Red Bull KTM’s Roger Decoster is a legend in the sport, and has been heavily involved with the Austrian brand’s racing successes since they made their latest push. This Monday marked the official team introduction and release of KTM’s 2018 450SX-F Factory Edition bike at a brand new Supercross track nestled atop their North American headquarters in Temecula, CA. This is another huge push toward success by the brand, and we sat down with him to learn more about how it all came about.
Today's KTM intro took place at your brand new Supercross track at the KTM headquarters in Temecula. How did "RD Field" actually come about?
Well, we were thinking it would be nice to have a track really close. And although Corona is not that far away, it's still a 40 minute drive and you give up almost a couple of hours to go testing. This place we have control over ourselves, because we lease the land, but it was not so clear if this was going to happen or not. It was quite a bit of expense involved to do it all legally and comply with the requirement of the county as far as the water runoff and all that goes. It hardly every rains here, but we had to put in a big drainage system just incase. So they're still working on that today, and that alone was $150,000 just for the drain - it's pretty major work that they are doing. Like I said here earlier, I am really thankful to KTM for continuing to invest and give us the tools to try to stay out front. Many times, factory teams will put in a big effort at first, and then back off due to costs. Even with our bike, and investment they have made in our bike -it's been a lot of work for them. Also to get the permits to do all the work has been quite a bit, and I thought at a few points that it wasn't going to happen. Things have come together in the last couple of weeks, and there is still a lot of work to do to get electricity and water onto the facility. There will also be an Endurocross track also built here next to the Supercross track. So I am very thankful that our owner, our bosses, and Pit [Beirer] continue to put in the effort and are willing to commit to the financing necessary to do this.
The factory edition bike is a testament to KTM's commitment to racing. This year it saw even more updates. Tell us a little about the model and how it came about.
You know, at first we really had to do it to get up to speed with the other manufacturers. When Ian and I came to join KTM we had a pretty big gap, and now I feel we are on par and need to continue to work to stay in the lead.
Earlier today they mentioned Ryan Dungey playing a big part in developing the bike, even at the time he announced his retirement from professional racing.
Yeah, it's funny. We had lunch by the Orange County Airport when he told us that he decided to stop racing. But then the next day he showed up at the test. [Laughs] I did not think he was going to come, but he showed up and he wanted to ride!
That's a testament to Ryan's character and how important his role in the brand has been.
Yeah, we don't know yet exactly what Ryan is going to want to be doing for us but he is definitely going to stay here and be part of the KTM group. He just needs to find out himself a little bit more on how much time he wants to work every day, or do more like special events, and work with young riders probably. That's one thing he may really want to do that could help out a lot. It's good to have him stick around and be part of the group.
Anaheim One is just around the corner, and Marvin Musquin has had a standout off-season. It's pretty apparent he is stepping up to fill the gap Ryan left as team leader.
I hope he is, and it looks like he is. But it's not easy, you know? We'll have to see how the start of the season works out, but he's definitely been on it starting at the Monster Cup and he's still improving on some things.
Broc Tickle is also a fresh face to the team. Is it nice to have a new rider to the brand?
Yeah, and Broc is a really nice guy. He's really happy to be here with us, and I think him and Marvin will mesh well together and I hope we can help him reach to another level. I look forward to the start of the season, and I am pretty confident in our equipment.