In a move that mirrors that of Honda in the world championship, The Red Bull KTM have taken the decision to no longer run a 250 program in the US and handed the gig to the Troy Lee Designs KTM squad. With TLD already having a healthy number of top-rated riders in Jessy Nelson, Shane McElrath and Mitchell Oldenburg, who finished 5th, 9th and 16th in the AMA motocross championships, two more riders, Justin Hill and Alex Frye, have been fitted into the team.
Hill crosses over from the Red Bull team and Frye has been transferred from the FMF Orange Brigade, which will now focus purely on amateur racing, with TLD becoming the factory team. The merger means that KTM will have a presence in the East coast SX championship which marks a first for the Austrian manufacturer, the TLD team splitting their riders with three on the West and two on the East. Oldenburg is on an SX only deal with any outdoor contract dependant on his results in the indoor venues
On the surface it would seem to be the loss of another top team in the paddock, but the decision to focus the Orange Brigade on solely developing and working with new talent rather than hot-housing young riders into the top ranks too quickly is a welcome move for many. KTM narrowly missed out on the AMA motocross title this year and the TLD team will hope to come away with the silverware both outdoor and indoor with the squad of home-grown US talent.