Remember when Ducati and Honda started selling MotoGP bikes to normal* people? If you had a load of money, you could buy a Ducati Desmosedici, or a Honda RC213V-S. Imagine that, your very own MotoGP bike. Sort of; because both of them were very watered down versions of the bikes we were watching screaming round GP circuits at the time. But the 2022 KTM Rally Factory Replica isn’t anything like that. It’s not a watered down version of anything. It’s a full-fat, ‘ready to race’ rally machine. And it’s the same machine that Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team riders will be campaigning in the 2022 Dakar Rally. Unfortunately, it’s not looking like we’ll be riding ‘Rally’ bikes when we make our Dakar debut in 2022; because they’re just a bit too expensive. Or should I say a lot too expensive.
Yes, thanks to our stringent budget and fruitless search for a multi-million pound sponsorship deal, Fagan and I (Boothy) will be racing enduro bikes at the Dakar Rally in January, rather than trick-as-fudge Rally Replicas. That’s because you can buy and convert a KTM 450 EXC for about £15,000. A KTM 450 Rally Factory Replica is about £27,000 (€25,900 plus VAT & shipping). Unfortunately our budget isn’t going to stretch that far.
So what’s so good about Rally Replicas, then? Are they really worth the extra £10k+? Well, if you’re competing in the Dakar rally, and any other rally raid events, for that matter, yes. If you can afford it, they’re absolutely worth it.
Although vaguely based on the KTM 450 EXC enduro bike, the Rally Replicas are very different. They’ve got more power, thanks to a whole host of different engine internals (nearly all of them). You also get a PANKL Racing Systems gearbox. Not only do you get a more linear gear spread, you get a nice tall top gear; that means you’re not stressing your engine too much when your doing 80mph for mile after mile. Enduro engines aren’t really built for them sort of speeds. Certainly not for a sustained period of time, anyway. The Akrapovič exhaust gives the Rally bikes a sexy bark to go with their ferocious bite, too.
And then there’s the chassis. The chassis is built for speed, too. A longer swingarm and more relaxed head angle make the Rally Replicas a lot more stable at high speed, giving you the confidence to keep the throttle pinned over big scary sand dunes.
The whole package has been developed year after year by the Factory Racing team, and as far as rally bikes go, this is as good as it gets. The KTM Rally Replica comes with the extra fuel tanks, all the navigation ancillaries, and everything you need for multi-stage cross-country rallying. They really are ready to race, straight out the crate.
Unfortunately, Fagan and me have run out of things to sell and we still can’t afford rally bikes so we’ll be on 450 EXCs for our Dakar debut. Whilst we’d prefer a KTM Rally Replica, the EXCs should get us to the end, if we have enough mechanical sympathy.
But at the minute, we’re concentrating on trying to get to the start, never mind the end. And one of the biggest challenges of the Dakar Rally is raising the money to get there in the first place. We’ve had an incredible response to the GoFundMe campaign, so thank you so much to everyone who has donated. But we’ve got a long way to go.
If you want to be part of our Dakar journey and help us make it happen, we want you to get involved. If you could find time to head over to our GoFundMe page and chuck a few quid into the pot, we would love you for ever. But not only would we love you forever, we’ll return home with one hell of a story to tell. Which we will tell, through the medium of YouTube videos. A story that you’ll be part of. Click here to donate and be part of the team.
Much love, Boothy