“We won the Supermoto Championship last year and hope to repeat it this year,” said Team Red Bull KTM HMC owner Mitch Hansen. “Currently we are one point off the lead in Unlimited Class and in 5th and 6th in the 450.” On Team Red Bull are Benjamin Carlson, 21, John Lewis, 17, Jurgen Kunzel, 31, and Kurt Nicoll, 41.
They are currently preparing for the X Games at Los Angeles, California in August. Team Red Bull’s Jurgen Kunzel, Kurt Nicoll and Benny Carlson are on the invited athlete list for the Home Depot Center event. All of the athletes receiving invitations to compete at X Games are chosen by a sport-specific selection committee.
“Last year at the 2005 X Games, there was a huge jump going into the stadium,” said Hansen. “This year that jump was eliminated and it will be more of a Supermoto type track. I’m happy to see the X-games going in the right direction. It’s better for my guys and puts everyone on a more even playing field. In 2006, Supercross will not be able to dominate the X Games.”
That is not the only difference expected in the X Games this year. “There will be a mandatory pit stop to change the rear tire and add gas,” said Hansen. “Anyone who does not stop will be eliminated from the competition. Time will be crucial at the pit stop.”
Team Red Bull KTM HMC uses K&N Engineering products. “We use K&N Air Filters (RX-3900-1) and K&N Breathers,” said Hansen. “We also use two K&N Oil Filters (KN-155) (KN-157). It’s a fantastic product. The K&N Filters keep the dirt and debris out and are easy to work on and easy to clean.”
In preparation for the X Games, Benny Carlson is riding in a lot of dirt with a Supermoto bike, and Jurgen Kunzel is training and riding every day in Germany, said Hansen. “Meanwhile, Kurt Nicoll knows what he needs to do and knows how to get there,” he said. “Other than winning the AMA Championship it is the best race of the year.”
The team’s last race was at Waterford Hills Road Race Course in Clarkson, Michigan where KTM returned to the top of the podium. Defending AMA Supermoto king Jurgen Kunzel bounced back from a disheartening 12th place to claim third in the second moto. "Our German champion is a hard worker," said
John Lewis is only 17, but has had two podium finishes this season. “He is a talented kid and a work in progress,” said Hansen. “He is not the best qualifier in the world but he picks up the lines and learns. He has a lot of potential.”
At Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah Lewis made a late charge to overhaul defending Unlimited Champ Micky Dymond for the runner up position. “I qualified on the second row,” said Lewis. “Off the start Dave Baffeleuf had a good lead and Micky started fading back a little. I saw Micky starting to slow down so I went a little faster and I got him. Passing him was like passing a hero.”
Benjamin Carlson is 8th in Supermoto. “I’ve known him since he was little,” said Hansen. “He is talented at 21 and has many years left in this sport that continues to grow.”
After the short summer break the second half of the AMA Supermoto Championship will kick off at Invesco Field in Denver, Colorado on August 25th.
Follow Team Red Bull KTM HMC's progress throughout the racing season at the K&N news site. Find K&N products for your vehicle using the K&N application search then use the K&N dealer search to find a K&N dealer in your part of the world.