Britain’s most decorated Grand Prix team in recent memory is switching back to KTM machinery for 2017 as Hitachi KTM UK will commit to the full FIM Motocross World Championship and British series with riders Jake Nicholls and Ben Watson in MXGP and MX2 classes respectively.
A year after running Husqvarna colours and losing their grip on the national championship in the wake of 10 titles in different classes, Roger Magee’s outfit have restructured and retained the services of 19-year-old Watson and 25-year-old Nicholls to run the 250 and 450SX-Fs.
“Back in August, we were approached by KTM UK to become their main motocross team in 2017, a position we previously held from 2008 to 2015 with significant success,” Team Principal Magee says. “In 2016, we maintained our momentum with Husqvarna which saw Jake Nicholls revive his career to challenge for the MX1 British Championship and re- establish his MXGP credentials. An unfortunate injury to Ben Watson’s foot in Argentina cut short his promising start to the year.”
“For 2017, we have kept our faith in Jake and Ben who both have shown their loyalty to my team,” Magee adds. “We have secured a really strong support package from KTM where we aim to bring further success to the brand. I wish to thank Robert Jonas and Matt Walker for their belief in our capabilities to compete at the highest level. We are also indebted to Hitachi Construction Machinery who are the title sponsor once again for the forthcoming season. We also welcome Contract Furniture Group as one of our main partners for next year. We did receive some very welcome support from this company in 2016 to allow Ben Watson to compete in the early flyaway GPs.”
Watson missed practically the entire 2016 racing term after a complicated foot fracture sustained at the Grand Prix of Argentina. ’17 will be just his second ‘full’ Grand Prix campaign. “I’m feeling good on the bike and almost like I haven’t had any time off…even though it was a hard injury to get over,” Watson said. “It has been such a long year that I am happy to get on the bike and get started again.”
Nicholls clinched British Championship victories during 2016 and also put his name back into Grand Prix recognition by fighting for top ten slots in the premier class despite an eighteen-month injury malaise. “I’m really pleased to sign again; I had a good season with the team and I’m grateful they gave me a chance when I was well and truly on the back foot,” he commented. “It seems things are already coming together better for next year. We made a lot of progress with the bike and general set-up and now I’m going back to the KTM, which I have ridden since 2009. I’m excited to be back and it is very similar in some ways to the Husqvarna; it’s nice to be going back to orange. I think we can go from strength to strength. I treated 2016 as a building year and Roger understood that and didn’t pressure me. The results were pretty good and I hope will be better next season. With Ben onboard I hope we are both going for British titles.”