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KTM 2014 Offroad Team Announcement
2014 Factory FMF/KTM Team Announced
It seems that there are no real surprises here. It already looked like Taylor Robert was going to join the team. I believe he tested with KTM this past Monday. On Tuesday he posted his Kawasaki’s for sale, making the move pretty obvious. Grant Baylor and Russell Bobbitt are the two most obvious riders who did not get spots on the team. No word yet if either will end up at Husky with Mike Brown.
It is a little unclear if there will be any other race series for the team riders to contest. KTM has followed a “two series” plan for every rider for the last couple of years. I was expecting that the team would drop their Baja effort and perhaps return to WORCS were both Ramirez and Robert left as champions. I know Taylor would like to do more extreme enduros too. We will have to wait and see. – Chilly
KTM announced the 2014 team line-up for the Factory FMF/KTM Offroad Racing Team, including: Steward Baylor, Mike Lafferty, Kacy Martinez, Charlie Mullins, Kailub Russell, Ivan Ramirez and Taylor Robert.
The seven-rider team will contest multiple national offroad series. Baylor, who sat out most of the 2013 season healing from a wrist injury, will return to the AMA National Enduro and GNCC Series for 2014. Baylor is seeking his second national championship in the National Enduro Series and will be competing in his first full-season in the GNCC XC1 class.
Lafferty will return to the Factory FMF/KTM Team for his final year of racing. 2014 will mark Lafferty’s 20th year racing professionally and he has announced that it will be his final year racing full-time. The 8-time National Enduro Champion is currently tied with Dick Burleson for the record amount of National Enduro championships and he will be looking to break that record in his final season.
Mullins has signed a three-year contract with the KTM team. The reigning AMA National Enduro Champion will return to the series to defend his title. Mullins was dominant in that series last season and is looking to hang on to his number one plate. Mullins, who finished 2nd in the GNCC XC1 Series to his teammate Russell, will return to the GNCC Series in 2014 with greater motivation to win. “Kailub and I battled the whole season last year and I plan to challenge him even more next season. No racer likes to get second and I am going to do my part to make sure I am in the championship hunt this next season,” remarked Mullins.
Mullins main competitor, Russell, has also signed a three-year contract with the Factory FMF/KTM Team. For 2014, he will defend his title in the GNCC XC1 Series. “I made some changes to my program last year that helped me as we neared the end of the season. It felt great to get my first XC1 championship and now I am determined to stay on top. I am looking forward to an exciting season,” stated Russell.
In the Women’s GNCC class, fans will see Kacy Martinez step up to the Factory team truck replacing four-time GNCC Champion Maria Forsberg. Martinez proved she has what it takes to place at the top of the podium, winning two races last season. The multi-time WORCS Women’s Champion is looking to compete for her first GNCC title.
On the west coast, KTM has Ramirez and Robert. Ramirez will contest the AMA National Hare & Hound Series where he finished 4th overall this past season. “Last year was my first full-time year in the series. I love desert racing, so I am really looking forward to returning to that series. I learned a lot from my friend Kurt Caselli and I am hoping to take what he has taught me and go after my first title in that series,” mentioned Ramirez.
The newest face to the Factory FMF/KTM Team is Taylor Robert. A former WORCS Champion and the 2013 ISDE Top American, Robert is excited about the switch to the KTM brand. Like Mullins and Russell, Robert has also signed a three-year contract with the factory team. He will compete on the 350 XC-F in the EnduroCross Series. Robert is excited for his debut on the team, commenting “It is an honor to race for the KTM team. I know they have a history of winning offroad championships and I am hoping to give them some more. I am thankful for the opportunity and excited to showcase the product in the EnduroCross Series and in the ISDE next season.”
“We lost a great leader in our team with the passing of Kurt Caselli, and it is our goal, to continue to do what he has taught us to do, which is to continue to improve each season to reach new goals and championships,” stated Factory FMF/KTM Team Manager Antti Kallonen.
He continued, “We’ve always had a team of great riders and this year is no exception. The 2013 season was very successful and it is never easy to repeat that success but with our group of riders, mechanics and team staff I know we have what it takes to defend current titles and go after new ones.”