KTM Australia has increased its commitment to the development of young Australian motocross talent, expanding the Raceline Pirelli development team to a three-rider entity, still spanning two classes.
The squad will bring promising youngster Morgan Fogarty into the fold as MXD rider, following the promotion of Wade Kirkland to the MX2 championship.
Having finished fourth in last year’s MXD championship at his first attempt, Kirkland illustrated the philosophy of the Raceline program to a T. He established himself in the beginning of the season before gathering four podium finishes over the remainder of the year, including two rounds wins, at Nowra and in the finale at Coolum.
In MX2 he’ll join Western Australian hotshot Jayden Rykers, who last year finished fourth in his debut year in the category, and was by far the highest-placed two-stroke rider. Rykers proved himself a legitimate contender by bagging a couple of overall podiums, and this year has his sights set firmly on just one outcome.
Chris Woods KTM Raceline Pirelli Development Team: “It’s a pretty big change considering we’ve only been with KTM for one year, so we’re pretty excited to step up as the official Lites program, but we’re also pretty pumped to keep a finger in the pie with our MXD rider development program as well. Apart from that it’s pretty well play on, we’ll just keep doing what we did last year, but with one extra rider and a bit more prestige.
I watched Morgan at Coolum when the MX Rookies had a hit out, and I was pretty impressed with what he did, so once Caleb Grothues got the ride in Europe, Morgan slotted in with us.
He fits the Raceline credo well; he’s a very down to earth young bloke who keeps his head down and his mouth shut and just works. And those are the sort of riders we look for.
Jayden I never knew too much about, but he seems a ripper kid who’s super young, and he’s looking at the big picture – he’s no too worried about winning the battle, he wants to win the war. He’s working it all out pretty quick so fingers crossed we can keep it up.
Wade’s fantastic, I love him. He fits the team’s role with KTM perfectly; they get a go in MXD, do well and get a shot in MX2. But he’s huge, and he’s getting huger by the day, he’s like one of those pups with the big feet; he’s got massive hands and he comes in and the grips are like twisted around three times – it’s only a matter of time before he ends up in MX1. He makes his size work for him once the momentum is going but it’s trickier getting off the line. We’ll try to stick a decent pony under him and see if we can keep him up there.”
Jayden Rykers – KTM250SX-F: “With my rookie year in MX2 behind me, having a strong team structure behind me and the right tools will make it a lot easier to get the results I need.
Four-stroke was my choice this year – the way the tracks formed up last year, particularly in the second motos made it harder to find traction, and transitioning to the four-stroke has been quite easy because I’ve been on and off one for the last two or three years.
Growing up it’s always been a case of what you’re given is what you got, so it’s interesting to be in this new team environment where I’m doing testing and giving feedback. I’ve had to learn how to convert my thoughts into words so the team can use their experience to make things even better. That’s new to me, and it’s nice feeling there are people around me who want me to do well.
I’m used to checking over the bike, doing the spokes and topping up the fuel, so to be able to take a step back in that regard and solely focus on riding and what’s going on in my head will be great.”
Wade Kirkland – KTM250SX-F: “It’s awesome. I think it’s going to be a good step, because I want to get to the big boys and the 450 class as soon as I can, while I’m still young I guess – and on account of my size. I’m 6 foot 2 now so that’s pretty big for a 250 rider!
Jayden should be a good team mate. I’ve spoken to him a couple of times at a few races and he seems to be a pretty good bloke and I’ll definitely be able to learn from him. Having someone to chase around will be good for both of us. I’ve known Morgan for quite a while as well and we get along pretty well.
I’ll still train down here in Tasmania most of the time and do testing and stuff up there maybe four or five times a year.
My times were pretty close to the money last year, we had a couple of quick boys around, which helps, I reckon it would be pretty cool to be a rookie and win it. That’s something to aim for.”