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Metalworking shop Kraftfahrzeug Trunkepolz Mattighofen took its name from founder Hans Trunkenpolz and the town of Mattighofen in Austria in 1934, but didn’t start with KTM motorcycles until 1953.

Although KTM competed in Austrian road racing from 1954 with some success, the company became known primarily for their results in off-road and adventure racing. 1974 saw Gennadij Moiseev win the first 250cc Motocross World Championship for KTM, followed by two more titles in the 1970s, and two titles for Heinz Kinigadner in the 1980s.

In 1991 the company filed for bankruptcy and three new companies appeared. Ignoring the bicycle and radiator divisions, KTM Sportmotorcycles GmbH focused on a new ‘Hard Enduro’ concept with 125cc titles in 1990, 1991 and 1992, the 500cc title in 1990 and the 350cc title in 1992. 1993 saw a commitment to rally racing with wins at the Atlas Rally, and 1994 the Duke road series underlined the importance of the off-road style and influence to KTM. In 1995 they expanded with the acquisition of Husaberg AB.

2003 saw the launch of the KTM 950 Adventure, with the 990 Super Duke following the next year, and the announcement of the RC8 Venom at the Intermot show in Munich. 2003 also saw the company enter the 125cc GP championship with Mika Kallio finishing second overall in 2005 (with KTM clinching the constructors title), and 2006. KTM also enter the 250cc class in 2005. In 2007 Bajaj Auto Ltd acquired a 14.5% stake in the parent company of KTM Sportmotorcycles AG which had increased to 38.09% by the end of 2010. And in 2008 KTM launched the 1190cc RC8 sportsbike


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