Last weekend I travelled out to the KTM Factory in Mattighofen, Austria to present a painting, celebrating 12 FIM World Titles in 2012, to CEO Mr. Pierer at their annual Christmas party infront of over 1500 workers, management, dealers and sponsored riders!
Flying out from Birmingham to Munich on Monarch Air’s new service route was great, budget prices, but only 15 people on an Airbus A380, felt like it was your own personal jet.
Arriving in Munich my good luck continued as I was able to get a rental car upgrade to a new Mini Countryman, equipped with Sat Nav. and winter tyres, which came in useful as the temperature was -8c as I travelled the twisty 2 hour drive to Mattighofen in the dark, finally arriving at my Gasthous just after 10pm.
In the morning I checked in with Marlene Hoffman, PA to Pit Bierer who suggested I go visit the superb Xmas market in Salzburg, home to Mozart and the Sound of Music.
Christmas market in Salzburg
Salzburg really is a fascinating city, nestled beneath the imposing castle, surrounded by jagged alpine mountains. The market was busy selling Christmas decorations, trees and many stalls offering warm Gluwein, crepes etc.
Salzburg Castle with giant Xmas tree decoration
The Catholic Church has some fantastic fresco’s in the dome, which had to be re-built after an allied bombing raid in 1944.
Ceiling of Catholic Church.
There were large queques for the Mozart Museum but just down the street was Red Bull World, the brand’s only retail store worldwide selling high end Red Bull clothing. It was a motorsport fans fantasy grotto with Vettel’s F1 car and Roczen’s championship winning KTM 250 SXF amongst the display’s. If you fancy any of the clothing, make sure you have deep pockets!
Red Bull World, their only retail shop worldwide!
It was a short 25 mile drive back to Mattighofen to check out the KTM clothing retail store @ the factory. KTM factories dominate the town of Mantighofen’s industrial area
KTM Main Factory in Mattighofen.
Further up the road lies their spares & despatch factory. (Photo taken on mobile phone)
KTM’s Factory Racing building is now situated approx 3 miles up the road in Munderfing, next to the new engine plant and nearby a massive White Power Suspension factory, also owned by KTM.
WP Suspension factory.
At KTM Factory Racing, from where all KTM’s motorsport’s worldwide activities are co-ordinated I met up with Marlene Hofmann, PA to Pit Bierer to unveil the painting which had safely made it unscathed. In reception there is a massive wall mural celebrating their titles up to 2011, guess they will have to update it shortly!
Mural in KTM reception.
Chatting to Marlene & assistant Steffi I was offered the chance to have a quick tour of the facilities and view the 4 seperate workshops for Motocross, Road race, Rally and Enduro. I asked,”would it be okay to take photograph’s?” they said yes as long as I didn’t take pictures of disassembled bikes or any engines in pieces…………..gotta keep something’s secret!
First was the Road Race dept with Moto 3 World champion Sandro Cortese’s winning KTM displayed. First thing that strikes you is how small, compact the bike is, compared to a motocross bike.
Sandro Cortese’s Moto 3 bike
Lined up against a wall were the Red Bull Rookie Cup bikes which were up for sale!
In the Motocross workshops Jeffrey Herlings KTM SX250F looked rather lost as many of the other team bikes had been out dyno testing new fuel mapping and quieter exhausts from Akropovic.
Herlings works bike
Detail on Herlings bike
Trophies in the Enduro workshop.
Rally and enduro bikes await preperation.
It was now time to head down to the main factory to set up the painting presentation, brief riders and staff on timings etc.
Entrance to party with all title winning bikes displayed. Naturally it’s an Orange carpet for the guests!
What was most impressive was a banner, at least 100 metres long with every title & rider named, going back to the first ever championships of Gernady Moisevv and Heinz Kinigadner. Guess they will have to add another 12 metres for their 2012 success’s!
Preperations were well underway laying out the tables for the 1500 guests and setting up the stage.
The evening’s festivities would start with a champagne reception, guests would be seated, then CEO Mr Pierer would address the crowd, explain KTM’s success’s this year and discuss emerging worldwide markets. In 2012 they sold 127,000 bikes worldwide and are targeting to produce 200,000 bikes by 2017. Every detail is planned to perfection, market share, growth targets in market segment’s such as off-road, road and motocross plus the massive clothing and accessory market. Seeing the factory, the passion of the staff made me fully realise just how big a “world player” KTM have become in every segment! The talk was preceeded by the production director firing up their newest 1290cc road bike, the deep throaty roar was loudly applauded by everyone!
KTM’s new 1290cc road bike, sounds awesome!
Watching the presentation with motocross legend Stefan Everts.
Following loyalty awards to long serving staff, the stage was handed over to Motorsport Director Pit Pierer and ambassador Heinz Kinigadner to interview each of the 12 World champions and present each rider with a memorial trophy from KTM. Sadly motocross champions Antonio Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings were absent, as was the injured Taddy Blazusiak, but a full compliment of Enduro riders, the very popular MX3 Champion & Austrian homeboy Matthius Walkner and Moto 3 World Road race champion Sandro Cortese more than made up for it!
Together with Heinz Kinigadner we unveil the painting to Mr Pierer on the large TV screens.
Presentation to Mr Pierer.
Group photo with Stefan Everts, Pit Bierer, Mr Pierer, riders and Heinz Kinigadner at presentation.
Artist Rob Kinsey with Moto 3 World Champion Sandro Cortese.
KTM Painting celebrating 12 FIM & AMA titles in 2012.
Dakar winner Cyril Despres.
Following press photo’s and TV interviews it was time to eat and what a spread was laid on. Free beer and wine was provided thoughout the night and a seperate bar for serious drinkers, Jagerbomb’s etc. Top tip, if you ever get invited to KTM’s Christmas party take a pocket full of flat steel M6 washers!. You had to pre-buy tokens for drinks and the partgoers soon exhausted the stash of tokens, so the bar staff improvised with washers as tokens! Spent the night chatting to legend Stefan Everts, drinking with the motorsport staff, Pit Bierer, Valentina Ragni, Robert Jonus, Fabio Fariolli and all the riders. Cyril Despres was “on the wagon”, sipping water and a few glasses of red wine with the 2013 Dakar soon to start. Sadly AMA Outdoor champion Ryan Dungey couldn’t make it with Anaheim SX also fast approaching. However there was the new KTM 450cc Dungey Replica centre stage, looking good in the new Blue/Orange livery that every motorsport dept will run next season.
Ryan Dungey replica
Bearing in mind I had to get up at 6am to drive back to Munich to catch a 10am flight, I shared just a couple of beers, toasted KTM’s success which I’m sure will continue growing in 2013 and onwards.
Partying with Stefan Everts.