In the Victorian offroad or enduro circles, it is rare to find someone who doesn’t recognize the name Bolton. Bolton’s Motorcycles has been a KTM dealer for as long as anyone can remember and is the largest KTM Original Spare Parts dealer in the country. So it would make sense that the next generation boasting the Bolton name would be an enduro racer – on a KTM of course! We caught up with Alex Bolton – 23-year-old son of owners Bruce & Toni Bolton – about his riding and in particular the secret Orange weapon that he races . . . the 2016 KTM 350XC-F
2016 350 XC-F
How long have you been racing:
I started racing small club events when I was 11. I didn’t start racing larger events/series’ until I was 13. I started taking racing more seriously from then on. Still having just as much fun though!
Favourite riding destination / favourite race:
My favourite riding destination would definitely be the Simpson Desert, I’ve crossed it in both directions now and hope to be back out there again soon! And my favourite race is the Hattah Desert race.
Best Riding Story:
When I was younger I was out riding with my Dad, I would have been about 7 or 8 and I was trying so hard to keep up with him! I had the biggest crash trying to hang onto the old man! Took me a few more years to take the father son title 😉
There are so many other moments that have happened over the years as well. But one that comes to mind was earlier this year play riding on a sand hill called Big Red near Birdsville. I thought I would show off to a group of 4WD’s and do a jump off the top of Big Red . . . well I hit it way too fast, jumping a lot bigger than I wanted to! I nearly shit myself in the air, landing and jarring my wrists. But I rode off like I meant it and acted casual!
What is it that you love most about racing?
I couldn’t pin point one thing in particular, there is just too many. The adrenaline rush you get in amazing, along with the feeling of freedom and just the competitiveness of trying to beat your mates!
What is it that you love most about the KTM XC range?
They are the perfect model to cater for all types of riding/racing. They are perfect for offroad racing; having an 18 inch rear wheel, side stand, a larger clear fuel tank and a wider ratio gear box compared to the motocross range.
This allows a slightly smoother power delivery, making the slippery conditions very manageable. They are also great if you find yourself on a motocross track. The 4CS forks and link rear shock is set up slightly firmer than the EXC range, for great handling over jumps. The engines power delivery is more aggressive than an EXC which allows you to be competitive during motocross starts and ride the bike with plenty of aggression. I think the XC range brings the perfect all round package for all types of riding.
Is there anything extra you do to your XC to get it Ready to Race?
My 350 XC-F was practically Ready to Race straight out of the box! But there were a few things I did to it to suit me personally. Firstly, I got Anthony from Choice Suspension to set my suspension up for my weight and personal preference, which topped off this amazing bike! Fit mousse tubes which are really helpful for offroad racing. The other accessories fitted are straight out of the KTM Hard Parts Catalogue and include hand guards, brake and clutch levers, case saver, right angle fuel line connector and a rear chain guide. I also changed the gearing slightly to suit tighter conditions and fit a Bolton Motorcycles sticker kit!
The XC range can only have Rec Reg (which is only in Victoria) which just requires a working head and tail light and a brake light. All of which are fitted on my bike at the moment and is easy to fit up!
Where to next with your KTM?
There is not much more for me to do with my new XC-F, this new model/generation KTM is incredible! How well they handle and in particular how well they steer is awesome. The weight reduction is also really noticeable, as is the increase in horsepower. There is so many new and improved features on these models, KTM have built this bike new from the ground up, based on the radically new 2016 SX bike. I really just can’t wait to get out on it and race the 2016 season!
Photo Credits: Lee Popowski & Troy Pears