MURRIETA, Calif. – Following a record-breaking 2017 performance up Pikes Peak Mountain with the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R, Chris Fillmore and KTM’s Media Racing Department are set to return for the 96th running of the iconic Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, this time aboard the Austrian brand’s latest tool in its street arsenal, the KTM 790 DUKE.
On June 24, ‘The Scalpel’ will make its highly-anticipated U.S. racing debut in the Pikes Peak Middleweight division as Fillmore attempts to top his own course motorcycle record of 9:49.265 on the KTM 790 DUKE. With one year under his belt with the proven KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R, Fillmore has a READY TO RACE approach to the new challenges that come along with a new bike and new class.
Chris Fillmore: “Last year, racing up the mountain was an incredible experience. Being a Rookie, trying to learn everything about the event and the riding up the course was a lot to take in but to set the new course motorcycle record was incredible!! I had mixed feelings about returning but last winter when I was in Europe helping test the 790 DUKE, I immediately knew I wanted to build one to race in the Middleweight class and take on Pikes Peak again.”
Unlike ‘The Beast’, KTM didn’t design the 790 DUKE to be a track weapon but the company’s race-focused philosophy allowed for an easy transition to make ‘The Scalpel’ even sharper for competition. In preparation for The Race to The Clouds, Fillmore attended the official Pikes Peak Tire Test last weekend, where he quickly adapted his riding technique for the KTM 790 DUKE.
“At the Tire Test, I focused on learning the mountain, finding a balance on chassis and choosing gearing for raceday. This new bike is awesome!” Fillmore exclaimed. “It’s so agile and so easy flipping it from side-to-side, I can carry much more corner speed, which I’m going to need if I want to get the class record and challenge for the outright podium.”
Fillmore added, “The stock bike is already on a high level, I know, because I tested it on track in Spain with Jeremy McWilliams against competitor bikes which was very encouraging. We took the stock machine and raided the KTM PowerParts catalog, adding some Wave brake discs, rearsets, a single seat and some other bling. Along with those, we removed the lights, threw in some different spring rates for the suspension, different tires, a special full Akrapovič system and the Brembo master cylinder from the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R.”
In addition to Fillmore’s bid for the Middleweight victory, he will be joined once again by Cycle News Road Test Editor, Rennie Scaysbrook, who put forth an impressive run up the Peak in 2017 to finish second overall in the motorcycle division, giving the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R a 1-2 sweep. Scaysbrook is back with vengeance as he vies for the top spot in the Heavyweight division with the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R, as well as a chance to own the Pikes Peak overall course motorcycle record that he so narrowly missed last year.