The Factory KTM Motocross Racing Team has announced Kirk Gibbs and Luke clout as its premier MX1 class riders while Egan Mastin will defending his MX2 crown in the 2018 series aboard the 250 SX-F.
Gibbs, 28, will enter his sixth-straight year with the KTM Motocross Racing Team after finishing runner-up in the 2017 standings, also performing strongly for sixth overall as part of Team Australia at the recent Motocross of Nations (MXoN) in Great Britain.
“It’s really good to re-sign with KTM and I’m happy with the line-up that we have for 2018,” said Gibbs. “I think it’s good to bring some younger, fresh blood into the team and it’s obviously very good for me to be back at the KTM Motocross Racing Team for a sixth season. It doesn’t feel stale for me at all, it all feels really fresh and I think that collectively we will improve further for next season.
“I’m really looking forward to it kicking off 2018 when we start things in New Zealand and then following that I think we will have a really good shot at regaining the MX1 title here. After MXoN I kept riding all the way up until I had a rod taken out of my leg about three weeks ago, so it’s been good to recharge, but I’m back training now and I can’t wait to get back into it. To be back to 100 percent health after coming off the couch in recent years is positive for me, it had been really tough to contend for a title in that situation. Next year it will be a lot better lead-in and I feel that we are taking the right steps again with the KTM 450 SX-F. There’s a lot of loyalty between KTM and I, so I appreciate that – I’ve really enjoyed being part of the manufacturer for that long.”
Joining Gibbs will be 23-year-old talent Clout, who impressed as a rookie in MX1 this season and he feels that KTM will provide an ideal platform for him to further his career in the 450 ranks. The 2014 MX2 champion, who has immense international experience to his credit, is committed to a full motocross and supercross campaign in 2018.
“It was a goal of mine to get into the KTM Motocross Racing Team, the structure of the team and being close to my house really fits. To get this opportunity has been really, really good for me,” explained Clout. “I couldn’t be happier and more thankful to work with Jay and the entire team, everybody knows how strong the team is as a factory program – I think it will be another piece of the puzzle that will enable me to go out there and do good things on-track.
“I’ve ridden the KTM 450 SX-F once so far after some time off, I felt really good on it and I’m just excited to move forward from this point and keep working together. This year was solid as a rookie on the 450 and I learnt a lot, so going into my second year with a great team and the people I have behind me, I’m confident next year is definitely going to be a good one. I’m excited to go racing!”
At 19 years of age, Mastin was previously announced to be transferring into the MX1 ranks, however it has since been decided for the teenager to wear the number one plate in MX2 as he challenges for back-to-back motocross crowns. He’s also due to return for another season in SX2 later in the year.
“We decided that it would be good to stay another year in the 250 class to defend the title. There’s no rush for me to go to the 450, so we thought it would be positive to develop further and get better all-round, in both motocross and supercross,” said Mastin.
“I’m really looking forward to defending the MX2 championship as part of the factory team and also on the KTM 250 SX-F. I have an awesome team around me and I am in such a good environment, with the best equipment. It’s exciting to be on the four-stroke outdoors for next year and I think it will be even better for me considering the tracks that we are racing on, so there’s a lot to look forward to for us as a team heading into 2018.”
All champions in their own right and under the guidance of KTM Motocross Racing Team manager Jay Marmont – himself a multiple-time motocross and supercross championship winner – who will enter his second term as a leading part of the factory organisation in Australia.
“I’m really excited with the team that we have for next year. First of all, re-signing Kirk is great for us and we’ve got a really good bond with each-other, so I feel that he is going to perform really well once again and challenge for the title,” expressed Marmont.
“Alongside him, we’ve signed the top rookie in Luke, he’s at an age where he is ready to take his riding to the next level. He’s absorbing all of the information we’re providing and is looking for that factory team structure behind him, so to have him is extremely good for us as a team. On top of that, we will keep the defending champion Egan in MX2, work to develop him further and really build upon the experience he’s gained so far in motocross and supercross. We’re really happy to have these three riders on-board and we are confident of getting good results that will hopefully lead to more championships in 2018.”
Gibbs’ 2018 campaign is due to kick off in New Zealand at the Woodville Grand Prix in Palmerston North on Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th January.
He will then compete in the New Zealand Motocross Championships:
Round 1 4th February – Taranaki MCC
Round 2 25th February – Rotorua MCC
Round 3 11th March – Hawkes Bay MCC
Round 4 24th March (Saturday) – Taupo MCC
The team will then officially kick off its 2018 campaign together at the MX Nationals opener:
Round 1 15th April – VIC
Round 2 29th April – NSW
Rounds 3 and 4 19th 20th May – VIC
Round 5 27th May – SA
Round 6 8th July – QLD
Rounds 7 and 8 14th 15th July – NSW
Round 9 5th August – QLD
Round 10 11th 12th August – QLD