You never know who you’re going to meet. There are over 7 billion people on this rock we call earth, comprising 196 countries that are genuine in their own right. Even the USA, a confederation of 50 states with over 313 million citizens, is a melting pot of different cultures and ideals. Baffling as it might seem, what bridges the gaps from Buffalo to Buenos Aires and San Bernardino to Sydney is the shared passion for machines with two wheels. The love of motorcycles, and in particular motocross, joins the fanatical together as much as geographical, societal, cultural, political and linguistic barriers pull us apart.
Every once in a while, human beings defy logic. Comforts of normal life are cast aside, because wading through uncharted water is appealing. Our Ryan Dungey Replica 2014 KTM 450SXF Factory Edition is the result of a remarkable story involving two perfect strangers (no, Ryan Dungey is not one of these people). One name, Dennis Stapleton, should sound familiar. Stapleton is MXA’s world-renowned, globe-hopping ambassador. He’s raced motocross in Dubai, Ecuador, the Philippines, Denmark, Holland, Kuwait, Finland, Thailand and many other places where most people wouldn’t think that motocross exists. Dennis thrives on adventure. He’s the modern-day Ferdinand Magellan. And just like Magellan, Dennis nearly expired from heat stroke in the humid climes of Southeast Asia a couple years ago—not that far from where Magellan met his end some 500 years earlier. That is the lot in life of world travelers. The other central character to this story is Kim Hedegaard. Never heard of him? Kim is the perfect example of the rabid, but avid, motocross enthusiast. He works long hours in order to fuel his passion—a passion that he invests heavily in.
MXA’s Ryan Dungey Replica project bike is actually Hedegaard’s bike. In fact, Kim had never even ridden the bike when he handed it over to us, but he was nice enough to give us his prize steed to test. Why? International relations. Kim met Dennis at a Danish National in 2011. Hedegaard, a Denmark citizen, and Stapleton liked each other immediately. Since that time, Kim has traveled to the U.S. a handful of times to race motocross in SoCal and hang out with his buddy. That’s how the MXA wrecking crew met the man we call “Denmark Dungey.”
Kim Hedegaard earned the alliterative nickname for several reasons. (1) Hedegaard doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. “Denmark Dungey” is much easier to say. (2) Kim is a dyed-in-the-wool KTM rider. He bleeds orange. How do we know? Hedegaard has purchased a limited-edition KTM 450SXF Factory Edition every year since they began hitting the market in 2012. (3) Kim resembles Ryan Dungey. Sure, the multi-time champ is 20 years his junior, but Hedegaard has a similar build and riding style, and he has the habit of dressing in the same Fox gear as Ryan Dungey.
The moment that KTM unveiled the 450SXF Factory Edition III, Kim Hedegaard was on the phone to Dennis Stapleton. Kim had the money ready to send to Dennis to buy him the most expensive production motocross bike on the market. To Hedegaard, an entrepreneur with a tractor service and construction outfit, money was no object. He desired, nay demanded, the latest and greatest. If Ryan Dungey was racing on the Factory Edition III, then his Danish doppelganger wanted the same opportunity.
There’s a big difference between Dungey’s factory-tuned KTM 450SXF-FE and the 699 Factory Edition bikes that were made for this year. Kim knew that $9899 would get him the latest technology from KTM, including WP 4CS forks, updated frame geometry, increased shock stroke, an Akrapovic exhaust, 1.3-pound weight savings, Red Bull graphics, and an orange frame. But, it wouldn’t get him Roger DeCoster’s key to the race shop. Kim, undaunted, set aside a bushel basket full of Euros to get his 450SXF-FE as close to Dungey’s million-dollar bike as possible.
MXA’s Dennis Stapleton likes to build project bikes. He does them for lots of people and companies, so when Kim asked Stapleton to build him the ultimate 2014 KTM Factory Replica III, Dennis was honored and enthusiastic. We don’t know how you say “money is no object” in Danish, but Denmark Dungey had no upper limit. None! When Dennis was done with Kim Hedegaard’s bike, it was outfitted with a Showa A-kit suspension, Pro Circuit engine mods, a Mettec complete titanium bolt kit, Pro Circuit triple clamps, Think Technologies lightweight seat foam, a complete Hinson clutch (inner hub, pressure plate and clutch cover), GET ignition box (with GPA traction control), Pro Circuit Ti-6 Pro Series exhaust, Kite wheels, Lightspeed carbon fiber skid plate, Moto-Master brake rotors, a lightweight Shorai battery, Raptor footpegs, Works Connection accessories, Renthal hard parts and custom graphics.
What was the total bill? Kim Hedegaard could’ve used the money he spent on his Dungey Replica bike to buy a pristine Mercedes-Benz. For this KTM aficionado and serious racer, however, it was worth every penny. We’re just happy that Stapleton and Hedegaard became friends, because while Kim was in Denmark and before he’d even seen his beautiful bike, we were thrashing it around Perris, Milestone, Glen Helen and Competitive Edge.