KTM might be a big-time player in the supercross and motocross world these days, but the brand still knows its roots are in the off-road scene, and it's not taking any chances on losing its stronghold on that market.
To that end the brand announced defending and three-time AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Champion Kailub Russell has signed a four-year contract extension with the factory FMF/KTM off-road team. But even further, the contract includes an option for four additional years beyond that if Russell, now 26, wants to keep racing. That's potentially an eight-year extension for Russell, designed to keep him on the brand until his racing days are over.
By the way, Kailub's dad, Jeff, was a factory KTM rider and won the 1991 AMA National Enduro Championship for the brand. Kailub also won the AMA National Enduro title last season, making he and Jeff the first father/son combo to ever win that title, and making himself the first rider to ever with the GNCC and National Enduro Championship in the same season.
In addition to his three-straight GNCC Championships in the premier XC1 pro division, he won the GNCC XC2 Lites Championship in 2009 and 2010, and has retaken the XC1 points lead this year after winning the Snowshoe GNCC over the weekend.
“I’m happy to know that I’m going to be able to complete my career where it all began – with KTM,” Russell commented in a press release today. “It’s the only brand I’ve ever ridden since they’ve made a model for each class so it’s only fitting for me to be loyal to the company that has provided me with the tools I need to continue to accomplish my goals.”
“It is one of my career highlights to be able to sign Kailub – who has been with KTM since day one – with a contract that secures him for the duration of his racing career,” said team manager Antti Kallonen. “It’s such a great feeling to see a rider that we signed from day one work so hard for many years to achieve his current success and to know that our relationship will continue throughout the rest of his racing career.”
Russell races a 350XC-F in the GNCCs. After nine rounds of the GNCC Series, he holds a 15-point lead in the National Championship point standings.
The GNCC Series heads into a two-month summer break, resuming with racing on September 11, 2016 at Unadilla in New Berlin, New York.