KTM officially announced that they plan to contest the entire Baja series next year. Everyone was disappointed that they chose to sit out the 2011 Baja 1000 event, but no major sponsor could be found to back the effort. While a few of the details are still speculation, here is what we have pieced together so far.
Riders– The expected rider line up will be Kurt Caselli, Ivan Ramirez and Mike Brown. Kurt is KTM’s golden boy, after his romp through the National Hare & Hound series this year, Baja is the next obvious step. Ensenada native Ivan Ramirez is probably as fast as any other rider in Baja right now. His speed at the Baja 500 puts him right there with the best of the JCR Honda riders.
The third rider is expected to be Mike Brown, who would obviously be a bit of a wild card. But Mike has really proved his versatility since he joined KTM to be a full-time offroader. Word is that Ivan and Brownie are headed to Mexico next week for a little testing. It makes good sense, Ivan can guide Mike around and show him some of the terrain of the upcoming Baja 1000, kind of like prerunning.
Bike- Ok, here is the strange part. By now everyone has seen the new XC-W line up with the all new fuel injected motor. Then KTM shocked the world with a new mxer for Dungey to ride based on the same motor. Now the word is that the Baja bike will be based on the current Dakar Rally bike. While KTM still refuses to even officially recognize this motor. It is based on the current 450SX-F design, but with a different bottom end, charging system and cases.
So instead of campaigning the newest fuel injected, single cam motor, the Baja effort will be with the twin cam, carb motor. I suspect that there may still be some questions about how bullet proof fuel injection is for endurance racing. This will be in the current linkage SX-F frame, not the trellis rally frame. From what I hear KTM has lots of faith in this set up, having used it in rally racing for a couple of years now.
I expect that a major sponsor will also be announced. Red Bull seems the most likely candidate. I would also assume that FMF will be along also, Don Emler always wants to be part of any Baja plans.
So that is the scoop for now, as always if there are any new updates, you can find them first here at Enduro360.