Albion KTM UK, one of the most successful British motocross racing teams in recent years, has announced its intention to withdraw from top level competition to concentrate on its core business of selling motor cycles.

Championship winning motocross dealer Albion Motorcycles Limited are to expand their business operation with a move to new premises in Exeter, having relinquished their responsibility for running the KTM motocross team for 2004 season.

The partnership between KTM and Albion thus ends after eight successful years competing at the highest levels in World and British championship events, Albion boss Garry Elston and KTM's UK MD Kevin Burk have agreed jointly to disband the team while still at the top.

This will allow Albion to concentrate on their expansion plans and to develop sales of not only KTM machines but also of other manufacturers.

"I am pleased the split is amicable," said Elston. "KTM continues to be very significant part of our business, however running the team was in danger of becoming a bigger responsibility than continuing to build up Albion... I felt we needed to review the relationship. The upshot is that Albion will bow out as British Motocross Champions in 2003 (with Kawasaki bound Stephen Sword) but who knows what future seasons may bring."

Albion has built up a considerable reputation for tuning and technical expertise, which will now be available to all Albion customers regardless of the make of bike they ride. The firm will offer KTM, Honda. Kawasaki and Husqvarna machines for the coming season.

"Keeping the sport of motocross healthy and competitive at the grass roots as well as at national and international level is very important to us at Albion," added Garry, "and I hope to make some announcements regarding our further plans for possibly helping support a local event or two pretty soon."