Ballymena rider Robert Hamilton has switched to the new 450 SX-f KTM in the Go-MX / Norman Watt KTM by Enjoy, livery for the 2019 season.
After an extensive winter test programme is quietly confident of challenging for MX1 championship honours in the new season.
“I’m pleased with how the winter testing on the new KTM has gone and I’m ready to get back on track and challenge for both the Ulster, Irish and G7 MX1 titles,”he said.
Runner up in both the Ulster and Irish MX1 championships in 2018 the 31-year-old knows that winning the titles this time around won’t be easy but at the same time are within his grasp providing everything goes to plan in the new season.
“This is the first time for me to race a 450 KTM and the bike seems to suit my style,” he said. “The power is there and it is suiting me down to the ground. I’ve done a lot of practicing over the close season, the most I have ever done and it is coming together nicely.
“As riders we all want to win and we will go out and do our best, hopefully get the right results and keep all the sponsors happy. I’m no different and hopefully by the end of 2019 I will have my name on the titles.”
Hamilton’s racing career began when he was only six years-old and from that young age he always had that something special. Over the years he has won many titles and back in 2010 did the domestic double taking the crown in both the MX1 and MX2 Ulster championships. Not many riders have that accolade on their CVs. The one title that has always eluded him though is the Irish but maybe 2019 will be the year that he puts that right.
“I’ve never won an Irish but always finished in the top three so fingers crossed for this year,” said Hamilton.
“I’m not one of those riders who risks everything to win races. Certainly I’ve won plenty but over the years but I have always aimed to finish in the top three because consistency wins championships.”
The last time he rode a KTM was back in 2014 in the Red Bull Pro Nationals two-stroke class in England and he won the championship so the KTM move for 2019 might just be what he needs to complete the championship winning package.
Looking back the 2018 season did not start the way he had planned. A few issues with the 450 Yamaha at the start of the season ruined his championship chances. Around June time he switched to Honda and the results improved from then on.
On his first outing on the new bike at Robinson’s he finished second but unfortunately by that time the titles were out of reach. In fact his only win in 2018 was at the final Irish Championship round at Munster when he rode the Honda to victory in race one only to be hampered with with punctures in the following races.
“I was so discussed I packed the van and went home,” he recalled.
Looking on the bright side it could be a good omen taking that win, because that’s the venue for round one of the Irish championship this weekend.
“I like the track,” he said. “It is an old GP style track. On a wet day there is as much grip as there would be on a dry day. My type of track, so who knows.
“I think all the championships will be a lot stronger this year with the extra prize money and riders moving up into the class.
“I am ready for the challenge but it wouldn’t be possible without a lot of help from the likes of Stevie Mills of O-MX Distribution and Glenn Ross of G&G Ross who have supported me throughout my career also my father in law Kevin Traynor at KGT Suspension Services Ballymoney and my wife and family. Their help and support has been invaluable.”