KTM announce GP academy and EMX plans

The KTM GP Academy will tackle the 2024 racing season with the purpose of helping young riders reach the limits of their potential and to go as far as they can with their career goals at the top of motocross. ‘KTM GP Academy: Ride to MXGP’ will benefit from the co-operation between established teams and the KTM Motorsports department to amplify and boost the scheme.

European Championship EMX125 and EMX250 and the FIM Junior World Motocross Championship (125 category) will be the prime breeding ground for the new-look KTM GP Academy: Ride to MXGP. Together with the ‘Racestore KTM Factory Rookies’ team and Gabriel SS24 KTM, KTM will be providing support and guidance through these crucial learning stages for riders to make their way to the FIM Motocross World Championship, and perhaps entry to the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team.

Similar to the KTM GP Academy in MotoGP™ – where series such as the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, FIM JuniorGP and KTM Junior Cup powered by ADAC – filter the best and the brightest into consideration for KTM teams in Moto3™, Moto2™ and MotoGP, ‘Ride to MXGP’ is in the formative stages of carrying the same emphasis and 2024 will be an important launch pad.

Racestore KTM Factory Rookies will be helmed by former KTM Factory Racing Grand Prix rider and Motocross of Nations Team Italy Manager Thomas Traversini. Thomas has been collaborating closely with the Italian Federation in a mentor and coaching role and his knowledge and dedication makes him an ideal figurehead for Paolo Menacci’s Racestore team. The crew will identify and work with promising teenagers and the fettled KTM 125 SX at the foundation level of ‘Ride to MXGP’: the extremely popular EMX125 championship. The riders will be Gyan Doensen and Nicolo Alvisi.

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Gabriel SS24 KTM is led by former MXGP winner and multi-British Champion Shaun Simpson. The Scot finished 4th in the 2015 MXGP World Championship from a satellite team set-up and with a production KTM 450 SX-F as well as claiming four GP wins and four national titles. Well-spoken, knowledgeable and passionate about the sport, Simpson will now be looking to help promising Dutch teenager and ex-EMX125 European Champ Cas Valk for his second year in EMX250 where he’ll ride the KTM 250 SX-F. The following frontier is MX2 Grand Prix competition.
A roster of Grand Prix winners and world champions have come through KTM’s previous proactive approach to talent development. Names like Jeffrey Herlings, Jordi Tixier, Pauls Jonass, Jorge Prado, Rene Hofer and more have worked their way up the ladder to crest the peak of MXGP. Solidification of the ‘Ride to MXGP’ program means that KTM are making a large investment to smoothen the pipeline for the best juniors spotted at national and continental level to become even better.

Thomas Traversini, Racestore KTM Factory Rookies, Team Manager: “I’m really pumped for this new project to come in 2024 with Racestore and KTM. We have two high-level riders and everything will be on-point for the beginning of the season. It’s a development idea that I’ve wanted to happen for quite a few years and I’m very proud to be involved. I’m ready to work, and I will put 100%, and more, to help it succeed.”

Paolo Mencacci, Racestore KTM Factory Rookies, Team Principal: “I am very happy to start this new adventure with KTM and the young riders involved in EMX125.I’m very proud that we are now an official KTM team and have an important role to play. I want to say ‘thank you’ to Thomas Traversini who has decided to work with us and I know with him and with all the team together we can achieve some important goals.”

Shaun Simpson, Team Manager Gabriel SS24 KTM: “2024 is going to be an exciting year for us at Gabriel SS24 KTM. We have been building up to this point for three years, and now have the resources and riders to compete at the top level. We are delighted to welcome Cas Valk to the team in what will be his second year in the EMX250 championship. Cas is already a veteran on the EMX podium, and is a serious title contender for the 2024 season. A massive thank you to KTM and Simon Gabriel for putting their faith in me in what will also be my debut year as a full-time manager. We are excited to see what the future will bring.”

Robert Jonas, Vice President Offroad Racing: “Our work with young talented riders has had a lot of success in the past and now we have a firmer direction with the KTM GP Academy: Ride to MXGP for spotting junior riders and helping them to get better, faster, stronger and smarter. I want to thank everyone who has supported and backed us, both at HQ and especially Simon and Shaun and Paolo and their teams and with Thomas now coming onboard and back to the KTM family! 2024 is the first season and phase of the project, and it will be fascinating to see what the environment can produce. We know some riders progress very quickly and others need time, and motocross can be a difficult sport with many setbacks. The GP Academy should be a positive initiative to keep supplying our Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team in the future. We want to underline our commitment to the sport and to continue placing ‘orange’ right at the heart of the elite.”

Words: Press Release

Image: KTM Racing