9 September 2013
South Africa’s Tyla Rattray has been signed by the Husqvarna Factory Racing team for the 2014 FIM Motorcross World Championships. Rattray is a former world champion, having won the MX2 (250cc) title in 2008.
Husqvarna, which is based in Austria after a 2013 takeover by Pierer Industrie AG, recently made clear its intention to be a major player in next year’s Championship series by entering a full factory team for both MX1 and MX2 classes.
In the MX1 (450cc) class it will be Rattray and Australian Todd Waters wearing the Husqvarna colours, while in the MX2 (250cc) class Romain Febvre of France and Alexandr Tonkov of Russia will represent the new team.
Rattray, who won the MX2 World Championship with the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team in 2008, has spent recent seasons competing in the AMA Supercross (SX) and Motocross (MX) competitions in the USA, and ended the 2011 season as runner-up in the AMA 250 MX class.
Now 28, he first relocated from South Africa to Germany in 2000 to compete internationally and qualified for his first GP races in 2001 at the age of just 15.
Five years ago, Rattray became only the third South African to win a FIM Motocross World Championship, following in the footsteps of Grant Langston and Greg Albertyn, when he became the MX2 world champion after the Italian Grand Prix in September 2008.
SA’s first world champion
Two decades ago Albertyn became South Africa’s first MX world champion when he won the 125cc (two-stroke) Championship in 1992. He later won two 250cc World Championships – in 1993 and 1994 – before relocating to the USA.
Langston got his break in 1998 when he moved to the Netherlands, followed two years later by his victory in the 125cc World Championships.
At the time, the teenage Rattray was relatively unknown in international motocross circles. He joined fellow South Africa Gareth Swanepoel on the international circuit, and the two of them made waves until Rattray finally picked up a ride with the KTM factory team. He went on to be crowned world champion in 2008.
Waters, who team up with Rattray in the MX1 line-up for Husqvarna, is currently racing for the Motorex KTM Racing Team in Australia. He has overcome injury in the current season to be in second position in the 2013 National Championship after nine of 10 rounds.
Finnish Motocross legend Antti Pyrhonen, presently of F1 star Kimi Raikkonen’s Ice One Racing, will manage the Red Bull Ice One Husqvarna Factory Racing MX1 team and brings with him a wealth of first-hand experience in motocross and personal association with the Husqvarna brand.
“Ice One Racing is pleased to welcome Tyla Rattray and Todd Waters, both from outside Europe, to the World Championship series,’ said Raikkonen.
“The new Red Bull Ice One Husqvarna factory team is aiming for the top. We believe it can be reached by our dedication to the sport, and by the commitment of our riders and their determined will to win.”