[KTM]

KTM MOTOHALL ANNOUNCES ‘LEGENDS OF THE DAKAR’

8 months ago | Words: Matt Bernard | Photos: KTM

The Dakar Rally holds a unique place among races, boasting an extensive history of extraordinary stories set in some of the most remote and demanding terrains on Earth. To pay tribute to Heinz Kinigadner and KTM’s impressive three-decade journey in this legendary event, the KTM Motohall in Mattighofen, Austria, has unveiled a captivating exhibition called ‘Legends of the Dakar’.

From scorching deserts and rugged mountains to unforgiving ravines, the Dakar Rally embodies the essence of extreme racing. Over the past 30 years, KTM has established a proud Dakar history, starting from the days of Heinz Kinigadner in the 1990s and continuing with their recent triumph by Kevin Benavides in January 2023.

The KTM Motohall’s exclusive exhibition offers visitors an immersive experience into the captivating world of the Dakar Rally—a race teeming with countless captivating tales. One can witness Heinz Kinigadner’s indomitable spirit as he skillfully guided his adapted LC4 Enduro bike to the next bivouac, navigating with nothing but a spinning compass and limited service. Kinigadner’s pursuit of a Dakar podium finish not only put KTM on the map but also laid the foundation for the brand’s extraordinary success, amassing 19 Dakar victories since Fabrizio Meoni’s initial triumph in 2001.

In 2023, after an intense 44 hours of racing, the final stage of the Dakar Rally became an enthralling spectacle, with a mere 12-second gap separating the two KTM riders who captured the world’s attention.

The ‘Legends of the Dakar’ exhibition delves into untold stories and revisits historic moments from this extraordinary race, as recounted by those who experienced firsthand the sweltering heat, bone-chilling cold, exhilarating highs, and challenging lows. With an impressive display of ten historic Dakar bikes and a multitude of artifacts from the renowned race, visitors will feel intimately connected to the action that unfolded in Paris-Dakar, South America, and Saudi Arabia. The exhibition pays tribute to legendary figures like Heinz Kinigadner, Fabrizio Meoni, Marc Coma, Matthias Walkner, Toby Price, and Kevin Benavides, shedding light on their untold stories while reflecting on their formidable endeavors in what is arguably the toughest race on the planet.

Stefan Pierer, CEO of PIERER Mobility AG, emphasizes the unparalleled adventure of the Dakar Rally, stating, “There is no bigger adventure than the Dakar; the momentum and motivation it provided us back in those early years, which proved to be pivotal in the promotion of the KTM name and development of our motorcycles, has never wavered.”

Heinz Kinigadner looks back on the KTM and Dakar history with immense pride, recalling, “To talk about the history of KTM and the Dakar really makes me a bit proud. Back when I started in 1994, I could not believe the media coverage – it was so much more than I got for my world titles, and I knew it could be good for the brand. While the style and professionalism of racing have changed since then, the fundamentals of the race remain the same. It’s a big adventure.”

Matthias Walkner, the 2018 Dakar winner, expresses his pride in being an Austrian rider on an Austrian bike with an Austrian sponsor, and he lauds the KTM Motohall for sharing these stories. He shares, “There is no other race like it, and no feeling like winning it. I am so proud to have been an Austrian rider, on an Austrian bike with an Austrian sponsor, and it is really cool that the KTM Motohall is telling these stories – especially those ones in history that we did not always get to know about in detail.”

Kevin Benavides, the victorious rider of the 2023 Dakar Rally, describes the overwhelming joy of winning and his pride in being a part of KTM’s Legends of the Dakar, stating, “Winning this year’s Dakar was really the best feeling of my life. And now, to be a part of KTM’s Legends of the Dakar makes me very proud. I am still overwhelmed; it’s amazing.”

For further information about the ‘Legends of the Dakar’ exhibition or to immerse yourself in the captivating world of Dakar, click here or plan a visit to the KTM Motohall in Mattighofen, Austria. Prepare to be inspired by the stories, triumphs, and challenges that define the Dakar Rally.

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