Can I get a RED BUDDDDDD! I’m not sure who’s idea it was to host the 2023 KTM Launch at RedBud but they need a dang raise! Thats right, KTM invited the media out to the famed track in southern Michigan for a private track day with the entire ’23 KTM SX line up including the new EFI two-stokes that had everyone speechless and wanting one… bad!
For me, it was the shortest trip I will take all year as it was a chill 3.5 hour drive down to South Bend, IN to meet up with the slew of moto publication peeps including our own test riders Chris Johnson and Jeff Walker. Chris is no stranger to Vurb as he also did the GasGas launch last year so it was an easy call to have him make the journey out to RedBud for some shred time.
Thanks to some close mutual friends (thank you Nick) we reached out to Jeff Walker and he was over the moon excited to come out and be a test rider for us. Walker was an easy choice as he is a Michigan native who is taking on the Pro Motocross Championship this summer as a total privateer and with us riding the World Famous RedBud facility the fit was natural.
Launch day arrived and the vibe in the shuttle over was bursting at the seems with excitement. Not many of the Cali guys had ever been to RedBud, let alone ridden it. The moment we got off the shuttle we were greeted with the KTM rig along with an endless sea of fresh orange motorcycles. Once everyone checked the bikes out we hit the track for a little track walk action and naturally, we all headed to LaRocco’s Leap. After a bit of banter back and forth, the group consensus was that it was entirely doable. It was really cool to see the entire group of guys in awe of the track, the facility and just how perfect the weather was. Nothing like a low 70’s day to get you extra hyped.
After some track talk we found our seats and were presented with the 2023 line up including the all new SX-F 250, 350 and 450 models and an even deeper dive into the all new EFI SX two-stroke line up of the SX 125, 250 and 300. Once that wrapped up it was time to grab some bikes and hit the track.
First on track, Aden Keefer with the fresh SX-125. Could you imagine?! A couple laps solo on a freshly prepped RedBud track with a brand new 125 underneath you! Chris and Jeff would suit up and take to the track as well along with everyone else. First up, Jeff chose the SX-250 and Chris chose the SX-F 250. As you can see below, it blew their wigs back just how good the new bikes are. From there they would both go on to test every bike with outstanding feedback from them all. I think the unanimous winner was the SX-300 two-stroke. Tons of power like a four-stroke with the fun lighter elements of a two-stroke.
All the bike jazz aside, lets talk about the opportunity for us to go and not only ride all of the brand new bikes, but for those of us with cameras. We were able to stand where ever and do whatever we wanted for the entire day! For anyone who has ever tried to navigate around the infield at a National level track, especially on race weekend, you are forever slowed up by proverbial red tape and rightfully so of course. But on that fateful day there was no tape, no officials asking to step back, nothing. Just all of these badass test riders and all of us camera nerds running around like it Christmas. There wasn’t a single person not grinning ear to ear the entire time we were there.
I approached it a little tactfully with it being a little bit of a recon mission for the upcoming RedBud National and the other little race they are hosting later this summer called the Motocross des Nations, which was massively beneficial. Once the recon mission was completed I just soaked it all in and tried to stack the footage while I could knowing the day would eventually come to a close. What an opportunity!
Thank you again to KTM, the Ritchie’s and everyone else who had a helping hand at putting the event on along with all of the other publications who attended. It was one day we will surely never forget.
For those of you who have been sleeping under a rock for the last week. Here are some links to get you caught up on all things 2023 KTM Launch.
Jeff Walker GoPro:
All Strokes Edition, Pt 1:
All Strokes Edition Pt 2: Coming soon.