Ex-Dakar Factory Racer – 2007 KTM 660

In Austria, Off-Road, Race by Tim HuberLeave a Comment

The Dakar Rally is probably the most iconic ADV competition in existence. Since 1979, the race has garnered attention from all over the globe, so much so that in 2001 a Paris-Dakar Rally video game was released for the PS2 (and PC). The competition’s route traverses a myriad of different types of terrains over the more than a dozen stages in which racers travel over 500 miles each day. Among growing security concerns, the 2007 murder of a French family in Mauritania forced race officials and organizers to move the annual race. This example is from the last “True” Dakar Rally that ran from Libson to Dakar before the famous race was moved to South America.

KTM has been producing off-road machines for decades, yet it wasn’t until 2001 that the Austrian manufacturer would nab its first Dakar manufacturer’s title when Fabrizio Meoni piloted an LC4 660R to victory. Meoni – who had sharpened his rally skills winning the ’98, ’99, ’00, and ’01 Rallye des Pharaons – would go on to claim a back-to-back Dakar victory in ’02 (aboard an LC8 950R) before the Italian racer would sadly pass away as a result of injuries sustained in a crash during the 11th stage of the ’05 Dakar. Since KTM’s inaugural Dakar win, every machine to have won the world-famous event since has been a KTM.

Though the Ready to Race brand has obviously delivered a later more cutting-edge Rally model since ’07 – the year of this example that is currently for sale – the LC4 660R was one hell of a bike. After Meoni’s success aboard the 660R, four additional Dakar competitors would perform the same feat whilst piloting an LC4. Though other manufacturers are building great ADV machines today, KTM has managed to stay extremely competitive through extensive R&D, ample real-world race experience to draw from, and an undeniable commitment to out-do its competitors.

The 2007 Dakar – which was the 29th running of the event – was an interesting year for the Rally. The route started in Lisbon, Portugal and ended in (you guessed it!) Dakar. This was the last year the race would actually end in Dakar, with the iconic race not taking place the following year in 2008, prior to the event picking up again in 2009 in South America. The event saw its 47th and 48th casualties in ’07 with Elmer Symons dying during his first ever Dakar, and Eric Aubijoux who would be found dead less than ten miles from the finish line in penultimate stage. The Repsol KTM team suffered a difficult year after all of its riders crashed or dropped out of the event, including Marc Coma who was leading the race at the end of several stages, prior to crashing out. Of the 245 riders that crossed the starting-line in ’07, only 132 – one of which was this KTM example – would cross the finish-line.

The 2007 KTM 660 that is currently for sale is one of two examples that the current seller has in his or her stable. Though I’ve been unable to figure out who piloted it or where it placed out of the 132 bikes that finished the ’07 Dakar, this example is nonetheless a Factory KTM race machine (#147) which is a big deal. Since its ’07 competition, this example was shipped back to KTM’s Austrian HQ where it underwent a full rebuild before it wound up on display in a museum for several years. It would eventually land in the possession of the current seller who had the bike legally imported into the States (as a racebike, cannot be converted to a street legal status). Though this example is a decade old, it was so advanced for its time that it would almost certainly still make for a competent ADV machine today.

This KTM is powered by a liquid-cooled, four-valve 660cc thumper. This bike clearly came before the 2011 rule change which limited all motorcycle classes to 450cc. Another KTM 660 Rallye that ran the last African Dakar – which was from the Red Bull KTM team – was auctioned via a Las Vegas Bonhams sale, though I’m unsure of what it sold for, albeit I think its estimated value was between $20k-$25k. Obviously machines from big teams such as Repsol or Red Bull KTM are worth a bit more than other Factory KTM Rallye examples, but pretty much any and every Factory Racer from big-name manufacturers are fairly special bikes, this example very much included.

I also came across a fun sub-four-minute video from the 2007 Dakar that’s something between a commercial and highlight reel, that’s worth a quick (at least partial) watch.

You can find this ex-Dakar Factory KTM 660 for sale here on Craigslist in San Francisco, California with a price of $21,000.