KTM puts a lot of effort, and funding, into the Dakar competition. Of the 235 motorcycle competitors expected to start, more than 55 percent will be riding KTM. The current economic climate has most OEMs minimizing factory-backed race expenses. The Austrian OEM already cut production and made workforce reductions. So why hasn’t it pulled back or minimized its involvement with Dakar?
“To be at the biggest and most famous rally in the world is obligatory for KTM,” says KTM team manager Alex Doringer. “At the end of the day it is about selling bikes and a lot of it is about our image, how we perform in races and how we interact with our customers.”
The 2009 Dakar Rally is scheduled to be broadcast in the U.S. and Canada on the Versus channel.