2014 Red Bull KTM Factory Riders at DakarWith the untimely death of its factory rider Kurt Caselli at this year’s Baja 1000, KTM Racing is spending much time coming to terms with the tragedy.
As part of consoling, KTM Racing is looking to provide the Austrian manufacturer with “stability during the Dakar.” And as part of this stability, KTM Racing has signed Spanish rider Jordi Villadoms to the Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team for the 2014 Dakar.The late-entry rider, who rode for KTM from 2006 through 2010, will be the support rider for three-time Dakar winner Marc Coma. The 33-year-old Villadoms’ best finish at Dakar was fourth overall in 2012.Speaking of the signing, KTM Racing Team Manager Alex Doringer says “we are very aware that no-one is able to replace Kurt, who was a special friend and teammate, but we believe that what we need now for the team is stability.“Jordi has worked with us in the past and he has a lot of Dakar experience. This experience he has, along with the familiarity with the team, will help us during this difficult transition period.”Villadoms said he was looking forward to riding again for the KTM Factory team. “It’s obviously a shame to be inheriting the ride under such sad circumstances, but I’ll be doing my best to put on a good show in Kurt’s memory,” Doringer said.Joining Coma and Villadoms in the team for the 2014 edition of the Dakar are Portugal’s Ruben Faria and Francisco ‘Chaleco’ Lopez of Chile. They will be competing on the latest edition of the KTM 450 Factory Rally bike, which has been re-designed from the ground up, as the team attempts to capture another Dakar victory, KTM reports.KTM has won the Dakar every year since their breakthrough year in 2001, except for 2008 when it was cancelled at the last minute because of security issues in Northern Africa.The Dakar Rally starts on Jan. 5, 2014 and this year takes riders through Argentina, north into Bolivia and then down into Chile where it concludes at Valparaiso on Jan. 18, 2014.
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.