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Dec 6, 2018

​American Gabriel da Silva Wins KTM RC Cup Championship In Mexico

Gabriel da Silva, a 14-year-old American who won the 2018 KTM RC Cup in Mexico.

American Gabriel da Silva, age 14, has won the 2018 KTM RC Cup Championship, run by the Racing Bike Mexico organization, in Mexico, earning him a factory-backed ride for 2019.

Like Sean Dylan Kelly, another racer from South Florida who won Racing Bike Mexico’s KTM RC Cup in 2015, da Silva was too young to join the MotoAmerica KTM RC Cup even though he had been road racing since he was four years old and already head International racing experience. So in 2017, then-13-year-old da Silva started racing in Mexico.

In his first season in the Racing Bike Mexico series, da Silva missed winning the KTM RC Cup Championship by a single point. He then returned to the KTM RC Cup in Mexico in 2018 as the heavy favorite, and he did not disappoint.

“The season started off well at the opening round. I got the pole position and won the race,” da Silva told Roadracingworld.com in a telephone interview.

From there, da Silva’s success continued, putting him in a position to win the Championship in the first race of the doubleheader season finale November 10-11 at Puebla, Mexico’s Autodromo Miguel E. Abed, an infield road course that has a no-passing zone in the final corner coming onto the front straightaway of the oval speedway.

“My rivals got better starts than me, but I was pretty much in a three-person fight for the lead for much of the Race One,” said da Silva, whose primary sponsors include Galfer, HJC, KTM and Motion Pro. “Every corner, me and Juan [Marin] were passing each other. He ended up winning the race, but because of him passing me in a place where he couldn’t he got disqualified. Then I got the [race] win and I won the Championship with that race.

“[On the cool down lap,] I didn’t know for sure I had won the race or the Championship, but I was pretty sure I did. Then when I knew I got it I was pretty happy because I missed it by one point in 2017. Because of that I wanted to make sure I dominated this year, and that’s sort of what I did. So I was happy.”

In total, da Silva won three times and finished on the podium in every one of his seven races in 2018. That performance did not go unnoticed as KTM asked da Silva to compete as one of its “official riders” in Racing Bike Mexico’s 2019 Supersport 300 Championship and to do some wild card appearances in the 2019 FIM Suprsport 300 World Championship, according to da Silva.

“Since last year [2017], I’ve developed a really good relationship with KTM,” said da Silva. “I’ve ridden well and they like the way I’ve worked with them and took care of the bike, never crashing and never abusing the bike. So they wanted me to become an official KTM rider for next year. I’m going to be riding a RC 390 R, so I can’t wait for that.”