Category: Supercross

KTM in Supercross: Part 1


Supercross racing is fast, technical and often very exciting [via]

Supercross season has just kicked off and some fans have asked me to cover the KTM riders racing in the series.

Since Supercross is pretty US-centric, I thought I’d  find out what it was all about and also learn about the KTM riders and their bikes.  So I dived straight in, read as much as I could and found out the following.

Differences between SuperCross and Motocross

I heard of Motocross before but never Supercross, so that was the first thing I tried to answer – what is the difference between Supercross and Motocross?

The differences lie in the location of the races, nature of the tracks and time of races.

Supercross races are held indoors on temporary man-made tracks in large sports stadiums across the US while Motocross races are held on outdoor tracks that are permanent.  Stadiums that host Supercross races include the Angel Stadium in Los Angeles and The Coliseum in Oakland.


Supercross track in the Angel Stadium [via]

 Being indoors, Supercross tracks are also typically smaller in size, resulting in fast and technical racing. They also feature big jumps and rhythm sections. By contrast, Motocross tracks are longer, wider, and have natural terrain such as hills, sandy sections and off-camber corners.


Supercross tracks are fast, tight and technical [via]


Motocross tracks are outdoors and feature natural terrain [via]

Supercross races are held on Saturdays while Motorcross races are held on Sundays. The Supercross calendar starts in October and ends in May, then Motorcross season takes over from May to August.

(Note: The calendars I’m referring to are the AMA Supercross and Motorcross events. The FIM Motorcross World Championship overlaps – starting in March and ending in September)

The Supercross and Motocross riders are the same. Riders who race Supercross indoors move and continue to race Motocross outdoors once one finishes and the other starts.

Supercross Race format (450cc and 250cc)

Each supercross race comprises of qualifying, two heats, one consolation race and a final race. This type of race format – culminating in one final race is called a ‘one moto format’ (vs Motocross which is a two moto format).

Qualifying takes place during the day with the objective of narrowing the entire field of riders to a total of 40 who are eligible to compete in the heats, H1 and H2.


Riders racing the heats to qualify for the final [via]

In the heats, 450 cc riders race eight laps while 250 cc riders race six.  The top 9 riders from each heat move on to the final race (Total 18).  The bottom 11 riders from each heat get bumped down to the consolation race.

In the consolation race, also the final chance to make final, only only the winner and the runner-up get to advance to the final race.

The final race comprises of twenty riders racing twenty laps for 450cc and fifteen laps for 250cc, with the winners of both classes getting 25 points.


Ken Roczen (KTM) racing the final in Anaheim 2 [via]

KTM Riders in Supercross

Ryan Dungey (450 cc)

Ryan joined the 450 in 2010 after winning the SupercrossLites and 250  Motocross championship in 2009. As a rookie, he stunned everyone by walking away with both the Supercross and Motocross titles.

In 2011, he finished the season third in Supercross and second in Motocross, still highly competitive, though unable to match his record-breaking rookie season.

After signing for KTM in 2012, Ryan finished 3rd in the Supercross.  This was despite having to sit out for five races due to a broken  collarbone, but after recovering, he went on to win the Motocross title for KTM.

In 2013, his results after four rounds include a two 3rds, an 8th and a 6th and currently sits in 5th place in the overall standings.


Ryan Dungey [via]

Ken Roczen (250cc)

Born in 1994 in Germany, Ken is one of the youngest and some say the most exciting 250 cc rider in Supercross. He holds the record of being the youngest Grand Prix Motocross winner, winning the race at a tender age of 15!

In 2011, he joined the KTM Red Bull factory team and promptly won the World MX2 Championship for them that same year.

In 2012, Ken placed second in the overall standings of the Supercross Lites EAST, by getting into the top five five times. He also placed first in Round 7.

In 2013, after four rounds, Ken is currently positioned 2nd in the overall standings.


Ken Roczen [via]

In Part 2, I will be reviewing the machines that Ryan and Ken ride in Supercross –  KTM 450 XF and 250 XF.  Check back soon!

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