Toby Price set to lead KTM Dakar 2020 defence

 Toby Price set to defend Dakar Rally title

Toby Price is all set to defend his Dakar Rally title in 2020, alongside teammates Sam Sunderland, Matthias Walkner, Luciano Benavides and Mario Patrao for the KTM Factory Racing Team, no doubt hoping for a repeat of 2019, where KTM clinched the top three positions.

Toby Price – Image by Sebas Romero

The 42nd running of the event is not far off either, starting January 5 from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, the 12-stage 2020 Dakar Rally will cover a total of 7,856 kilometres, 5,097 of which are timed specials. The race will incorporate two marathon stages, with a rest day for all teams on January 11.

Dakar Preview Mario Patrao KTM RALLY
Mario Patrao joins the KTM Factory line-up

New to the Dakar, the road book will be pre-coloured, reducing the preparation work for all competitors prior to the next day’s stage. For at least four of the 12 stages, the road book will be presented to the riders just minutes before the start of the day’s racing.

Seemingly achieving the impossible, Toby Price won the 2019 Dakar while nursing a broken wrist. Ending the event having secured a deserved and hard-fought victory, Price’s success came at a cost with the Australian needing surgery to repair damage sustained during the race.

Returning to rally competition only in August at the Atacama Rally, Price soon settled back into a fast rhythm, placing fourth overall. Showing impressive speed at the Rally du Maroc in October, the reigning Dakar Champion now looks ahead to January and the defence of his title.

Toby Price

“Winning the 2019 Dakar started off as a bit of a dream, but with a lot of hard work put in behind the scenes by myself and the team we were able to make it happen, even with a broken wrist. It took a little time to recover from that event – I had aggravated the injury during the race and needed another surgery and bone graft to fix things. I spent the first part of the year recovering but then was back on the bike for the Atacama in September. My feeling on the bike was good there, which was encouraging and I’ve been getting steadily stronger ever since. Testing has been good, as usual the team have made some important tweaks to the bike, primarily with the suspension, so I’m really pleased about that. 2020 is going to be a whole different Dakar for us. It’s putting everyone back on a level playing field, which I think is good for the sport. It’s going to be a new race, a new look and I’m really excited for the challenge.”

Dakar Preview Toby Price KTM RALLY
Toby Price set to lead KTM Dakar defence

Enjoying a successful 2019 season, Sam Sunderland went straight from the Dakar into the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship and dominated the first two rounds. A runner-up result in Chile was enough for the likeable Brit to claim his first ever world title with one round to spare.

Sam Sunderland

“I’m confident going into this Dakar. You kind of judge your pace on how you have been riding the previous year and winning the world championship and coming third in the Dakar earlier in the year has been a real boost for me. Both the team and the bike have been fantastic all year and I’m going into the race fit and focused on doing my best. I’m looking forward to the new challenge that awaits us too – it’s going to be a new adventure for everybody and I think that really sums up the spirit of the Dakar. I like the fact that we are going somewhere new and that everyone is going to have to adapt and overcome all the new things that are thrown at us. The route is looking tough, but I’m certainly going to give the race my best shot.”

Dakar Preview Sam Sunderland KTM RALLY
Sam Sunderland

Runner-up to Price at the 2019 Dakar, despite carrying an injury through the majority of the race, Matthias Walkner also needed surgery and recovery time during the year. Building up his speed over the final two rounds of the world championship, the 2018 Dakar Champion has been putting in many valuable hours of testing ahead of the 2020 event.

Matthias Walkner

“The last Dakar was really tough for me. Finishing second was fantastic but breaking my ankle on only the fourth day made the rest of the race a massive challenge. Thankfully I was able to finish but the recovery process since then has been quite long. The training I’ve been doing has had a massive benefit to my fitness and although I haven’t spent as many hours on the bike as I would have liked, I feel great within myself and certainly ready for this new challenge. Testing has gone well, not just with the feeling on the bike but with navigation too, as I think it’s going to prove extra-important at this Dakar.”

Dakar Preview Matthias Walkner KTM RALLY
Matthias Walkner

Luciano Benavides successfully completed the 2019 Dakar well inside the top 10, while gaining valuable experience at the gruelling event. After showing increased pace and maturity over the course of the 2019 season the young Argentinian secured the Junior Cross-Country Rallies World Championship title and now hopes to carry his momentum into the forthcoming Dakar in Saudi Arabia.

Luciano Benavides

“2019 has been the best year of my rally career so far. To finish the last Dakar in eighth and then win the junior world title with fifth in the overall is amazing. After such a strong season I’m really looking forward to the 2020 Dakar. I feel I have come on a lot since last year and I’m excited to put my experience to the test. The Dakar for me is like no other rally – you have to take the event day by day and treat each stage as a single race. I try not to worry too much about the overall time, the most important thing is to get to the finish safely and do the very best performance that I can.”

Dakar Preview Luciano Benavides KTM RALLY
Luciano Benavides

2020 Dakar Rally Stages

  • Stage 1 – Jeddah > Al Wajh, 752 km – SS : 319 km
  • Stage 2 – Al Wajh > Neom, 401 km – SS : 367 km
  • Stage 3 – Neom > Neom, 489 km – SS : 404 km
  • Stage 4 – Neom > Al Ula, 676 km – SS : 453 km
  • Stage 5 – Al Ula > Ha’il, 563 km – SS : 353 km
  • Stage 6 – Ha’il > Riyadh, 830 km – SS : 478 km
  • Rest Day – Riyadh
  • Stage 7 – Riyadh > Wadi Al-Dawasir, 741 km – SS : 546 km
  • Stage 8 – Wadi Al-Dawasir > Wadi Al-Dawasir, 713 km – SS : 474 km
  • Stage 9 – Wadi Al-Dawasir > Haradh, 891 km – SS : 415 km
  • Stage 10 – Haradh > Shubaytah, 608 km – SS : 534 km
  • Stage 11 – Shubaytah > Haradh, 744 km – SS : 379 km
  • Stage 12 – Haradh > Qiddiya, 447 km – SS : 374 km


Moto News Wrap | Whakatane Summercross | Brabec talks Dakar prep

Moto News Weekly for December 31, 2019

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What happened this week

  • Kayne Lamont dominates 2019 Whakatane Summercross
  • MA & Kurri Kurri Speedway Club throw support behind fire victims
  • Ricky Brabec talks Dakar Rally prep
  • Strong Aussie showing for Anaheim 1 Supercross
  • AMA Supercross announce Anaheim 1 entry lists
  • 2020 Championship Calendars
    • 2020 AMA Motocross
    • 2020 Monster Energy AMA Supercross
    • 2020 MXGP
    • 2020 American Flat Track
    • 2020 Australian Speedway Senior Solo Speedway
    • 2020 FIM Speedway GP Championship
    • 2020 Australian Dirt Track Championship
    • 2020 Australian Track Championship
    • 2020 Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC)
    • 2020 FIM SuperEnduro Championship
    • 2020 AMA Extreme Off-Road East/West
    • 2020 FIM Flat Track World Championship
    • 2020 King of MX
    • 2020 Australian Motocross National Championship Calendar

Kayne Lamont dominates 2019 Whakatane Summercross

MX1 rider Kayne Lamont of the Altherm JCR Yamaha team had a strong start to the season, dominating the MX1 class at the 2019 Whakatane Summercross.

Held over the weekend, at the Awakaponga circuit, the 48th annual event always sees New Zealand’s motocross elite turn out in droves, as the hundreds of riders use the five races as a springboard into the 2020 national championship season.

Hamilton’s Lamont dived in headfirst and came up with a near-perfect scoreboard. The new race format meant there were five motos, which consisted of two back-to-back motos, with a five-minute break between them. After qualifying in P2, Lamont showed he’s a force to be reckoned with this season. He repeated that successful formula in the next three races, taking the win each time.

Kayne Lamont

“Race 1 was a 10-minute race and then we headed back to start line and raced again for 10 minutes. I managed to get the holeshot in race 1 and race away comfortably on my YZ450F to win it. Race 5 was a single race of 15 minutes, plus two laps, and I managed to sneak another holeshot in this race but was passed mid-way through the opening lap. I ended up settling for second behind visiting Belgian rider Jens Getteman, as I knew I didn’t need to win to get the overall for the day. The track was hectic for me but I’m happy to have some race time under my belt. I’m excited to improve on what I achieved today – with myself fitness-wise and for my bike setup heading into Woodville at the end of January.”

Altherm JCR Yamahas Kayne Lamont Whakatane Summercross
Kayne Lamont

Altherm JCR Yamaha Team Manager Josh Coppins praised his MX1 rider for bringing it home safe in the fifth moto. The former international motocross GP legend wasn’t just watching from the side-lines at the weekend and instead jumped on board a Yamaha YZ250F to fill in for his recuperating MX2 rider Maximus Purvis.

Altherm JCR Yamahas Josh Coppins Whakatane Summercross
Josh Coppins stood in for Maximus Purvis

The Mangakino youngster is nearly recovered from an ankle injury and will race with the Altherm JCR Yamaha team at Woodville on January 26.

MX1 Results – 2019 Whakatane Summercross

Pos. # Rider Total R1 R2 R3 R4 R5
1 94 Kayne Lamont 246 50 50 50 50 46
2 251 Jens Getteman 234 46 46 46 46 50
3 338 Brad Groombridge 211 41 43 43 43 41
4 14 Tyler Steiner 209 43 41 41 41 43
5 7 Hadleigh Knight 197 40 39 39 40 39
6 491 Sam Cuthbertson 196 39 38 40 39 40
7 8 Roydon White 188 38 40 37 35 38
8 9 Sam Guise 182 37 35 35 38 37
9 87 Quade Young 181 34 37 38 36 36
10 27 Daniel White 175 35 36 32 37 35
11 75 Joshua Jack 171 36 31 36 34 34
12 45 Alain Pretorius 161 29 33 34 33 32
13 166 Andy Todd 155 31 32 30 29 33
14 11 James Wilson 152 30 29 31 31 31
15 40 Caleb Franklin 142 27 30 28 28 29
16 125 Joel Trappitt 124 32 27 33 32
17 586 Jaakan Horne 116 28 28 30 30
18 105 William Ogle 96 33 34 29

MX2 Results – 2019 Whakatane Summercross

Pos. # Rider Total R1 R2 R3 R4 R5
1 23 Josiah Natzke 239 46 50 43 50 50
2 2 Wyatt Chase 238 50 46 50 46 46
3 6 Josh Coppins 209 41 41 41 43 43
4 338 Brad Groombridge 200 40 40 39 41 40
5 203 Luka Freemantle 189 31 39 40 40 39
6 935 Scott Barr-Smith 178 28 37 38 37 38
7 615 Joel Johnson 174 37 30 33 38 36
8 108 James Scott 173 43 43 46 41
9 982 Aaron Manning 173 33 29 35 39 37
10 157 Logan Maddren 170 38 35 37 27 33
11 197 Nick Hornby 168 25 38 34 36 35
12 270 Dylan Yearbury 166 32 36 31 35 32
13 232 Tom Armstrong 157 35 32 30 33 27
14 81 Carter Hanes 156 30 33 27 32 34
15 278 Yanni Emerson-Rae 146 27 34 26 29 30
16 47 Troy Wilson 138 34 18 21 34 31
17 24 Liam Hutton 136 22 31 25 30 28
18 818 Jack Rodgers 131 24 28 32 24 23
19 266 James Steele 126 20 20 29 31 26
20 279 Sam Corston 125 29 22 19 26 29
21 441 Adam Molloy 122 23 27 22 25 25
22 274 Harrison Chissell 114 21 26 23 23 21
23 394 Richard Horne 103 39 36 28
24 901 Mitchell Armstrong 100 17 19 20 22 22
25 515 Lee Ormsby 94 19 23 28 24
26 2S Diquon Snookes 82 18 25 18 21
27 115 Bradley Watling 71 26 21 24
28 50 Jonno Barnes 57 16 24 17
29 88 Brodie Connolly 36 36

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MA & Kurri Kurri Speedway Club throw support behind fire victims

Motorcycling Australia and Kurri Kurri Speedway Club have announced a fundraiser for victims of the NSW fires as part of a special February 1 speedway event featuring solo riders and sidecars.

Kurri Kurri Speedway Club President, Peter Campton, said the fires had taken a toll on the local community with some not only losing animals but their family property to the fires, with his club wanting to give them something back. Mr Campton said it was important that the victims received directly the money the club would raise.

Peter Campton – Kurri Kurri Speedway Club President

“We just want to try and get a few bucks for the local people that got burnt out, as the insurance won’t cover everything. Hopefully we can get a few corporate sponsors as we won’t have big prize money on the night as we want to give as much as we can to the victims of the fires. It’s Christmas and we just want to help as many people as we can, and do our best by them, as they must be feeling pretty bad, especially losing animals as they are family also.”

Motorcycling Australia Track Events Manager, Sam Redfern, said Motorcycling Australia members had been impacted by the terrible fires in NSW.

Sam Redfern – Motorcycling Australia Track Events Manager

“Many of our members have been in the path of the fires and without the brave men and woman volunteers fighting these fires many more homes and properties would have been lost, so this is a small way our speedway family can help those in the Kurri Kurri region that have lost everything. What Peter and the Kurri Kurri Speedway Club members want to do for fire victims in the region is a wonderful initiative and shows the true Aussie spirit of helping your mates when they are down. We would certainly encourage everyone in the Kurri Kurri region to attend the special fundraiser event not only for the spectacular racing that will be on display but to also help us raise much needed funds for local fire victims.”

With no brakes, gears or fear, the fire victim fundraiser event will be held on February 1, 2020. Organisers are hoping for a star studded field of solo and sidecar riders, which will be announced in the lead up to the event.

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Ricky Brabec talks Dakar Rally prep

Ricky Brabec proved himself to be one a favourite in the previous Dakar Rally, with the rider within reach of final glory had it not been for a mechanical setback. From the Californian desert, the Monster Energy Honda rider is once again poised to shine in the most important race of the year. Here’s what he had to say ahead of the 2020 Rally:

Ricky Brabec Dakar Rally prep MCH
Ricky Brabec

How are you feeling physically and how are the preparations for the next Dakar going? What are you expecting from it?

Ricky Brabec: Physically, I feel really good. Mentally, I’m still working on it. I had a tough break in the 2019 Dakar and it was pretty hard getting back in the saddle and pushing for victory after that one. There’s a lot of emotions and mixed feelings. But unfortunately what is done is done. So now we have to push and hopefully gain the confidence and the speed back as we head into the Dakar 2020 with more confidence and hopefully with a bit more speed. We will keep the fight alive and show up in Saudi Arabia Dakar ready for a full-on fight.

Last Dakar you took a huge step and you were leading the rally up until a few days from the finish. In the next Dakar you will be one of the favourites for the victory.

RB: Being one of the favourites is cool, but there’s a lot of people that think that if they are favourite, they’ll have a lot of ‘water-boys’ supporting them, but for me, coming from America, we do things a lot differently. I’m not expecting other riders to ride for me and I’m not going to ride for other riders. We are all in the race together. We are all trying to win. But in the end, when one of our team-mates wins, yeah, that guy won, but the whole team also wins. I’m really big at being a fair player. For me I will do the best I can at the Dakar. Hopefully I can come out on top and make all my friends and family proud.

Ricky Brabec Dakar Rally prep MCH
Ricky Brabec

Is it better to start the race as one of the favourites or one of those in the background?

RB: To start as a favourite I think you might have a lot of weight on your shoulders because everyone is watching you. But I prefer to start as an underdog and then come in and show people ‘Hey! Here I am.’

There’s about fifteen riders who could win the rally, so it’s not easy and we are not going very slow. Every day anything can happen and everything changes. The idea is to put in a really good first stage and start the rally on a good note. Hopefully the organization plays it safe. It’s rally. Everything changes. Every kilometre. What really matters is who crosses the line first.

The rally will change this year as they will give you the roadbook in the morning. You’ve already experienced this in Morocco. How will the race change with this rule?

RB: We will get pre-painted roadbooks. On four or six days we will get the roadbook in the morning. It definitely slows the rally down and makes the riders think a bit more. We won’t just look down and see the colours as usual and know what we are going to do. It’ll be more equal. You don’t want to be really far up front or really far back, you always want to be conservative and consistent and right in the middle: if you start at the front, then you are going to be the first one opening with a roadbook that nobody has seen. That can cause a lot of lost time. You want to finish fifth to tenth everyday, that will make you do really well: you won’t lose a lot of time, but you won’t gain a lot of time. You’ll always be in the fight. So you come in on the last day and attack. I’m training with the new roadbook at my house as best I can. Hopefully I can come into the Dakar with a lot of experience of the new roadbook and be more comfortable when I get there.

Ricky Brabec Dakar Rally prep MCH
Ricky Brabec

Saudi Arabia is a new country, so for this year all the riders arrive under the same conditions.

RB: We’re going to a different country, to Saudi Arabia, so no-one is familiar with the country and no-one has any insight into the route. We’re all going in pretty equal, not knowing what the heck is going on. It’s going be fairer. You know, it’s not going to be like, ‘Hey I know a guy that says that here is like this or whatever.’ We are all going in basically blind. We’re all going to go in not knowing what each day is going to be like. We go to Peru, we go to Argentina, we go to Bolivia, we go to Morocco, we go to Dubai and we can go to Chile and we already know what each day is going to be like by looking where we’re going or by what they’re telling us. This time we are going to Saudi Arabia where we haven’t raced before. The new generation hasn’t raced there. So we are going to start not knowing anything. They are going to tell us what the stage is like and that’s all we are going to know. So it’s going to be fairer. All the riders get the same roadbook, at the same time of the day. I think the rally is going to come down to not just speed, but being smart and being collective.

Could this be good for you?

RB: Hopefully. We’ll see at the end of the Dakar.

You are an American and you live in California. If you go back to when you first went to dirt races or desert races, did you ever imagine that one day you would be leading the Dakar Rally, the toughest race in the world?

RB: I would have done a lot of things differently had I known I would be where I am at today. I probably would have paid attention better in math class at school. I would probably have fewer tattoos… I probably wouldn’t have grown up as a punk kid… I don’t know. I never thought that I’d be leading the Dakar, but in 2019 I was doing that, and I believe that there’s a little fight left in me to do it for 2020.

Ricky Brabec Dakar Rally prep MCH
Ricky Brabec

When you started to ride, did you know about the Dakar?

RB: No. I didn’t know about the Dakar until 2008. One of my friends came to watch the Dakar. I was watching Quinn Cody and Robby Gordon.

Out of a Rally bike… Your normal training is with a bicycle?

RB: I ride a bicycle, I ride a mountain bike, I do some downhill… I go to the gym, some motocross track. Hiking… I do a lot of things because I hate to sit still and I hate to sit inside and I hate to watch TV. So I try to do something whether it’s playing in the truck or riding trails, riding Enduro, mountain biking, going to the downhill mountain bike park to go jumping with the bicycle, hiking with friends, camping…

Ricky Brabec Dakar Rally prep MCH
Ricky Brabec

Is there any race similar to the terrain that you are used to?

RB: The terrain near my house is like Morocco. Really rough and really dry. We have many dunes near my home where I do my training and the Baja 1000 is very close to my house. It’s exactly like Morocco. Hopefully it will be like Saudi Arabia, so I will feel comfortable.

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Strong Aussie showing for Anaheim 1 Supercross

With Anaheim 1 landing this weekend, there’s a strong showing of Aussies over in the States battling it out, with Chad Reed and Joel Wightman in the 450SX class. In the 250SX class it’ll be Geran Stapleton, Aaron Tanti, Jay Wilson, Jett Lawrence and Luke Clout representing Australia. You can check out the full rider list below.

Australian SX Rnd Melbourne LawrenceFinalB
Jett Lawrence – Image by AM

AMA Supercross announce Anaheim 1 entry lists

The AMA Supercross has announced the 450SX and 250SX entry lists for the Anaheim 1 event, running this Saturday at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, CA. The current list sees 53 250SX riders line up, while 50 will be racing in the 450SX category.

450SX Entries – Anaheim 1

1 Webb, Cooper Clermont, FL
3 Tomac, Eli Cortez, CO
7 Plessinger, Aaron Hamilton, OH
9 Cianciarulo, Adam New Smyrna Beach, FL
10 Brayton, Justin Charlotte, NC
11 Chisholm, Kyle Valrico, FL
15 Wilson, Dean Murrieta, CA
16 Osborne, Zach Abingdon, VA
21 Anderson, Jason Rio Rancho, NM
22 Reed, Chad Cornelius, NC
27 Stewart, Malcolm Haines City, FL
31 Noren, Fredrik Indian Trail, NC
34 Bowers, Tyler Lake Elsinore, CA
37 Davalos, Martin Tallahassee, FL
44 Cunningham, Kyle WIllow park, TX
46 Hill, Justin Yoncalla, OR
50 Bloss, Benny Oak Grove, MO
51 Barcia, Justin Greenville, FL
53 Decotis, Jimmy Huntersville, NC
61 Ray, Alex Milan, TN
64 Friese, Vince Menifee, CA
65 Weeks, James Punta Gorda, FL
70 Merriam, Dylan Corona, CA
82 Autenrieth, Cade HEMET, CA
86 Cartwright, Josh Tallahassee, FL
92 Politelli, Austin Murrieta, CA
94 Roczen, Ken Clermont, FL
111 Tedder, Dakota Surfside, CA
114 Schmidt, Nick Lake Elsinore, CA
135 Fitch, Robert Watkins, CO
138 Pulley Jr, David Lake Elsinore, CA
145 Smith, Travis Lancaster, CA
230 Wightman, Joel Singleton, NSW
240 Stewart, Bryce Canyon Lake, CA
256 Milson, James Granbury, TX
280 Clason, Cade Tucson, AZ
282 Pauli, Theodore Edwardsville, IL
330 Catanzaro, Aj Reston, VA
360 Siminoe, Aaron Reno, NV
421 Martin, Vann Cypress, TX
424 Custer, Tyler Creston, CA
501 Wennerstrom, Scotty Jefferson, TX
509 Nagy, Alexander Richmond, IL
526 Aeck, Colton Simi Valley, CA
651 Hogan, Jake Acton, CA
722 Enticknap, Adam Lompoc, CA
817 Clermont, Jason Plesse, France
848 Cros, Joan Manlleu, BC
976 Greco, Josh Lucerne Valley, CA
981 Thurman, Curren Rosharon, TX

250SX Entries – Anaheim 1

1W Ferrandis, Dylan Lake Elsinore, CA
6 Martin, Jeremy Rochester, MN
12 McElrath, Shane Murrieta, CA
13 Nichols, Colt Murrieta, CA
26 Martin, Alex Clermont, FL
28 Mosiman, Michael Menifee, CA
29 Mcadoo, Cameron Sioux City, IA
30 Hartranft, Brandon Corona, CA
32 Cooper, Justin Menifee, CA
40 Oldenburg, Mitchell Godley, TX
54 Smith, Jordon Ochlocknee, GA
55 Castelo, Martin Murrieta, CA
57 Drake, Derek Corona, CA
60 Falk, Mitchell Costa Mesa, CA
62 Craig, Christian Orange, CA
72 Wageman, Robbie Newhall, CA
75 Schock, Coty Dover, DE
83 Lawrence, Jett Wesley Chapel, FL
88 Karnow, Logan Amherst, OH
90 Auberson, Killian Winchester, CA
95 Brown, Carson Ravensdale, WA
97 Howell, Chris Spokane Valley, WA
98 Lionnet, Bradley Menifee, CA
101 Clout, Luke Hemet, CA
106 Wilson, Jay Palm Beach, QLD
108 Tanti, Aaron Silverdale, NSW
118 Harmon, Cheyenne Dallas, TX
120 Bannister, Todd Colorado Springs, CO
154 Felong, Chase Oceanside, CA
170 Leib, Michael Temecula, CA
181 Lyonsmith, Wyatt Boise, ID
227 Kelley, Derek Riverside, CA
244 Henderson, Mike Littleton, CO
246 Blackburn, Chance Newman Lake, WA
259 Hayes, Corbin Folsom, CA
260 Woodcock, Dylan Rayleigh, ENG
277 Caro, Kordel Costa Mesa, CA
284 Camporese, Lorenzo Campodarsego, PD
311 Gifford, Mitchell Colorado Springs, CO
316 Newby, Dawson Eaton, CO
395 Van Eeden, Charl Menifee, CA
427 VonLossberg, Deegan Murrieta, CA
474 Hallafors, Niclas Mission Viejo, CA
522 Zitterkopf, Cole Hurricane, UT
538 Emory IV, Addison Queen Creek, AZ
621 Wageman, Rj Newhall, CA
702 Hempen, Josiah Argyle, IA
767 Wharton, Mason Battle Ground, WA
906 Galamba, Adrian Bucyrus, KS
914 Stapleton, Geran Cape Schanck, VIC
929 Koga, Taiki Kurume, Japan
952 Macler, Ludovic Bliesbruck, FR
974 Marty, Brian Olympia, WA

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2020 Championship Calendars

2020 AMA Motocross race schedule

  • May 17 – Hangtown Motocross Classic – Rancho Cordova, CA
  • May 24 – Fox Raceway National – Pala, CA
  • May 31 – Thunder Valley National – Lakewood, CO
  • June 7 – Florida National – Jacksonville, FL
  • June 21 – High Point National – Mt. Morris, PA
  • June 28 – Southwick National – Southwick, MA
  • July 5 – RedBud National – Buchanan, MI
  • July 19 – Spring Creek National – Millville, MN
  • July 26 – Washougal National – Washougal, WA
  • August 16 – Unadilla National – New Berlin, NY
  • August 23 – Budds Creek National – Mechanicsville, MD
  • August 30 – Ironman National – Crawfordsville, IN

2020 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Calendar

  • Jan. 4 – Angels Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, Calif.
  • Jan. 11 – The Dome at America’s Center, St. Louis, Mo.
  • Jan. 18 – Angels Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, Calif.
  • Jan. 25 – State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.
  • Feb. 1 – Ringcentral Coliseum, Oakland, Calif.
  • Feb. 8 – Petco Park, San Diego, Calif.
  • Feb. 15 – Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.
  • Feb. 22 – AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
  • Feb. 29 – Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Ga.
  • March 7 – Daytona International Speedway, Daytona, Fla.
  • March 14 – Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianpolis, Ind.
  • March 21 – Ford Field, Detroit, Mich.
  • March 28 – Centurylink Field, Seattle, Wash.
  • April 4 – Broncos Stadium at Mile High, Denver, Co.
  • April 18 – Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.
  • April 25 – Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nev.
  • May 2 – Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah

2020 MXGP Calendar

  • March 1 – Great Britain, Matterley Basin (EMX125, WMX)
  • March 8 – The Netherlands, Valkenswaard – (EMX250, WMX)
  • March 22 – Patagonia, Argentina, Neuquen
  • April 5 – Trentino I, Pietramurata – (EMX250, EMX 2t)
  • April 19 – Spain, (TBA) – (EMX125, WMX)
  • April 26 – Portugal, Agueda – (EMX125, EMX250)
  • May 10 – France, Saint Jean d’Angely – (EMX125, EMX Open)
  • May 17 – Italy, Maggiora – (EMX Open, WMX)
  • May 24 – Germany, Teutschenthal – (EMX250, EMX Open)
  • June 7 – Russia, Orlyonok – (EMX250, EMX Open)
  • June 14 – Latvia, Kegums – (EMX250, EMX Open)
  • June 28 – Indonesia, Jakarta
  • July 5 – Indonesia, Palembang
  • July 26 – Czech Republic, Loket – (EMX65, EMX85, EMX 2t)
  • August 2 – Belgium, Lommel – (EMX125, EMX250)
  • August 16 – Sweden, Uddevalla – (EMX125, EMX250)
  • August 23 – Finland, Litti-KymiRing – (EMX125, EMX250, EMX 2t)
  • September 6 – Turkey, Afyonkarahisar – (EMX Open, WMX)
  • September 13 – China, (TBA) –
  • September 20 – Emilia Romagna, Imola – (EMX125, WMX)
  • September 27 – Motocross of Nations, France, Ernee

2020 American Flat Track

  • Round 1. March 14: Daytona 200 &  TT – Daytona Speedway, FL
  • Round 2. March 28: Atlanta Short Track – Dixie Speedway, Woodstock, GA
  • Round 3. April 4: Charlotte Half-Mile – Charlotte Speedway, Concord, NC
  • Round 4. May 2: Texas Half-Mile – Texas Speedway, Fort Worth, TX
  • Round 5. May 9: So-Cal Half-Mile – Perris Speedway, Perris, CA
  • Round 6. May 16: Sacramento Mile – Cal Expo, Sacramento, CA
  • Round 7. May 30: Red Mile – Red Mile, Lexington, KY
  • Round 8. June 13: Laconia Short Track – New Hampshire Speedway, Loudon, NH
  • Round 9. June 20: OKC Mile – Remington Park, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Round 10. June 27: Lima Half-Mile – Allen County Fairgrounds, Lima, OH
  • Round 11. July 4: New York Short Track – Weedsport Speedway, Weedsport, NY
  • Round 12. August 9: Buffalo Chip TT – Buffalo Chip, Sturgis, SD
  • Round 13. August 11: Black Hills Half-Mile – Black Hills Speedway, Rapid City, SD
  • Round 14. August 22: Peoria TT – Peoria Motorcycle Club, Peoria, IL
  • Round 15. September 5: Springfield Mile I – Illinois Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL
  • Round 16. September 6: Springfield Mile II – Illinois Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL
  • Round 17. September 12: Williams Grove Half-Mile – Williams Grove Speedway, Mechanicsburg, PA
  • Round 18. September 26: Meadowlands Mile* – Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, NJ

2020 Australian Speedway Senior Solo Speedway Calendar

  • Round 1, January 3 – Kurri Kurri Speedway, Loxford Park NSW
  • Round 2, January 6 – Diamond Park, Wodonga VIC
  • Round 3, January 7 – Undera Speedway, Echuca Road, Undera VIC
  • Round 4, January 9 – Olympic Park, Regina Street, Mildura VIC
  • Round 5, January 11 – Gillman Speedway, Wilkins Road, Gillman SA

2020 WESS Enduro World Championship Schedule

  • Round 1: Extreme XL Lagares (Portugal) May 8-10
  • Round 2: Trefle Lozerien AMV (France) May 21-23
  • Round 3: Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble (Austria) June 10-14
  • Round 4: Red Bull 111 Megawatt (Poland ) June TBC
  • Round 5: Red Bull Romaniacs (Romania) July 21-25
  • Round 6: Tennessee Knockout (USA) August 15-16
  • Round 7: Hawkstone Park Cross-Country (UK) September TBC
  • Round 8: Hixpania Hard Enduro (Spain) October TBC

2020 FIM Speedway GP Calendar

  • May 16 – PZM Warsaw SGP of Poland – Warsaw
  • May 30 – German SGP – Teterow
  • June 13 – Czech SGP – Prague
  • July 18 – Adrian Flux British SGP – Cardiff
  • July 25 – Swedish SGP – Hallstavik
  • August 1 – Betard Wroclaw SGP of Poland – Wroclaw
  • August 15 – Scandinavian SGP – Malilla, Sweden
  • August 29 – Russian SGP – Togliatti
  • September 12 – Danish SGP sponsored by ECCO – Vojens
  • October 3 – Revline Torun SGP of Poland – Torun

2020 Australian Dirt Track Championship dates

  • April 11-12 Australian Junior Dirt Track Championships
    • Mick Doohan Raceway, QLD, North Brisbane Jnr Motorcycle Club
  • October 17-18 Australian Senior Dirt Track Championships
    • Fairburn Park, ACT Motorcycle Club

2020 Australian Track Championship dates

  • May 16-17 Australian Senior Track Championships
    • Qurindi, Tamworth, NSW, Tamworth Motorcycle Club
  • September 26-27 Australian Junior Track Championships
    • Gunnedah, NSW Gunnedah Motorcycle Club

2020 Australian Off-Road Championship Calendar

  • Round 1 & 2: Toowoomba, QLD 22 – 23 February 2020
  • Round 3 & 4: Dungog, NSW 14 – 15 March 2020
  • Round 5 & 6: Nowra, NSW 18 – 19 April 2020
  • Round 7 & 8: SA 1 – 2 August 2020
  • Round 9 & 10: Omeo, VIC 19 – 20 September 2020
  • Round 11 & 12: Wynyard, TAS 17 –18 October 2020

2020 FIM SuperEnduro World Championship Calendar

  • Round 1: December 7, 2019 – Krakow, Poland
  • Round 2: January 4 – Riesa, Germany
  • Round 3: January 18 – A Coruna, Spain
  • Round 4: February 1 – Budapest, Hungary
  • Round 5: March 14 – Lodz, Poland

2020 AMA Extreme Off-Road East/West Calendar

  • 2020 AMA Extreme Off-Road East Series
    • March 28-29: RevLimiter Extreme Enduro, Decatur, Texas
    • May 16-17: Madd Moose, Marquette, Mich.
    • July 4-5: Tough Like RORR, Tamaqua, Pa.
    • July 18-19: Fallen Timbers, Little Hocking, Ohio
    • Aug. 1-2: Battle of the Goats, Taylorsville, N.C.
  • 2020 AMA Extreme Off-Road West Series
    • Feb. 8: King of the Motos, Lucerne Valley, Calif.
    • March 28-29: RevLimiter Extreme Enduro, Decatur, Texas
    • May 2-3: EnduroFest, Reno, Nev.
    • June 6-7: Last Dog Standing, Devore, Calif.
    • June 20-21: Stix and Stones, Kellogg, Idaho
  • 2020 AMA Extreme Off-Road Grand Championship
    • Aug. 14-16: Trials Training Center, Sequatchie, Tenn.

2020 FIM Flat Track World Championship Calendar

  • Round 1 – June 13: Diedenbergen DE
  • Round 2 – July 26: Boves-Cuneo IT
  • Round 3 – September 5: Morizès FR
  • Round 4 – October 3: Pardubice CZ

2020 King of MX Calendar

  • Qualifier 1 – February 15-16, Bega – Top 7 qualify for final
  • Qualifier 2 – February 29-1 March, Narrabri – Top 7 qualify for final
  • Qualifier 3 – March 14-15, Bathurst – Top 6 qualify for final
  • Qualifier 4 – March 28-29, Wagga Wagga – Top 6 qualify for final
  • Qualifier 5 – April 18-19, Lake Macquarie -Top 7 qualify for final
  • Qualifier 6 – May 9-10, Sydney – Top 7 qualify for final
  • Final – June 6-8, Undisclosed Location

2020 Australian Motocross National Championship Calendar

  • Round 1 & 2 Horsham, Victoiria April 4/5
  • Round 3 Newry, Victoria May 3
  • Round 4 Gympie, Qld May 24
  • Round 5 Conondale, QLD June 28
  • Round 6 & 7 Maitland, NSW July 25/26
  • Round 8 & 9 Coolum, QLD August 22/23
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Ducati “Ready 4 Red” 29-City US Tour

Ducati Ready 4 Red

Starting on January 15, 2020, in Chicago, Ducati will kick off its 29-city, coast-to-coast “Ready 4 Red” tour, a series of entertaining evening experiences that invite local communities to come together and discover the new 2020 Ducati lineup and learn about the World of Ducati.

The “Ready 4 Red” tour will present an inclusive and inviting atmosphere for seasoned motorcyclists, non-riders and new riders alike, showcasing Ducati’s new 2020 lineup, including the all-new Streetfighter V4 alongside the Panigale V2, Panigale V4, Multistrada 1260 Grand Tour, Diavel 1260 S, Hypermotard SP and the new Scrambler Icon Dark.

Check out Rider’s 2020 Guide to New Street Motorcycles

2020 Ducati Streetfighter V4 S
2020 Ducati Streetfighter V4 S

Ducati’s new e-bike, the MIG-RR e-mountain bike, will also make its North American public debut in preparation of its U.S. availability in 2020.

Ducati MIG-RR e-mountain bike
The Ducati MIG-RR e-mountain bike will be on display at all “Ready 4 Red” tour stops.

In addition to the two-wheeled entertainment, guests will have the opportunity to see the latest apparel collections and “Ducati SuMisura” at select locations — a bespoke fitting service which allows users to customize their own leather suit in terms of graphics options and manufacturing to suit the rider’s specific physique.

Ducati SuMisura
The Ducati SuMisura leather suit customization service will be available at select locations.

Local Desmo Owners Club members (DOC) will also be attending to share with visitors their range of regular activities, ride-outs, events and the benefits of joining the Ducati family.   

“Ready 4 Red” events will be open to everyone through a free online RSVP process. For more information and to register, please visit:

2020 Ducati “Ready 4 Red” Tour Schedule:

  • January 15, 2020 – Chicago, IL
  • January 16, 2020 – St. Louis, MO
  • January 17, 2020 – Indianapolis, IN
  • January 18, 2020 – Detroit, MI
  • January 21, 2020 – Pittsburgh, PA
  • January 22, 2020 – Rockville, MD
  • January 23, 2020 – Philadelphia, PA
  • January 24, 2020 – Foxboro, MA
  • January 25, 2020 – Manchester, NH
  • January 28, 2020 – Charlotte, NC
  • January 29, 2020 – Atlanta, GA
  • January 30, 2020 – Jacksonville, FL
  • January 31, 2020 – Sanford, FL
  • February 1, 2020 – Miami, FL
  • February 4, 2020 – Pensacola, FL
  • February 5, 2020 – New Orleans, LA
  • February 6, 2020 – Houston, TX
  • February 7, 2020 – Austin, TX
  • February 8, 2020 – Dallas, TX
  • February 11, 2020 – Kansas City, MO
  • February 12, 2020 – Denver, CO
  • February 13, 2020 – Salt Lake City, UT
  • February 15, 2020 – Las Vegas, NV
  • February 19, 2020 – Phoenix, AZ
  • February 20, 2020 – San Diego, CA
  • February 22, 2020 – San Francisco, CA
  • February 24, 2020 – Sacramento, CA
  • February 27, 2020 – Portland, OR
  • February 28, 2020 – Seattle, WA


Favorite Ride: Mineral King and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks

Yokohl Valley Road
Yokohl Valley Road presents a series of serpentine switchbacks as it curves narrowly through groves of oak trees. Tar snakes, yes. Traffic, no. Photos by the author.

The mission was simple: See some scenery, carve some curves and soak up some cool temperatures before the summer heat arrived.

Three of us left our homes in different corners of Los Angeles, California; I was on a KTM 1090 Adventure R, my brother was riding my BMW R 1200 GS and our friend was on a Honda ST1300, and we met at the Halfway House café, a popular stop for weekend riders. After a hearty breakfast — of the kind none of us ever eats on a non-riding day — we headed northeast through a string of sweet winding roads. Traversing Vasquez Canyon, Bouquet Canyon, Spunky Canyon and San Francisquito Canyon, we made our way through Lake Elizabeth and headed down into the wide Antelope Valley.

Sequoia Kings Canyon california motorcycle ride
A map of the route taken, by Bill Tipton/

The cool morning air rose to warming levels by the time we’d run the long straight roads that climb past Willow Springs, through a forest of wind turbines to the town of Tehachapi, where we gassed up and hydrated. Then, it was down wiggling Woodford-Tehachapi Road — pausing to admire the famed Tehachapi Loop, a railroad engineering wonder that curly-cues a length of track around itself, and the César E. Chávez National Monument, a library, museum and memorial of the California farm unionizer.

I’d been impressed by the roadworthiness of the 1090 Adventure R. My impressions improved as we began the tight twists of Caliente Bodfish Road, a narrow two-lane series of sharp curves that brought out the beast in it. Mindful of the livestock roaming along the unfenced sides of the road, and not wanting to dust my riding partners, I modulated the throttle as we rose up and over the crest and proceeded north toward Lake Isabella.

KTM 1090 Adventure R
The KTM 1090 Adventure R had intrigued me most for its off-road capability, but it was on the twisties that I was most impressed.

Wildflowers carpeted the flat fields of Walker Basin, where we paused to take beauty shots of the bikes and complain about the rising heat. Knowing we had a lot of miles left to cover, and certain it was going to get warmer before it got cooler, we dashed down the mountain, past Lake Isabella, to air conditioning, cold drinks and lunch in Kernville at Cheryl’s Diner.

Revived, we scooted out of Kernville, running north along the banks of the Kern River up Mountain Highway 99, watching the trees change from willow and sycamore to oak and finally pine. This higher-speed road carves up an increasingly narrow ravine, the rock walls closing in as the corners tighten. Riding past the turnoff for Sherman Pass, we skirted Johnsondale, left 99 for the seasonally closed M-90, and summitted at 7,300 feet near Ponderosa.

Walker Basin along the Caliente Bodfish Road
Despite the early summer heat, the fields of Walker Basin along the Caliente Bodfish Road were still resplendent with yellow wildflowers.

The 25 miles of State Route 190 downhill to the town of Springville may be the most dramatic motorcycle road in California. Countless tight corners, including some tricky decreasing-radius turns, drop almost 6,000 feet in elevation through pine forests and past trickling waterfalls.

We gassed up again and guzzled cool drinks under a broiling sun in Springville before running the last leg of our first ride day — the splendid, high-speed M-296/Yokohl Valley Drive, a poorly paved length of pavement with some extremely tight hairpin turns that crosses oak-dotted ranchland. When that deposited us on State Route 198, we hooked right, slid past the edge of glistening Lake Kaweah, and landed in Three Rivers, where we’d booked rooms for the night.

Yokohl Valley
David, astride the BMW R 1200 GS, gets a good look at the soft suede hills of Yokohl Valley.

We’d done a little more than 250 miles from the Halfway House. An ample meal at Sequoia Cider Mill prepared us for a good long sleep.

Again mindful of the heat, we saddled up early and rode north to the turnoff for Mineral King. Once a prosperous silver mining area — hence its name — Mineral King got national attention in the 1960s when the Walt Disney Company selected it to build a massive mountain ski resort. Environmentalists intervened; Disney departed.

What remains are the granite cliffs, groves of giant sequoias, rustic cabins dating from the 1870s and a narrow, patchy length of pavement that climbs 7,000 feet in a short 28 miles. It’s a slow, uneven road snaking through dense forests, past cabins hidden in the trees, hugging the side of a canyon wall that features sheer drops to the east fork of the Kaweah River far below.

giant redwood
A few miles uphill from the hot flats of Three Rivers, there suddenly appear redwood trees. This hardy survivor—the tree, that is—had been there for quite a while.

At the road’s end, in an alpine valley dotted with wildflowers and interlaced with gentle streams, we paused to fill our lungs with crisp mountain air and take the obligatory photographs. Hikers setting out for the peaks were headed for 11,000 feet and higher. We mounted up and picked our way slowly back down the hill.

Soon we were on Generals Highway, entering the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks area — I was getting to use my lifetime “senior” pass for the first time — and biting into a delightful lunch at the recently redesigned Wuksachi Lodge. An hour later, we had the keys to our cabins at John Muir Lodge. While my companions headed for the showers, I did an hour-long hike among the giant sequoias at Grant Grove, communing with the silence as the sun went down and the temperature dropped.

John Muir Lodge, high among the redwoods in Sequoia National Park
It was dusk and a chill was settling down as we parked the bikes and checked into our cabins at John Muir Lodge, high among the redwoods in Sequoia National Park.

Morning broke cold and damp, and it was 45 degrees as we walked to breakfast. It was colder and foggier when we saddled up and headed down East Kings Canyon Road toward the turn for State Route 245. Ordinarily a deliciously twisty downhill run through the towns of Pinehurst and Badger, this well-maintained mountain road loses elevation quickly through a 35-mile series of sweeping curves, each with its own impressive view of the great San Joaquin Valley.

This cold morning, though, the air temperature was just above freezing, the mist had turned to fog and the fog was turning to rain. We proceeded slowly, some of us maybe just a little smug that we had brought proper rain gear.

Old Stage Saloon at Fountain Springs
The Old Stage Saloon at Fountain Springs, said to have been founded in 1858, is famous for its fine food and strong cocktails. Our bad luck it was closed the afternoon we passed.

The unfriendly weather left us briefly as we paralleled State Route 99, but returned as we picked up Old Stage Road and climbed through Glennville and onto State Route 155 into Alta Sierra. Through a pleasant period of weak sunshine, I was able again to make the most of the KTM, carving corners as the two-lane rural roads took us up from farmland to grazing land to pine groves.

Soon the freezing rain had reduced visibility to a few bike lengths. We crawled over the summit and were still chattering in our helmets when we stopped again at Cheryl’s Diner in Kernville, this time to warm up with hot drinks.

We still had the southbound Caliente Bodfish Road to enjoy, and our reverse route through Tehachapi and Lake Elizabeth. But we’d already gotten more than we came for. Good scenery? Curves to carve? Cool temperatures? Check, check, check. Mission accomplished!


Best-Looking Motorcycles Of 2020

Bucketloads of dough are poured into designing cars, trucks, and motorcycles annually. In marrying such lofty elements as “design language,” brand heritage, buyer motives, production practicalities, manufacturing costs, and other factors, the products’ final form is always a balancing act by the time it reaches the showroom floor. After the evolution from cocktail-napkin sketch to on-sale-in-your-dealership, some products succeed—maybe due to their purity of mission and lucky timing—while others, perhaps sad and confused “committee” designs, turn out homely or miss the mark entirely. No varnish here: This article shares our worldview about the best-looking bikes in key market segments. Love them or hate them, but here are our opinions. By all means let us know if you agree…and also if you don’t! We love abuse.


2020 Royal Enfield Continental GT 650

Retro is all about honoring a past point in time. And to do that, one should be a student of motorcycle history. With its lithe English Harris-designed frame and British Rockers-era styling cues, Royal Enfield’s Continental GT 650 gets it done. A lovely overall look has much to do with tidy, balanced proportions, and this café racer got them right. The bread-loaf fuel tank, trim bum-stop saddle, and air-cooled parallel-twin engine offer approximately equal “visual mass” (our term) tied nicely together with the lightweight frame, conventional fork and twin shocks, and spoked wheels. Altogether, the look is balanced, retro, sporty, kinetic, and authentic.

One of Royal Enfield’s two new parallel twins, the Continental GT 650 is balanced, retro, sporty, kinetic, and authentic.
One of Royal Enfield’s two new parallel twins, the Continental GT 650 is balanced, retro, sporty, kinetic, and authentic.Royal Enfield


2020 Ducati Panigale V4 S

General Motors’ late design chief Bill Mitchell famously used a mako shark as the design inspiration for the third-generation Corvette. As a bike guy, he’d be thrilled to imagine Ducati’s Panigale V4 S, a shark among motorcycles. Stretched tightly around the alloy perimeter frame, the bodywork is simultaneously muscular and voluptuous, with sharp character lines and gentle curves flowing from the beak of its fairing through the body sides with its gill-like radiator vents. Here the body pauses to allow an unfettered cockpit for the pilot, and then finishes with a sharp flourish in back—like the flick of a shark’s speedy caudal fin.

Stylistically, Ducati’s shark-like Panigale V4 S integrates sharp edges and flowing body sides for a strong, highly integrated look. Even the “gills” are functional.
Stylistically, Ducati’s shark-like Panigale V4 S integrates sharp edges and flowing body sides for a strong, highly integrated look. Even the “gills” are functional.Ducati Motor Holding


2020 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES

Honda’s third-generation Africa Twin has a powerful visual presence. We admit, some of this is due to the blue, white, and red paint scheme, which is reminiscent of the Rothmans-sponsored Paris-Dakar NXR750s of the late 1980s. That said, the Africa Twin excels and its design, to warp Jay Leno’s Leading with my Chin book title, well, the Africa Twin leads with its big 21-inch spoked front wheel instead. When fitted with a DOT-legal knobby tire, it sets the tone for the bike’s real purpose…mastering long stretches of primitive roads at high speed. Big and bulky, but beautifully effective when you don’t know what’s coming next.

Evoking the purposeful style and stance of the Dakar Rally bikes, Honda’s Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES leads visually with its big 21-inch front wheel and tall fairing and windshield.
Evoking the purposeful style and stance of the Dakar Rally bikes, Honda’s Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES leads visually with its big 21-inch front wheel and tall fairing and windshield.Honda Motor Corp.


2020 KTM 500 EXC-F Six Days

It took KTM to pull the dual sport segment out of the doldrums and into an exciting new space. Instead of offering middling street/trailbikes built down to a price, KTM’s EXC-F bikes are built up to a performance standard approaching that of purebred motocrossers. Herein lies a raw, purposeful beauty that rarely wears both knobbies and a license plate, and the 500 EXC-F has both. Then, the Six Days package layers on works-style graphics and a more comfortable seat that, if they could talk, would beg you—no, demand—that you climb aboard, thumb the start button, and ride. We feel similarly about KTM’s motocross equivalent, the 450 SX-F Factory Edition.

How often do you wish bike companies would listen and respond? KTM did, and the result is the most functionally and visually adroit dual sport yet, the 500 EXC-F Six Days.
How often do you wish bike companies would listen and respond? KTM did, and the result is the most functionally and visually adroit dual sport yet, the 500 EXC-F Six Days.KTM


2020 Zero SR/F

The old 1963 song, “The Bird’s the Word,” should be replaced by a new one called, “The Battery’s the Word.” No, wait, that’s just dumb. Anyway, the fact remains, all eyes in mass transit are on electric vehicles. So far, however, few bikes have managed large production numbers, but among those Zero has perhaps done best. Yeah, there’s no engine, but this “motorcycle” preserves the all-important rider interface via agreeable handlebar, seat, and peg positions, making it a joy to ride instead of forcing the rider to adapt to the bike. Do we think the Zero SR/F is beautiful? Not especially! But per the German term “Bauhaus,” which generally embraces minimalism and “form follows function” modernism, it’s a stunner.

A pretty good example of the minimalist ethos of “form follows function,” the Zero SR/F combines decent aesthetics with a beautiful rider experience.
A pretty good example of the minimalist ethos of “form follows function,” the Zero SR/F combines decent aesthetics with a beautiful rider experience.Zero Motorcycles


2020 Indian FTR 1200 S

Like a certain magazine centerfold, we can’t stop looking at the Indian FTR 1200 S. A marriage of V-twin muscle, low-slung power-cruiser stance, and a heaping dose of flat-track racer, this new model from the rebooted Indian brand also partly channels century-old boardtrack racers to stylistically knock other cruisers over the hay bales and off the track. For Harley, whose KR750s and XR750s once dominated on racetracks and also visually, the FTR 1200 S is a punch in the eye, reminiscent of Henry Ford II’s knockout blow to Enzo Ferrari at Le Mans. Agile and taut lines, purposeful and muscular where it needs to be, and lean everywhere else, the FTR 1200 S is that same KO punch.

A century past the original Springfield, Massachusetts-built Indian racers shredding wood on banked boardtracks, the FTR 1200 S offers equally gripping appearance: long, low, and purposeful.
A century past the original Springfield, Massachusetts-built Indian racers shredding wood on banked boardtracks, the FTR 1200 S offers equally gripping appearance: long, low, and purposeful.Indian Motorcycle


2020 Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX SE+

It is a peculiarly American mindset that touring bikes must be as big, tall, and bulky as Conestoga wagons, which were probably the original American touring vehicle. European countries, and the tiny islands of Japan, certainly don’t see things that way. As a result, we think an evolved version of touring, Kawasaki’s Ninja H2 SX SE+, is an exciting proposition. Its 130,000-rpm supercharger-fed engine, sportbike profile, fuller-coverage windshield, stylized accessory hard bags, and athletic sport-touring riding position make it both visually and physically sensational. Accordingly, its dynamic bandwidth is so much broader than a typical touring sled’s too. Go-go Gadget!

Supercharged, windswept, and finished in Candy Flat Blazed Green, to normal tourers Kawasaki’s Ninja H2 SX SE+ is like the Tesla Cybertruck is to pickups—pure, glorious overkill.
Supercharged, windswept, and finished in Candy Flat Blazed Green, to normal tourers Kawasaki’s Ninja H2 SX SE+ is like the Tesla Cybertruck is to pickups—pure, glorious overkill.Kawasaki USA


2020 Honda Monkey

Fifty years ago, Honda’s “Mini Trail“ name aptly described the original 50cc Trail 50. It was a pocket-size bike with folding handlebars, a three-speed gearbox, and a headlight and taillight. Although street legal, most Trail 50s probably plied backyards, dirt lots, or campgrounds instead. Fast-forward to the Monkey and the name once again describes perfectly what this little bike’s supposed to do: monkey around. Despite its 2-1/2-times larger 125cc fuel-injected engine and disc brakes, Honda managed to capture the look and soul of the beloved original Mini Trail. As a result, one look and you’re entranced by the ’60s and the promise of adventure when you step aboard. And then, it delivers. Perfect.

It took more than 50 years, but Honda harnessed the silly energy in The Monkees’ eponymous song by naming its little 125cc gadfly, well, Monkey. And delightfully, it fully looks the part.
It took more than 50 years, but Honda harnessed the silly energy in The Monkees’ eponymous song by naming its little 125cc gadfly, well, Monkey. And delightfully, it fully looks the part.Honda Motor


Segway segue into electric motorcycles

Segway, the makers of the ubiquitous personal mobility vehicle, are branching out into electric sport bikes with the help of Chinese company Ninebot.

They have released this video of their Apex sport bike on a Japanese racetrack.

The sound and speed of the bike certainly don’t impress. At one stage it shows the cockpit wth 81km/h showing on the dash. Hardly inspiring!Segway Apex electric motorcycle

It also doesn’t look like it handles all that well with the rider not really leaning it over very far, a twitchy steering and a jerky change of direction.

Or perhaps they just needed a proper racer who knows the apex of a corner; as ironic as that is for a bike called Apex!Segway Apex electric motorcycle

But we are sure it will accelerate rapidly as most electric motorcycles do.

There are no tech specs available yet, but we only have to wait until it is unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show on 7 January, 2020.

Racing Segway?Segway Apex electric motorcycle

Is this “racey” video also a segue into plans to go racing?

Italian electric motorcycle Energica currently has the contract to supply bikes for the FIM Moto-e World Cup which runs as a support event at select MotoGP rounds around the world. 

Energica MotoE
Energica MotoE race bike

The Energica race bikes have 110kW of power, 200Nm of torque and go from 0 to 100km/h in three seconds with a top speed of 250km/h.

Their Ego and Eva street bikes now have 400km of range.

Segway and Ninebot already have a working relationship to make electric scooters and bikes and have a store in Milton, Brisbane, and an Australian online shop and Facebook page. 


Finally got the opportunity to catch up with me Gypsy mate Jase from the GypsyTales Podcast. You can listen to us yarn about heap of different topics in the link below! Thanks for having me and I hope everyone enjoys 👍🏻

Finally got the opportunity to catch up with me Gypsy mate Jase from the GypsyTales Podcast. You can listen to us yarn about heap of different topics in the link below! Thanks for having me and I hope everyone enjoys 👍🏻

Source: Jack Miller on Facebook

Mick Doohan’s 1994 Honda NSR500 GP bike

1994 Honda NSR500 GP
Mick Doohan

With Phil Aynsley

I made reference in a recent column (Eddie Lawson’s 1989 NSR500 | With Phil Aynsley – link) to the fact that there are extremely few Honda NSR500 motorcycles outside the factory.

Honda NSR Doohan ImagePA
Mick Doohan 1994 NSR500 racer

Undoubtedly the largest number in private hands are Mick Doohan’s five World Championship winning bikes.

Honda NSR Doohan ImagePA
Mick Doohan 1994 NSR500 racer
Honda NSR Doohan ImagePA
Mick Doohan 1994 NSR500 racer exhausts

I was lucky enough to be able to spend a day photographing a couple of these recently.

Honda NSR Doohan ImagePA
Mick Doohan 1994 NSR500 racer front brakes
Honda NSR Doohan ImagePA
Mick Doohan 1994 NSR500 racer dash

I started with his first, the 1994 bike. It continued to use the “big bang” firing order motor that had been introduced in 1992.

Honda NSR Doohan ImagePA
The 1994 NSR500 retained the big-bang firing order
Honda NSR Doohan ImagePA
The big-bang engine was found to help traction, torque and acceleration

This had all four cylinders firing within about 70 degrees of each other. Torque, traction and acceleration had all been markedly improved with this design, as was the overall ease of use.

Honda NSR Doohan ImagePA
Mick Doohan 1994 NSR500 racer
Honda NSR Doohan ImagePA
Mick Doohan 1994 NSR500 racer

A heavier balance shaft (originally introduced when the cylinder angle had been increased from 90 to 112 degrees back in 1987) also helped ridability.

Honda NSR Doohan ImagePA
Fuel injected was tested on Shinichi Itoh’s bike but did not offer enough gains to be adopted
Honda NSR Doohan ImagePA
A water-injection system to cool the exhausts was also tested

As an aside during 1993 Honda experimented with electronic fuel injection on Shinichi Itoh’s bikes but it was deemed not enough of an advance over the standard carburettors to warrant continuing with.

Honda NSR Doohan ImagePA
Mick Doohan 1994 NSR500 racer
Honda NSR Doohan ImagePA
Mick Doohan 1994 NSR500 racer

One interesting feature that was introduced during 1994 was water-injection into the exhausts.

Honda NSR Doohan ImagePA
Mick Doohan 1994 NSR500 racer
Honda NSR Doohan ImagePA
Mick Doohan 1994 NSR500 racer

The cooling effect and resultant lowering of the gas speed gave an increase of 10 hp in the 6000 to 10,000 rpm range.

Honda NSR Doohan ImagePA
Mick Doohan 1994 NSR500 racer
Honda NSR Doohan ImagePA
Mick Doohan 1994 NSR500 racer

Mick chose to use the normal motor however as the carburation was compromised by the injection.

Honda NSR Doohan ImagePA
Mick Doohan 1994 NSR500 racer
Honda NSR Doohan ImagePA
Mick Doohan 1994 NSR500 racer


Benelli 650S Tornado

With Phil Aynsley

Benelli’s 650 Tornado is an often overlooked motorcycle. It suffered from being late to market after a three-year development period. As a result it found itself up against the likes of the Honda CB750 and Kawasaki H1 rather than the Triumph/BSA/Norton 650cc twins it was originally aiming at.

Benelli Tornado PA BenelliS
The Benelli 650S Tornado can be accused of coming just a little too late

It was first shown, in prototype form, at the 1967 Milan Show but it wasn’t until 1970 that the first production model went on sale in its main intended market, the USA. European deliveries started the following year.

Benelli Tornado PA BenelliS
A three-year delay from the Milan reveal meant the bike came up against the CB750 and H1

Originally intended to be a 350cc, it was soon changed to a 650. The motor was designed by Piero Prampolini (who created Benelli’s successful horizontal singles) and Luigi Benelli penned the double-cradle frame.

Benelli Tornado PA BenelliS
The Tornado 650S was originally to be a 350 but was aimed at the American market

The first version (just the ‘650’) suffered from the lack of an electric starter and engine vibration above 4000 rpm. Power from the very over square motor (84×58 mm) 360º twin was a claimed 50 hp at 7400 rpm, giving a top speed of 176 km/h.

Benelli Tornado PA BenelliS
The first version also lacked an electric start which would be added later

With the transfer of the company to Alejandro De Tomaso in 1972 Prampolini redesigned the bike (now the 650S) to add a Bosch electric starter behind the cylinders (formally the place of the alternator), rebalanced crankshaft, increased compression, revised gear ratios, new exhaust system, new instrumentation and revised graphics. Power was increased to 52 hp and claimed top speed to 190 km/h. The bike seen here is an original, unrestored 650S.

Benelli Tornado PA BenelliS
The bike saw heavy updates in 1972

Benelli Tornado PA BenelliS
This coincided with the transfer of the company to Alejandro De Tomaso

The final S2 version appeared in 1973 and featured improved low end torque and increased rubber mounting of various components such as the handlebars and foot pegs.

Benelli Tornado PA BenelliS
Benelli 650S Tornado

A clear handlebar fairing, long humped seat and revised graphics including black engine side cases completed the makeover. Altogether about 3000 of all versions were built.

Benelli Tornado PA BenelliS
Benelli 650S Tornado

Benelli Tornado PA BenelliS
Benelli 650S Tornado

Benelli Tornado PA BenelliS
Benelli 650S Tornado

Benelli Tornado PA BenelliS
Benelli 650S Tornado


Around the world with The Bear | Part Seven | Nepal & India

Around the world with The Bear – Part Seven

The King of Every Kingdom – Around the world on a very small motorcycle

With J. Peter “The Bear” Thoeming

We left our heroes last week as they readied to fly out of Bangkok in Part 6. Will Nepal welcome them with open arms?


I enjoy flying with Thai, not only for the free scotch and champagne but also for the friendly cabin crews. We had a relaxing trip and arrived at Tribhuvan Airport in Kathmandu in good shape, where I discovered that I had not only packed my ticket in the pannier but my passport photos as well. The pleasant Immigration man shrugged, waived the requirement of a photo for the Nepalese visa and let me through.

The Bear Around The World Part QuoteAn amiable three-hour wrangle with Customs followed about the bikes. They finally accepted our Carnets and we were free to pick up the machines. ‘Pick up’ was right, too. Our carefully constructed pallets had disintegrated and the bikes were on their sides, Charlie’s leaking acid from the battery.

A friendly bystander brought us back a gallon of petrol from town and we wobbled off on near-empty tyres looking for a service station. We finally found air at a tyre shop. Service stations don’t stock it in Nepal.

Which reminds me, don’t ever ask for air in Malaysia when you want air. Air means water. So the Malaysian air force is actually the navy. True! Would I lie to you?

Around the world with The Bear Peter Thoeming Part
Some Nepalese roads are better, some are worse.

Once in Kathmandu, we parked in Freak Street and looked for accommodation where the bikes could be parked off the road. A young Australian woman, a computer programmer turned trekking guide, recommended the Blue Angel. Being Marlene Dietrich fans, we checked in there. It was roomy and clean and had a carport where the bikes could be chained up.

Despite being one of the most unsanitary collections of buildings in the world, Kathmandu is a comfortable, relaxed town. It’s fashionable to think that all places are spoilt in time, but Kathmandu seemed better to me in 1978 than it had in 1970, when I’d last been there: fewer out-and-out derelict hippies, apparently less hard drug usage and a less frenetic street life, but all the little chai bars and restaurants were still playing Dark Side of the Moon.

I introduced Charlie to the peculiar Nepalese idea of European cuisine. We ate things like mashed potatoes with mushroom sauce, buffalo steak, lemon pancakes like citrus-flavoured inner tubes and cast-iron fruit pies. Not as bad as it sounds, actually.

Gives your jaws a workout and it’s bound to be healthy. Restaurants with names like Hungry Eye, New Glory, Krishna’s and Chai ‘n’ Pie still abound. The New Eden reminded me of an exchange I’d listened to in there a few years back:

American voice No. 1, in front of counter: “Ah, how much are the cakes, man?”

American voice No. 2, behind counter: “Chocolate two rupees, banana two rupees, hash one rupee.”

No. 1: “Ah . . . how come the hash cakes are cheaper than banana cakes, man?”

No. 2: “Because hash is cheaper than bananas.”

One morning we got up very early to ride out to Nagarkot, a hill station near Kathmandu. We had hoped to get there before the mists rolled in and hid the Himalayas, but I got lost on the way, and all we saw was an enormous wall of cloud with Everest somewhere in the middle. Other daytrips went to Bodnath, the monkey temple; to the giant stupa at Swayambu; and to the river temples at Dashinkali.

Around the world with The Bear Peter Thoeming Part
The mountains are ever present no matter where you are in Nepal.

We also ‘conquered’ Pulchwoki, a 9050-foot hill behind town, on the bikes, travelling on a 14km dirt road up to the top. Wherever we went in the countryside, the sealed roads were covered in freshly harvested grain sheaves. The locals thresh in the simplest way possible—by letting the traffic run over it.

There was a bike shop near the Blue Angel. I peered in one day and was invited to inspect the premises. The tools consisted of a screwdriver and a complete set of shifting spanners.

We secured visa extensions and took off for Pokhara, Nepal’s second city. The road was awful, more potholes than tar, until we passed the turn-off to Birganj and thence India.

After that it improved dramatically and was serviceable even despite the occasional mud slide or washaway. It was built by the Chinese and follows the shoulders of the river valleys over three low passes until it gets to the plateau that holds Pokhara. Charlie went off trekking, walking up in the mountains along the paths that serve the local people as roads.

I checked in at a small, two-storey mud hotel and took it easy, bartering with the Tibetan pedlars, reading and writing. Tibetans are magnificent-looking people, like idealized Red Indians. They also have a great sense of humour. Or seem to, anyway.

Around the world with The Bear Peter Thoeming Part
The grain in the middle of the road is being threshed by the tyres of passing traffic.

I couldn’t understand their jokes, being totally ignorant of Tibetan, but their laughter was nice and inclusive and I never felt as if they were laughing at me. Could have been wrong about that, of course…

Being a little worried about drinking the water, I asked for a glass of boiled water at the hotel. I got it, too. A glass of boiling water—not quite what I’d intended, since I wanted to drink it. After that, I collected water from the roof during the frequent thunderstorms.

The family running the hotel was very kind and kept offering me places in the buffalo stall for the bikes. I didn’t think that was really safe; those buffs might have been good-tempered enough but they were also enormous. The thought of one of them sitting on or leaning against a bike was a bit worrying.

Pokhara itself is a long, narrow town as yet little touched by modernisation. At one end it runs through large mango trees down to Lake Phewa, where the small hotels and shops catering for Europeans are.

Around the world with The Bear Peter Thoeming Part
Our landlady’s young son was absolutely stoked to wear my helmet.

My shoulder was finally recovering, even though the torn muscles were still sore, and I just wandered around quietly. There was a lot to photograph, from the farmers arriving at the lakeshore in their dugout canoes to Machupuchare and the Annapurnas lifting their peaks high in the clear morning air.

It’s easier to see the mountains from Pokhara because the town is higher than Kathmandu, although you can’t see Everest, which is too far away.

Charlie returned refreshed by his days in the mountains, and we took to the Siddhartha Highway, heading down to India. Nepalese friends had warned us that the road was ‘not very good’: built by the Indian government, they shrugged.

How right they were. The road is a nightmare of once-tarred dirt and gravel, but the scenery is superb—I think it is, anyway. As we came down through the deep river gorges, I wasn’t often game enough to take my eyes off the road to admire it. Might want to go back there some time, like when I think it’s time to shuffle off this mortal coil.


The Nepalese customs man glanced at the souvenirs we’d bought and asked, ‘Where’s the hash?’ with a grin and waved us through. We had donned our safari suits and the Indians were duly impressed; nobody asked for driving licenses, insurance, vaccination cards or anything else except our passports—we were through in minutes.

As we rode along shaded by great mango trees we diced with the traffic as far as Gorakhpur. Indian roads are alive with every kind of human, animal and motor powered transport imaginable. The truck drivers, being Sikhs, are pretty well unbluffable and all else moves too slowly to be worth bluffing.

The Standard Hotel provided a welcome cool room. A gentleman I took to be the owner insisted on buying us breakfast next morning and involved us in a political discussion. It was his theory that Indians are so keen on politics because they can’t afford any other kind of entertainment— politics is free. It also uses relatively few calories.

The Bear Around The World Part QuoteWe passed a funeral on the road that morning, the body wrapped in gold brocade from head to toe—a rather sad display of affluence among the drabness and obvious poverty. But each to his own. If you gotta go, go in gold brocade!

In Ghazipur we had intended to change some money, and consequently went looking for the bank. Despite repeated sets of directions, we couldn’t find it. Eventually someone took us right to the door. We’d been past it several times, but there was no indication that it was a bank. It looked like army barracks.

Around the world with The Bear Peter Thoeming Part
India, with the erotic carvings of Khajuraho.

It might just as well have been one, too; they would only accept US dollars, which we didn’t have. Not even Sterling, and this in the land that remembers the Raj so fondly! We revised the name of the town, in our minds at least, to Khazipur and left. “Khazi”, I understand from a British ex-soldier friend, is British Army slang for toilet.

On into the increasingly hot day to Varanasi, where one of the banks had a ‘late branch’ in a hotel. We spotted a sign saying ‘cold beer’ just outside, and Charlie was dispatched to investigate while I changed money. Not much luck for either of us.

The bank clerk tried to give me rupees for $40 instead of the £40 I’d given him and turned quite nasty when I pointed out the ‘slight’ discrepancy, and Charlie discovered that the beer shop hadn’t had an ice delivery for a couple of days and all the beer was warm.

Next installment, discover why tea is not the ideal go-to drink when you can’t get cold beer!