Factory KTM racer Rene Hofer was killed yesterday in an avalanche near Salzburg in Austria, his team confirmed this morning. The 19-year-old Austrian was one of three fatalities, at 2400 metres up in the Lungau district. He was part of an eight-strong group of motocross pals buried up to 4.5 metres deep in snow, local emergency response official Christoph Wiedl told local media. The names of the other victims has not yet been released.
Hofer was part of the Dirk Grubel-run factory KTM team alongside Jeffrey Herlings and Tom Vialle. He won his first MX2 GP moto and overall at Trentino just over five weeks ago, and finished sixth in the world championship this year. He was a very special part of the KTM family as he was the first Austrian rider to take a GP win for the marque for decades. It’s known KTM hoped he would bring a first world motocross title to the brand in one of the premier classes since Heinz Kinigadner took his second world 250 title in 1985.
KTM released this official statement: “The entire KTM family is deeply saddened by the terrible news that MX2 factory racer Rene Hofer, along with two of his friends, has passed away following a skiing incident in Austria.
“KTM would like to send love and heartfelt condolences to Rene’s family, friends, his team, along with the entire motocross community during this incredibly difficult time. Rene, a multi-time junior champion and GP winner with a bright future in Grand Prix ahead of him, will be remembered not only for his talent on the track, but also for his approachable, fun-loving and friendly personality, along with his ever-present smile.
“Rene will be greatly missed by everyone in the KTM family. Ride on peacefully Rene. You will be missed immeasurably. #711”
The team he achieved most of his EMX success with was the German-based Kosak KTM team. They said: “Ride in Peace Rene. We are deeply saddened and would like to express our sincere condolences to the entire Hofer family.”
The British-based Hitachi KTM team said: “RIP, Rene. A phenomenal talent and a person that we will all miss in the MXGP paddock. A very, very sad day for the sport.”