By Troy Siahaan
In honor of Independence Day here in the U.S. of A., we thought we’d bring you this incredibly exciting on-board footage of Chris Fillmore flying up America’s mountain – Pikes Peak. The 2018 edition of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb marks the 96th running of the event, and this year Fillmore chose to tackle the mountain aboard the all-new KTM 790 Duke, which is slated to come to these shores later this year. And what better marketing for the 790 Duke than by setting the middleweight course record at a 10:04.038 – smashing the previous record by more than 30 seconds! Fillmore’s time was also good enough for third place overall.
If you remember, Fillmore came to the mountain last year – as a rookie – aboard the almighty 1290 Super Duke R and set a new motorcycle record of 9:49.265, bettering the previous lap record held by Carlin Dunne (the overall motorcycle winner of the 2018 race) of 9:52.819. As Fillmore explains in this KTM interview, the 790 Duke is a different animal compared to the 1290 Super Duke.
Photo: Brapp Snapps Media
For starters, there’s the obvious displacement difference. You need all the power you can get at Pikes Peak, as the elevation and thin air saps power from internal combustion engines the higher you go (not to mention the toll it takes on the rider). The switchbacks at Pikes Peak demand torque on exit to get a good drive and to achieve fast lap times. This is where the 1290 Super Duke shows its greatest strength over the 790.
Moreover, the 790 wasn’t designed to be a track weapon, but with a mantra like “Ready to Race,” having carte blanche access to the KTM Power Parts catalog meant Fillmore could turn the bike into the scalpel …read more