Leading FIM MXGP World Championship motocross team, Hitachi KTM fuelled by Milwaukee, have hit the ‘kill switch’ on their 2023 racing plans with immediate effect. The British crew, helmed by Roger Magee and split between operational bases in Northern Ireland and Belgium, have been forced to curtail their plans for competition in the MX2 Grand Prix class as well as domestic commitments to the British national series.
The decision has been made after the team suffered cuts to their racing budget for 2023. Weeks and months of work to recoup investment and find new partners ultimately proved fruitless and with the international ‘pre-season’ period for MXGP about to get underway Magee and his staff have had to make a difficult call.
Magee created the team in 2005 and success quickly followed with the first of thirteen British Championship titles arriving in 2008. Hitachi KTM fuelled by Milwaukee helped a number of leading UK riders in their journey to the peak of motocross, names such as Stephen Sword, Gordon Crockard, Shaun Simpson, Elliot Banks-Browne, Ben Watson, Graeme Irwin, Adam Sterry and Conrad Mewse. The squad was one of the leading outfits in British offroad racing. They first crested an MXGP podium in 2012 with Kevin Strijbos and then won two premier class MXGP Grands Prix and classified 4th in the world during the 2015 campaign with Shaun Simpson.
Roger Magee, Team Principal: “There have been many stories and it has been a long road since we started the team to help the Simpson family back in 2005. In almost twenty years we’ve had some amazing success. I’m not sure if I could ever have imagined the project to run as long as it did and with so many achievements. The team was built on passion and went through some very tough times but this latest obstacle has been too much to jump over on this occasion. We did all that we could to maintain our plans for 2023 but we had to take a decision before the season came any closer. I want to thank Team Manager Bryan Connolly, all the mechanics, and all the people that have stayed loyal to us for so many seasons. Importantly this also includes Hitachi, Milwaukee and all of other sponsors for their enduring support. I can only send my best wishes to our main riders – Isak Gifting and Kay Karssemakers – because I know they will have strong futures in the sport. Lastly, I’d like to thank my family and all of those who have helped and believed in the team. It’s been one of the most memorable episodes of my life.”
Words by Adam Wheeler