Five minutes... Jaume Betriu: “I will compete with the 2024 KTM EXC 300 to develop it with the KTM R+D team”
With the all-new 2024 KTM EXC range on the horizon, EnduroGP top 10 rider and former E3 class runner-up Jaume Betriu has switched from the “big mama” 500 to race the next generation, fuel injected, 300cc two-stroke for the WP Eric Auge team in this year’s world and Spanish championships as development rider for the factory.
With a pedigree which includes Spanish national titles, EnduroGP podiums and overall E3 class runner up, plus ISDE podiums and the even the Dakar, Jaume Betriu has some pedigree as a rider. You could argue he’s the best rider not to have a factory contract in the EnduroGP paddock.
His continued place in the WP Eric Auge team and his results have brought reward with a big change ahead in the 2023 season as he returns to race the KTM 300 EXC two-stroke after successive campaigns on the big 500 EXC.
It’s much more than a switch from four to two-stroke within E3 class though, betriu will compete on the all-new, 2024 KTM 300 EXC in both the EnduroGP World Championship and the Spanish National series with the aim of developing the model that will go on sale next season.
Enduro21 caught up with Jaume at the WP Eric Auge team launch to understand more about the switch back on a 300 two-stroke after so many seasons on the infamous “big mama” 500, and that development role for our fuel injected future...
Jaume Betriu: “I had already been with the 500 for three years and at the end of last season [‘22] I already had the idea of making some change. In the end, this great opportunity came up, which is to race the 2024 KTM EXC 300 all year to develop it together with the KTM R+D team.”
It’s a new role for Betriu in his Eric Auge racing team but a positive sign from KTM that they want one of the most experienced riders inside the EnduroGP top 10 racing at the highest level on a 300 two-stroke – a bike which has won so many world titles in the past but a big, fat zero since things turned TPI.
You will develop the TBI (throttle body injection) two-stroke. How did that come about?
“I’ve been training with the new model for a month now and everything is going great. The new injection bike is doing very well.
“The whole plan arose from a comment. We proposed it to KTM when they came to Eric Augé's facilities to do suspension tests and the idea went ahead. The two-stroke has been a motorcycle that I rode for two years, I liked it a lot and the truth is that I wanted to go back. This year is the perfect opportunity to come back because this bike is evolving a lot and it works very well. I am very happy with this change.”
No carb diet…
“I rode the 300 two-stroke in 2016 and 2017 and it was the last few years before TPI came in. Since then I have been with the 350 and the 500 four-stroke but this year the bike has completely changed: engine, chassis, swingarm, I will have to evolve and develop it. I am looking forward to starting because we have a very good base to work on.”
We haven’t seen the 2024 EXCs yet, what is different about the new bike?
“For 2024 the EXC two-strokes continue to be injected and also incorporate the electronic exhaust valve, which is a great step forward.
“Regarding the chassis and swingarm, there is a big change and in general the whole bike is much more stable and predictable, as well as having very good traction. I think they have evolved the bike a lot and we will try to evolve it further.”
With the big mama behind you, how different is it to ride compared to a lighter 2T?
“The 500 is a very good bike but now that the more technical races are coming back in recent years, with quite complicated extreme tests, it becomes difficult to take it to 100%.
“Physically you always have to be at more than 100% and the day you are lower it is difficult to carry it. It has a lot of motor and you have to know how to control it well. With the 300 you have less inertia and it is much lighter and more agile when riding. The Big Mama sometimes complicates braking, cornering and difficult areas a bit.
“In recent seasons my way of riding has changed a bit and now this month that I have been riding the two-stroke I have returned to the way I used to ride the 300. It is a style that suits me more, a bit more aggressive than with the 500, but it is a motorcycle with a lot of engine that allows you to go with a high gear how I like. You can use the engine a lot in low and medium ranges and it allows you to let the bike run a lot. The style of the 300 two-stroke suits my riding very well.”
What are your objectives for 2023? EnduroGP E3 class will be more competitive this year…
“In the Spanish enduro championship I want to be ahead both in the scratch and in the E3 category. For the EnduroGP World Championship I want to be up top again in E3, on the podium and enter the top five scratch. In the end, the EnduroGP category is where you measure yourself against the best and when you enter the top seven or five it means that your results are good.
“E3 will be full this year with Brad Freeman, the TM guys, Antonine Magain, Leo Le Quere… there are always good riders in E3 so it will be a close class. This actually helps us all improve and pick up the pace so that’s great.”
Photo Credit: Roger Roger Photography + Future7Media | Nicki Martinez