GNCC Racing

Toolbox with .... Tim Farr

Wednesday, September 3, 2008 | 12:00 AM

A year ago, the KTM sport ATV was as much rumor as fact, a few people had ridden one but no one knew for sure if it would really perform. A first year effort from a company that had never built a four-wheeled machine before? Well, KTM made believers out of everyone with the 450XC and 525XC, with GNCC racers Adam McGill and Taylor Kiser lighting up the circuit on the orange machine. But the real story comes from the man behind the project, four-time ATVA Grand National Champion Tim Farr, who spearheads the racing and development for KTM’s ATV project. Farr’s latest duty was organizing KTM’s effort at the Pont du Vaux 12 Hour ATV endurance race in France, where he, McGill and Kiser finished second overall. We gave him a call to see how it went.

Interview by Andy Bowyer

Racing, testing, managing, media,
Tim Farr does it all for KTM.
Hooper photo

So you just raced the Pont de Vaux race in France. Take us through it, how did that go?
It was awesome, we had a blast. It was fun, and it was really fun to actually get a chance to race with Adam and Taylor guys. I had never actually raced with them before.

Why did KTM enter that race?
We really wanted to push the machine in Europe right now. With the dollar situation, we can make more money in Europe right now than the US, so it’s just to make the product a little more recognized world wide. The ATV market isn’t as big over there, but it’s growing.

What type of preparation did it take?
A lot! We worked hand in hand with the headquarters in Austria. Basically I did all of the testing and set up here in the US. We did kind of a mock test machine here in the US. We started with an XC, and then put some motocross A-arms on it, and some Ohlins GPS shocks on it. Mark Baldwin made us a couple of engines, and then we had Adam and Taylor come up. We made a loop on one of my tracks that was kind of similar to what I remember that race in France being like. Except I haven’t been there in ten years! So we rode a lot, and did a lot of testing for fuel mileage, because that’s a big part of that race.

How was the race?
We went out and things went well. I qualified like two or three seconds faster than everyone there, so that gave us the pole position. We were out front, but we had a few problems. We had an oil cooler on the machine that we had used for GNCC, and it has worked awesome for us. But here, I guess we were in a higher-speed situation than in the GNCCs, so it introduced higher heat, RPM and higher vibration than we were used to. So we ended up cracking two of those oil coolers. One was in practice, the other was during the first session. We ended up leaking oil out of them. So we spent too much time in the pits during the event. We had the speed and endurance to win the event, and we could have won had we not had a few technical difficulties.

What’s the year been like as a whole? Have you guys exceeded expectations?
Yeah I would say we did. I wouldn’t say I was surprised, because Adam and Taylor both have the ability to win races and be in the hunt for the championship. And I had spent so much time on the ATV that I knew what we could do with it. I knew what it was capable of totally stock, and I knew in racing, we could make it even better. So I was confident in the ATV. Even though it’s a great performance for our first year, I’m not surprised.

Now KTM is getting into the ATV motocross side for 2009. What’s the plans on racing in motocross?
I really don’t know at the moment. We have two big meetings coming up, and we obviously want to figure out a way to make it work in both GNCC and motocross. I don’t think it’s a surprise to hear that everyone’s budgets are tight right now, so we have to keep that in mind.

A multi-time ATVA champion in motocross and flat track,
Farr is having a great time learning the ropes of GNCC Racing.
Hooper photo

What type of work did you have to do to get the motocross ATV ready?
We did the intro at Red Bud. It was really well received. KTM was really excited with how the media took it, and a few people made a comment to me that it was the best reception they’ve ever had for any KTM product they’ve ever launched. So that was good for me.

Did you have a lot of hands on work with the machine?
I did actually, I did a lot. In fact, we did a lot of the early development on the motocross side, and it looked like we were going to do the motocross one first, but in the end we decided to do the XC first. But I had a lot of work into the development of both of those machines.

And you have to be happy with the riders you picked to work with, in Taylor and Adam.
France was awesome. The guys had a great time. I had been there several times, and I was glad to go with those guys. Those boys were in for a big culture shock there and it was fun. Especially the first day or two, the hotel accommodations were in these little old towns, and everything was pretty different, with different menus and accommodations. I know that Adam was pretty nervous about the whole thing. We had fun, but I think Adam was like “Oh I don’t know about some of these places.” But we ended up having a lot of fun, and they both did a great job. It was cool racing with them. For me, I come from a different form, because I did motocross and flat track. They’re cross country guys, plus they’re a lot younger. So maybe they had heard of me as a racer, but I doubt they had ever really seen me race, so I think they were excited to race with me on a team.

They were probably like “This guy is fast!”Â
Yeah and you know it’s cool for me to work with them, too. We’ve had a blast. I didn’t come from GNCC racing, but I’ve had such a good time at those races this year. The people are super nice and the races are run very well. It was an eye opener for me, and I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s a great way to go racing, and I’m glad to be a part of it.