Posts Tagged ‘FIM’

It’s been 14 years since a British rider, Jamie Dobb captured our last World title after a titanic struggle against injury claiming the 125cc World Title for KTM, after the glory years of Graham Noyce, Neil Hudson and Dave Thorpe though-out the 70’s and 80’s.

However one British artist, Rob Kinsey has made his way to the top in the world of Motocross art  through hard work and determination. Rob’s work adorns the walls of Youthstream’s Geneva Headquarters, CEO Stefan Pierer’s office at KTM Austria and is in high demand from clients such as Honda Europe, KTM and many team owners and private collectors worldwide, but just how did the 58 year old Brit. rise to the top?

 Rob, you seem to have been around motocross for many years in different roles, how did it all start?

Our family moved up from Crewe Cheshire in 1968, when my parents bought a garage just north of Kendal, Cumbria. My uncle Jack gave me his old DOT 197cc bike and my dad, Fred, who had worked at Rolls Royce in the design dept. explained how to get it going. After that we started schoolboy scrambling, racing against Noycey and Neil Hudson and progressed up in to the adults, racing Montesa’s for Paul Ludlam M/c. I then got a good deal on a Maico 440cc in 1978 and had a great year winning Yorkshire GN, second in supports at Hants Grand International at Matchams etc.

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Rob Kinsey leading Don Brockbank, Hutton Conyers, Ripon, 1978

During this time I was studying Technical Illustration at Blackpool Art College, learning all aspects of art and how to do cutaway illustrations of engines, parts diagrams etc. These were drawn by hand using ellipse templates, Rotring technical pens etc  All of my college projects were motocross based and I approached TMX News, whose editor Bill Lawless gave me my first break, publishing a series of 3 centre page drawings of Graham Noyce, Neil Hudson and trials rider Nigel Birkett.

Illustation of Graham Noyce and his Honda in TMX News

Illustration of Graham Noyce and his Honda in TMX News

How come you didn’t continue with TMX News?

Back then the print industry was heavily unionised and I wasn’t a member of the N.U.J.(National Union of Journalists).   The in-house graphic designer at TMX complained to Bill Lawless who didn’t want to upset the apple-cart at their offices in Morecambe.

What did you do after graduating?:

I worked for a couple of studio’s in Manchester, but soon became tired of doing repetitous parts illustrations, for companies like David Brown Tractors, so I moved into sales of art materials, then onto Dunlop Motorcycle tyres and also several bicycle companies such as Muddy Fox and Dawes.

Were you still involved in motocross?:

Yes, after a brilliant holiday to California and seeing Supercross in San Diego for the first time , I came back and formed my own company Stadium Motorsports Promotions Ltd. I was also in contact with US Supercross founder Mike Goodwin and arranged meetings for us at Wembley Stadium and also represented Goodwin and his Stadium Motorsports Corp at the 1984 FIM Congress in Munich. We were awarded 2 rounds of the inaugural World Supercross Series in 1985, The Rodil Cup at WembleyStadium, London and the La Coliseum.

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L/R: Mike Goodwin, John Davis of Wembley, Rob Kinsey and John Garner Controller of sport Wembley Stadium.

What happened to the Wembley event?:

We had contracts all signed with Stadium and backing for many of Goodwin’s US sponsors, Coca Cola, Wrangler and Honda, but it all fell apart when the ACU demanded a £10,000 sanction fee for Wembley. Goodwin’s exact words were: Fcuk that!, I can get LA Coliseum or Anaheim permit from the AMA for $2,000 US dollars and I know I will get 20 to 30,000 paying fans.  On the way back to drop Mike off at Heathrow airport, he offered me a good deal on his Supercross footage, so I formed Stadium Video Europe ltd, and had 7 great years distributing Supercross, AMA Motocross nationals and Rick Johnson instructional VHS videos throughout UK and Europe. Eventually the fledgling sports TV companies, such as Eurosport, BSkyB started buying up coverage, curtailing the home video market.

What next:?

In 1988 I started  Moto Travel organising package tours to Motocross des Nations and our big event was the Bercy Supercross in Paris. The first year we took 350 British fans to the event with 6 coaches and also chartered an aircraft for a VIP package. Looking back these were great times and I made £39,000 profit from that one event, a lot of money back then!  The second year we did the Paris event again trips to Namur and also the USA Experience Tour, 2 weeks in California with 25 guys taking in the Superbowl of Motocross and USGP.  We had some great years but the 80’s recession and downturn in the economy hit ticket sales.

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How did you get back into artwork?:

I’d been a sales manager for various bicycle and motorcycle companies, but became burnt out of the constant pressure to sell more, lonely hotel rooms, driving, mountains of reports, 70 hour working weeks etc. Recently re-married I discussed it with my wife Jo and decided to go back to my artwork and see if I could resurrect my career?  At the last minute I decided to drive down to the 2006 MXDN at Matterley Basin, Winchester, blagged my way in the press room and saw this exhibition of paintings by a French artist, the press, industry were all raving about! I thought,” I can do better than those” and encouraged by my old friend Davey Coombs I did two paintings of Jim Pomeroy and “Holeshot Unadilla”, featuring Chuck Sun. RacerX featured these on their website and named me “Artist of the Year” in their year end annual awards. The phone started ringing and several orders came in overnight from the USA.

Anthony Sutton of Dirt Bike Rider also gave us some great publicity at the International Dirt Bike Show.

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“Holeshot Unadilla” print featuring Chuck Sun #24.

We then set a target of the 2007 Motocross des Nations at Budds Creek, Maryland USA to launch Rob Kinsey Art, creating a body of original paintings and also limited edition giclee prints to exhibit.

Working flat out all summer, Rob created a body of work to exhibit as well as Limited Edition Giclee prints and enlisted the help of old friend Davey Coombs. We flew all the originals and prints out to RacerX offices in Morgantown, West Virginia and enlisted services of a local framer to frame several prints. My first exhibition was at the British MXGP at Donington Park, where Youthstream had agreed to display my work in the Press Office. I also had Chuck Sun flying in to race the Vets championship for CAS Honda. We got the paintings all displayed but there were problems with Chuck’s licence and entry. Rob was sat in Giuseppe Luongo’s office’s when he got a call from the hospital to say his mother Bet had died suddenly. The Ward Sister said there was nothing that would happen until after the bank holiday weekend, so stay at Donington and do the exhibition, it’s what your mum  would have wanted!

Paintings on display in Donington Press Office.

Paintings on display in Donnington Press Office.

Shocked with the news, Chuck Sun and friends rallied around and Rob made many great contacts that weekend and after organising the funeral, flew out to Washington DC, to visit the capital and meet up with his old friend Davey Coombs at RacerX offices in Morgantown, West Virginia, where he had shipped all his paintings and print stock.

Parking their hired motorhome up in RacerX carpark, Rob and Jo were given the tour to meet everyone and Davey gave him the keys to his Mercedes, saying he didn’t need it for rest of week, so go enjoy the sights of West Virginia. Customs import delays on paintings were sorted out, exhibition stand built and onward to Budds Creek Maryland for the 2007 Motocross of Nations.

Rob and Jo were then invited to a reception at the Belgian Embassy in Washington DC, to present Team Belgium to the world’s press and for Rob to present Roger DeCoster with one of his paintings.

Roger DeCoster painting presentation at Belgian Embassy.

Roger DeCoster painting presentation at Belgian Embassy.

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Artist Rob Kinsey and Roger discuss the painting on the lawn of the Belgian Embassy, Washington DC.

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Jo Kinsey attends to customers at the Budds Creek MXoN exhibition stand.

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Display of painting’s used for opening titles of RacerX video show each night of their MXoN coverage.

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We hosted Danny Maggo Chandler on our stand, selling his video’s and enabling him to meet his many fans!

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Jo Kinsey, Jeff Castina, Rob Kinsey and Chuck Sun enjoy the warm humid weather at Budds Creek.

The Budds Creek MXoN event was a great success, selling many prints and original paintings, launching Rob Kinsey Art into America, a big thanks to Davey Coombs and promoter Jonathon Beasley for all their help in making this happen!

The profile of Rob Kinsey Art now changed to more commissioned work of original art and less on the print sales. KTM Austria commissioned a painting of Tyla Rattrey to celebrate his 2008 MX2 World championship, presented at the Donnington Park MXoN in the Red Bull Hospitality suite.

Ryan Villopoto painting bought by his parents

Ryan Villopoto painting bought by his parents

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Artwork on display in Team USA pits, as the Supercross organisers Feld Ent. enjoy the hospitality.

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Giuseppe Luongo and Danny Magoo Chandler with the Chamberlain Trophy at Donnington Park.

The following year at the Motocross of Nations in Franciacorta Italy, Youthstream commissioned a painting and presented it to Ricky Johnson and they also paid for Danny Chandler to attend and threw a surprise birthday party for him Saturday night.

Giuseppe Luongo presents a painting of Maggiora 1986 to American legend Ricky Johnson.

Giuseppe Luongo presents a painting of Maggiora 1986 to American legend Ricky Johnson.

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Giuseppe sings Happy Birthday to Magoo and presents a Birthday cake. Sadly this would be Danny’s last visit to the MXDN, as he passed away the following May.

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To celebrate Mikka Ahola winning the Enduro World Championship, Honda Europe commissioned this painting of the “Flying Finn”!

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The following year he defended his title and Honda Racing manager Roger Harvey wanted something different, so commissioned this illustration which we etched onto Copper plate and presented to Mikka. Sadly Ahola was to lose his life in a freak training crash month’s later.

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Honda Europe also commissioned a painting of World Supersport champion Kenan Sofuoglu.

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Presentation at Honda Europe HQ to Kenan by Robert Masterson of Honda.

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I was commissioned by Alan Bott of Pemberton Tyres to paint Nick Haskell’s original photo of Georges Jobe jumping over Andre Malherbe at the 1984 Hawkstone Park 500cc GP, as Alan was in the crowd. Once completed, Alan upon hearing of Georges battle with Leukaemia, decided to give this original to Jobe. We flew to Belgium, met up with Georges at his house in Retinne and enjoyed a great afternoon and a few Jupiler beers together!

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Roger DeCoster with a painting to celebrate his many years as Team USA manager at Lommel 2012.

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Youthstream commissioned 3 painting for Lommel, Paul Malin, tribute to Roger DeCoster and Valadimir Gudkov of Invest trade bank of Russia.

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Roger DeCoster accepts his painting at Youthstream Awards evening.

In 2012 KTM Austria won 12 World titles across Motocross, Enduro, Rallye and Road racing. I was commissioned by Pit Bierer, Head of Motorsport to create a painting to be presented to Stefan Pierer at their Christmas party at the factory in Mantighofen Austria.

KTM riders celebrate 12 World titles with CEO Stefan Pierer at the factory.

KTM riders celebrate 12 World titles with CEO Stefan Pierer at the factory.

KTM Austria 12 world championships commission.

KTM Austria 12 world championships commission.

One of Rob’s biggest commission was to celebrate Giuseppe Luongo’s 30 years of promoting Motocross, at a party at the 2013 Italian MXGP at Maggiora, Italy. The canvas was 6ft x 2ft in size.

From top left malherbe, Jobe, Vekhonen, cairoli, Bayle, Omara , Stefan Everts, Bierer, Rick Johnson, Bailey, Villopoto, Thorpe, Geboers and Puzar. Portrait is of Giuseppe & Ursula Luongo of Youthstream.

Stefan Everts, Usulla & Giuseppe Luongo, Jean Michel Bayle, Alex Puzar  and artist Rob Kinsey at 30th Birthday party.Painting from top left Malherbe, Jobe, Vekhonen, Cairoli, Bayle, Omara , Stefan Everts, Bierer, Rick Johnson, Bailey, Villopoto, Thorpe, Geboers and Puzar. Centre Portrait of Giuseppe & Ursula Luongo of Youthstream.

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Maggiora track from restaurant at top of this classic venue.

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Outdoor pool at restaurant with track behind the hedge.

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To celebrate the life of Marty Moates, film producer Todd Huffman made a film of the his 1980 USGP victory and commissioned two paintings of Moates, which were auctioned at the film premier re at Spreckels Theatre in San Diego, California.

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Tom White owner of the Early Years of Motocross Museum  placed the winning bid for Marty’s painting.

In 2013 Youthstream commissioned a painting of 8 time World Champion Tony Carolli, whose father passed away that summer.

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tony cairoli comm in his home 3rd dec 2014

Painting in Tony’s villa near Rome.

Looking foward to 2016, Rob is working on a collection of paintings to celebrate the 30 years between 1986 MXDN at Maggiora and the upcoming 2016 race at this classic Italian venue. A healthy commission book reflects and enviable reputation Rob has built up as one of the world’s premier motor-sport artist’s.

After Moto 2, the 2015 MXoN was a two way battle between defending champions France and America, who were eager to repeat the success of Team USA at Ernee in 2005, when Ricky Carmichael, Kevin Windham and Ivan Tedesco won and started a win streak for America.

Inside the pits, team managers and staff were trying to work out the overall team scores which had France and America tied going into the all deciding final moto.

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The Monster girls took up their positions in front of the gate, whilst riders and mechanics prepared themselves.

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Start of Moto 3

Start of Moto 3, Sweden’s Filip Bengtson scores the Fox holeshot, chased by #67 ben Townley, #42 dean Ferris, #22 Evgeny Bobryshev and #3 Romain Febvre, #13 Max Nagel , #15 Dennis Ullrich and #7 Justin Barcia.

Mid-pack starts by both Justin Barcia and Jeremy Martin meant they would have to dig deep and pass many riders if they were to win!

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Ben Townley was on fire all weekend.

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Evgeny Bobryeshev #22 and Sweden’s Filip Bengtson #31 battle for their countries.

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Belgium’s Jeremy van Horebeek.

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#12 Dean Wilson Team GB chases #7 Justin Barcia.

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It didn’t take long before France’s Romain Febvre stormed into the lead!

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Australia’s Dean Ferris rode well and also confirmed he will be racing in Australia next season for Craid Dack’s team.

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Captain America Justin Barcia on his way through the pack.

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Febvre in front of his noisy and adoring home crowd.

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Ben Townley kept leader Romain Febvre on his toes.

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Ben Townley demonstrates how deep some of those ruts were!

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Portugal’s Hugo Basaula.

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Gautier Paulin was racing with a knee injury but still did enough for Team France to retain the Chamberlain Trophy.

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Scotland’s Dean Wilson rode well for Team GB and combined with Shaun Simpson’s results, all they would have needed was a decent result from injured Max Anstie to knock Belgium off the podium.

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Suzuki’s MXGP winner Glen Coldenhoff in one of his last rides before he joins the factory KTM Team for 2016.

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Romain Febvre winning both his moto’s topped what has been an incredible year for the young Frenchman.

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Can’t say enough about how well New Zealand’s Ben Townley rode, coming out of retirement to challenge for the win.

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Gautier Paulin, stylish as ever!

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If Justin Barcia #7 had managed to catch and pass #3 Gautier Paulin, the Chamberlain trophy would have been heading back stateside again!

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Cooper Webb rode really well for an MXoN rookie, just not quick enough to beat arch rival’s Team France on home soil.

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Barcia closes in on Paulin but couldn’t make the pass to snatch a Team USA victory.

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The French crowd light up resue flares to celebrate a historic victory

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Security guards quickly erect a fence to keep back the podium crowds. The noise was deafening.

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Team USA manager Roger DeCoster reflects what might have been…………………..

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At least Roger knew a short cut to make it up onto the Skybox podium in time.

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Jeremy Martin and staff struggle to find a way up to the podium.

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French legend JMB, Jean Michel Bayle congratulates Musquin and Paulin.

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Team France and manager atop the podium whilst Cooper Webb reflects what might have been………………..

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…..and the crowd went crazy, chain saws , flares and flags of all nations!

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Team France, deserved winners and retained the Chamberlain Trophy once more!

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The French crowd sing their National anthem!

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Ryan Villopoto checking out the crazy crowd.

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Champagne time…………………..

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As the media get their shot’s the crowd noise and excitement was intense!

So ended another great Motocross of Nations and the home crowd went home happy. Well done to all the riders, mechanics, organisers, FIM and Youthstream for producing such a great event you have to witness in person soon.

Roll on Maggiora 2016!……………..can’t wait to see how the Italian Tifosi celebrate this great event, the 30th anniversary of Team USA’s Dream team of David Bailey, Rick Johnson and Johnny O’Mara epic win back in 1986!

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.DSCN0193

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

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

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.

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!

Red Bull World, their only retail shop worldwide!

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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.

KTM Main Factory in Mattighofen.

Further up the road lies their spares & despatch factory. (Photo taken on mobile phone)

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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.

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Motorsport offices

Motorsport offices

WP Suspension factory.

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.

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

Sandro Cortese’s Moto 3 bike

Lined up against a wall were the Red Bull Rookie Cup bikes which were up for sale!

Red Bull Rookie bikes 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

Herlings works bike

Cairoli's workstation

Cairoli’s workstation

Detail on Herlings bike

Detail on Herlings bike

Trophies in the Enduro workshop.

Trophies in the Enduro workshop.

Rally and enduro bikes await preperation.

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!

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!

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Preperations were well underway laying out the tables for the 1500 guests and setting up the stage.

Party time!

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!

KTM’s new 1290cc road bike, sounds awesome!

Watching the presentation with motocross legend Stefan Everts.

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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.

Together with Heinz Kinigadner we unveil the painting to Mr Pierer on the large TV screens.

Presentation to Mr Pierer.

Presentation to Mr Pierer.

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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.

Artist Rob Kinsey with Moto 3 World Champion Sandro Cortese.

KTM Painting celebrating 12 FIM & AMA titles in 2012.

KTM Painting celebrating 12 FIM & AMA titles in 2012.

Dakar winner Cyril Despres.

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

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.

Partying with Stefan Everts.

I was recently invited to attend the 66th edition of the Motocross of Nations, held at Lommel Belgium over weekend of 29/30th Sept. 2012. My visit had two main agenda’s, one to deliver 3 large scale paintings commissioned by Youthstream for their gala awards evening and be part of the ceremony. Second was to again watch what has become “the event of the year, the annual Olympics of Team Motocross!.
I was joined by my brother in law Roger and his 13 year old son Joel, who was visiting a continental MXDN for the first time. We drove over in my motorhome, catching the overnight Hull/Rotterdam ferry, grabbing a few beers, meal and getting to sleep in an onboard cabin.

Driving onto ferry Hull/Rotterdam

Once at Europort Rotterdam, it was a short 110 mile drive to Lommel, howeverr our sat-nav decided to send us the slower scenic route!
The Lommel circuit is located behind an industrial estate on the edge of town. The land was given to the club by the local mayor, some 35 years ago. It was 31 years ago that the Trophee des Nations for 250cc machines was held at the unique sandy circuit. Team USA, managed by Roger DeCoster sent an all Honda team of youngsters Johnny O’Mara, Chuck Sun, Danny Laporte and Donnie Hansen. With help from Motocross Action magazine editor Dick Miller and Bel Ray’s Thuer Cohen the team arrived to take on local favourites Team Belgium, with Andre Vromans, Harry Everts, Eric Geboers and Mark Velkeneers who had all grown up racing at Lommel. Roger DeCoster asked the organisers for help with Hotel expenses but the organising committee said whilst they knew of the likes of Bob Hannah and Brad Lackey, they hadn’t a clue who these youngsters were!, so no money was forthcoming.

Laporte, Hansen, O’mara and Sun smell the roses!

Once practice started the Americans looked quick, using their Supercross honed skills to blast the soft berms, jumping over braking bumps etc., but the locals thought, “they’ll never keep that pace up for 40 min + 2 laps!” However come Sunday and the Americans did just that, packing the top six places in each moto with Team USA whilst sand specialist Andre Vromans ran away with each moto win! Team USA took the Trophee des Nations trophy back to America and backed it up by narrowly defeating Team GB at the following weekend’s Motocross des Nations in Bilstein, Germany. These first victories were to set a precedant for the next 30 or so years where Team USA won at will and always came into the now combined MXDN event as surefire favourites!

Fast forward 31 years to 2012 and one of the original team Chuck Sun was invited, all expenses paid, by Giuseppe Luongo to represent the original quartet and ironically Chuck would unwittingly become involved again in the Team USA drama that unfolded!

Roger DeCoster and Chuck Sun discuss the “old days!”

First job upon arriving was to deliver the three paintings to Giuseppe Luongo at his Youthstream Office/trailor.

Giuseppe Luongo and artist Rob Kinsey

The three paintings were a portrait of Mr Valadimir Gudkov, President of Investradebank Russia and also organiser of the Snowmobile and Russion MXGP.

Mr Gudkov painting commissioned by Youthstream

The painting featured Tucker Hibbert, Snowcross World Champion, portrait of Mr Gudkov and 2012 MX1 champion Antonio Cairoli with a scene from red Square, Moscow. The painting was presented to Mr Gudkov at the Youthsream awards evening and I was invited onstage to participate. Mr Gudkov, through his translator Elanor was very pleased to receive such a special honour!

The second painting was  a Lifetime Achievement Award to Roger DeCoster for all his help and success with Team USA at the MXDN over the years.

At least roger had something to still smile about after the MXDN races!, with artist Rob Kinsey.

Youthstream Awards presentation to Roger DeCoster

The final painting was a big surprise to MC of the Youthstream awards Paul Malin, presented by Youthstream for his great ambassadorial role for world motocross. The painting featured Paul in action on his Yamaha 125cc when Team GB won at Roggenburg in 1992, together with a portrait of him in his modern day role, commentating for MX-Live TV shows.

Alongside the Youthstream awards, the Belgian M/c Federation FMB were celebrating their centinary and had brought together many of the past Belgian World Champions, Andre Malherbe, Roger DeCoster, Joel Robert, Harry Everts, Sylvain Geboers, Jean Claude Laquaye and MXDN promoter Eric Geboers for a gala evening of fine food, wine and many tales were told!

Chuck Sun with Belgian legend Joel Robert 6 time World Champion.

On friday they hold a ballot in the Press centre, where the Monster girls get to draw the order of gate pic for all the nations.  The Press Centre was the size of a football field, fully equipped with desks and wifi internet access to accomodate the 400 + journalists, photographers and TV crews who would be covering the event worldwide. Saturday sees the first on track action with open practice sessions for the MX2, MX1 and MX open classes and it quickly became apparent that Team USA would have their work cut out to beat the “Lommel local’s” Cairoli, Herlings, DeDycker, Leok etc around this sandy track. The crowds were piling in, every nationality represented by patriotic fans all dressed in crazy outfits and many carrying chain saws, minus blades with full on factory loud pipes, air horns and one French fan even had their national mascot, a live cockerel atop of his tricolour flagpole!

Irish Lepruchans add the gaelic flavour!

The English Spiderman fans take a breather!

Flags of every nation were flown with pride.

Part two Friday 19th Oct: The racing, why Team USA lost and more Monster girls and the after parties! TBC.