fox – KTM 85SX Big Wheel “It’s huge, so different to what we’ve been used to. It’s a big opportunity and hopefully we can make something out of it. Now we’re meeting with other riders on the team and starting to make new friends within KTM. It definitely makes you want to do better and impress everyone else, and it gives you more confidence. I’m riding the 85 big wheel and the 125, but the 85 is definitely my favourite – I feel like I can throw it around a bit more.
Hopefully we get selected for the worlds, and hopefully go over there and make a statement. If not, Aussie titles definitely.”
Deegan Mancinelli – KTM 85SX “It feels really good to be on the KTM team, it just helps out a lot. We get to go to places more often. Of my team mates I’ve only met Blake Fox so far but I know him well. When we went to Renmark for the Aussies we were hanging out together. This year I‘m hoping to come top-three in Qld and in the Aussies, and I’m riding the 85cc big wheel. It’s really comfortable to ride; you don’t feel the bumps as much as what you do normally. It’s easier to ride in mud and stuff. I’m really looking forward to the Aussies, to see Blake and the rest of the team.”