SEASON START ADAC JUNIOR CUP POWERED BY KTM – TAILOR-MADE FOR UP-AND-COMING TALENT!
The ADAC Junior Cup powered by KTM has now completed the introductory course in Magione/Italy and has launched into the four-stroke era with the first race at Germany’s Lausitzring. Günter Gahleitner, as KTM’s leader of the brand cup, talks about the new project in an interview. The goal is to promote up-and-coming young riders who are competing on the KTM RC 390 bike.
How is the level of satisfaction after the kick-off events for the new ADAC Junior Cup powered by KTM?
“Our expectations have been far exceeded immediately after the opening of the season. The five-day introductory course in Italy went very smoothly. It involved the hand over of the bikes, training and theory for the 28 participants and their support personnel, and with lots of track time under the guidance of instructors Dario Giuseppetti and Michael Ranseder. There we managed to create a firm basis for the entire season, which is enormously important for the youngsters. Everything was linked to this when the season got underway at the Lausitzring. The first race was exciting right up until the finish. It was peppered with nice battles and we had no technical problems – the concept worked well right from the start. The riders were extremely enthusiastic about the RC 390 CUP and everyone involved in the organization got a great deal of pleasure out of it.”
What does the field of riders look like?
“We have one girl on the start, the rest are boys. The youngest is 13 years and the oldest is 19. Some are complete beginners; others have had some race experience with mini bikes or in the previous Junior Cup. In any case we have some really fast talents in the competition. Most of the participants come from Germany, but also from Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Lithuania. We also have provision for guest starts as long as the number of fixed starters does not exceed the number of starting places. We have already had requests for guest starts for the coming races from Australia, the Netherlands and Thailand. And two young riders from the mini bike scene will be promoted into the competition at the race that will be part of the program at the Sachsenring MotoGP. It looks like the RC 390 CUP concept is completely on trend, and true to the brand’s motorsport content, it once again also attracts young people – providing reasonable conditions and at an extremely high level.”
How much in costs should the participants reckon with?
“The KTM RC 390 CUP with all the special race components costs €6,500. The entry fees for the eight races plus the preseason training session comes to another € 2,500. Guest riders, who are supplied with a Cup motorcycle pay an all-inclusive fee of €990 per race.”
It is rather unusual that the RC 390 is only available at the dealers at the end of summer. Why has KTM released this new model as the Cup machine beforehand?
“The Junior Cup has been contested for over 20 years with 125cc bikes. The ADAC had asked KTM for a suitable series model for the desired conversion to four-stroke machines. We already had the RC 390 in the pipeline as a single-cylinder sports bike. So we advanced the project to make it possible to use the bikes in the Cup competition. The ADAC Junior Cup powered by KTM was introduced at the 2013 Sachsenring GP, and this year the project has been brought to life.”
How many people are involved in the organization?
“Around ten people. Ernst Bernecker from ADAC is responsible for the organization at the actual races and Bernd Eckenbach, a former motocross rider, takes care of the rider coaching. There are also competent people for technical matters, parts, for the function of technical commissioner, physiotherapy, marketing and media work. Naturally personnel from KTM Germany are regularly onsite. We are very satisfied with ADAC’s organization of the Cup. They think of everything, the cooperation works perfectly and things couldn’t be better.”
What is the difference between the Cup bike and the series model RC 390?
“The bodywork complements parts for the fairing, sport seat and bug spoiler. The single-cylinder, four-stroke engine is reduced to about 38hp via a mechanical throttle stop and adjusted mapping for the Akrapovic exhaust. Frame and swing arm remain standard. The fork and suspension from WP are identical to the parts for KTM’s Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Moto3 machine. The 320mm brake discs are somewhat bigger than on the series model and racing brake pads have been used. The foot pegs come from the KTM PowerParts program, as does the fold back hand lever and the guard for the clutch and brake. Universal tire is the brand new Metzeler Sportec M7 RR. Tests with the KTM RC 390 CUP were carried out in Italy and Spain on four different racing circuits. Thomas Gradinger, KTM trainee and Moto3 racer was the test rider. The fork is completely adjustable. The suspension is configured to suit a rider weighing 63 to 65 kg. There is a choice of softer or harder suspension. For a shock absorber with separate compensating tank, the damping can be set for low or high speed.”
Is there a possibility of future Cup competitions with the RC 390 in other countries?
“That is what we hope for. We are looking for tomorrow’s champions. Because of this the ‘ADAC Junior Cup powered by KTM’ has the character of a pilot project. Interested KTM importers and national representation will be able to take over the concept and they can profit from our experience. Our goal was to have an inexpensive brand cup competition with a series production sports bike that is technically uncomplicated, could be mastered by both newcomers or more advanced riders and at the same time is practical to tune. For young talents, the Cup bike is both tailor-made for the purpose and together with the support personnel and system that comes with it, it is practically unbeatable.
Another important aspect is that the RC 390 has a very robust construction. This is important if the rider slides off the track and it also means that it doesn’t necessarily result in costly damage if the limits have been exceeded. With our tubular steel trellis frame for example, the tail section is welded, not screwed. Initially there were concerns that this might be costly after a crash but in the meantime it has proved to be no problem at all. The construction has turned out to be very stable. Crashes have resulted in only a few scratches on the handlebars and the plastic parts, nothing more happens.”
How will the best in the Cup competition continue after the end of the season?
“Three talents will be invited by Red Bull to attend an evaluation competition for the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. If they make the selection for 2015 they can look forward to competing on the KTM Moto3 machines and being heavily subsidized for the Rookies Cup championship that is part of the MotoGP program. For this purpose, the ADAC and KTM collectively contribute €50,000. This season there is no Moto3 IDM (International German Championship) but this was only decided a few days ago. We therefore have to wait for 2015.We will find another solution in another country if there is no new Moto3 series in Germany. In any case we make a commitment that the best riders will be further promoted. And besides handsome prize money for those who finish in places 1-15 in the final standings, one talent also gets a gift of a new KTM 125 DUKE.”