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By Jim Kimball
Being 16th in 450 points after the Southwick National may not seem earth shattering, but Dakota Alix does stand out. When he turned Pro back in 2014, Alix was part of the KTM Orange Brigade Team. This was a 250 team designed to help riders moving from their amateur career into the Pro ranks. It was a short-lived program that was shelved after KTM signed the Troy Lee Designs Team to be the official 250 Pro team.
With no Pro offers after the Ornage Brigade disappered, the Vermont native raced in Europe, Canada, and in the US as a privateer. Showing some speed early in 2017, Dakota was picked up by the Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/WPS/KTM team to fill-in for the injured Benny Bloss in the 250 class. Then when Davi Millsaps decided to get surgery on his wrists after the Supercross season ended, Dakota got an offer to race his 450 outdoors this summer.
DAKOTA, TELL US ABOUT YOUR DAYS ON THE KTM ORANGE BRIGADE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM. In my first year as a Pro, KTM had the Orange Brigade program and I was the first rider on that team I believe. It lasted for two years and then the program went away when Troy Lee Designs took over the 250 program. After that ended I raced a year on my own, and then I went to a Europe for a couple of GP’s. I raced last season up in Canada and now I am on the Rocky Mountain MC/ATV/WPS/KTM ream.
WHAT WAS THE EQUIPMENT LIKE WHEN YOU WERE ON THE KTM ORANGE BRIGADE TEAM? The equipment was pretty good. We were on the older model at the time, but it was a really fun learning experience. It was kind of a bummer deal seeing that whole program fade away. I was the top results rider on that team, so it was discouraging to see it go away, and just be left with no ride. But that’s the way it all works out at times. KTM had an opportunity with a bigger, and better team and they went with it.
WHY DIDN’T YOU GET MOVED TO THE TLD KTM TEAM? My two-year KTM Orange Brigade contract was up. I believe that Alex Frye had one year left on his two-year Orange Brigade contract, so he automatically went to the TLD Team.
Dakota got a fill-in ride on the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM team when they went one man down. After the 250 East, they moved him up for the Nationals.
WHEN AND WHERE DID YOU RACE SOME GPs? It was really last minute that I found out about the possibility. I flew to England and rode a Yamaha one day, and then left for the Spanish GP. I was in England for six weeks, and I did a second GP in France. I decided to come back and race in Canada for the rest of the summer. It was really cool to race in Europe and see how much different everything is over there, especially Spain and France. It was weird, hearing all the different languages. I would not mind going back. It was confusing, and difficult initially, but it was really cool to go over there.
AFTER RETURNING TO THE 250 EAST SUPERCROSS SERIES THIS YEAR, YOU STARTED GETTING NOTICED. Yes, I was feeling really good during the Supercross season, but then about three weeks before the first round, I had an AC separation in my shoulder. So I was behind the eight ball going into the first couple of rounds, but I was able to get a couple of top ten finishes. After Daytona, I filled-in for the Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/WPS/KTM Team and finished out the series with them. Overall, it was an okay Supercross series for me, but I was nursing my shoulder the whole series, so there was not much practicing going on in between the rounds.
GETTING PICKED UP BY THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN KTM TEAM MUST HAVE FELT LIKE A WEIGHT OFF YOUR SHOULDERS. It was a great opportunity for me to ride this bike. The bike is amazing. It is really fast and the suspension is based on testing and my opinions—so that was a huge help. The biggest thing is having the support on race day. The team takes care of everything. My mechanic, Derek Rankin does a great job, and I cannot say it enough that this opportunity was definitely a big help to me.
YOU WERE A 250 RIDER. HOW DID YOU END UP RACING A 450 OUTDOORS? After the St. Louis Supercross, Davi Millsaps decided to get his wrists fixed when the Supercross season ended. The team needed to find a fill-in guy for the 450 Nationals. I had never ridden a 450 until three days before the first National at Hangtown. I am really pumped that they approached me with the opportunity.
YOU HAVE HAD SOME PRETTY CREDIBLE FINISHES FOR SUDDENLY MOVING UP TO THE 450. Thank you, I appreciate it. I just wanted to get top 20 in the beginning and I was able to do that. Now, I’ve had a couple of top 15’s. The best I have done is a couple 13ths overall. The progress has been good and I want to get in the top 10 by the end of the season.
DO YOU THINK THERE IS SOME POTENTIAL FOR YOU TO STAY WITH THIS TEAM FOR NEXT YEAR? If my results keep improving, and they see that, maybe it could work out. I would like to stay on in the future. It would be ideal for me if I did get top ten to stay with the team, and make more progress results wise. I think if I can do that, there is always next year to continue improving. I just have to keep building this and hopefully there are no big bumps in the road.
Dakota Alix (70) and Alex Martin (26).
YOU CAN LOOK AT BENNY BLOSS LAST YEAR, WHERE HE WAS THROWN INTO THE 450’S. HE REALLY EXCELLED, AND WAS DOING AWESOME BY THE SERIES END. Yes. With more time on the bike I will be able to keep getting better and better on it. You never know, it is a long series, some guys get hurt, and you have to be in it to earn points. I am just going to keep trying to plug away, and make progress each and every moto. I’m in it for the long haul.
I HAVE TO IMAGINE THAT THE GUYS ON THE TEAM THAT CAN GUIDE YOU. With the old Orange Brigade KTM team, it was good to have the support on the race day, but the Rocky Mounatin KTM guys have been racing for a really long time, and they have a lot of great advice that has helped me along the way. You know, Forrest Butler, the team owner, he has been running a team for many years now. Michael Byrne, the team manager, is also a huge help. Blake Baggett is awesome, and has helped me a lot. These guys definitely know what they are doing, so it is really great to have their advice and help along the way.
Photos: Brian Converse, Daryl Ecklund, Scott Mallonee