Honda Factory to Race the 2013 Dakar Rally With Modified CRF450X
July 22, 2012 - Honda has announced its intention to participate as a works team in the motorcycle class in the 2013 Dakar Rally.
The 2013 Dakar Rally will start in January in South America, travelling north to south through Peru, Chile and Argentina (why the race is still referred to as the Dakar Rally instead of "International Rally" or similar is a mystery, since it hasn't been run in Africa in several years).
Honda competed nine times in the motorcycle class in the forerunner of the present Dakar Rally, the Paris-Dakar Rally, from 1981 through to 1989, and was a winner five times during that period. Honda's return to Dakar Rally next year will be the first in 24 years since 1989.
The "works" Honda team, to be called Team HRC, will include Portuguese rider Helder Rodrigues (website), who took third place in the 2012 Dakar Rally, and Brazilian Felipe Zanol (website), who brings a wealth of experience in motocross and enduro race events.
Also included will be Sam Sunderland (press profile) from the United Kingdom and Javier Pizzolito from Argentina.
New Honda Dakar CRF450X Race Bike to be Developed
The racers will ride a prototype machine developed and produced by the Motorcycle R&D Center. The prototype machine is based on the Honda CRF450X (info), the popular worldwide enduro racing model that combines ease of handling with superior competitive strength.
Kit parts designed for use on the standard
CRF450X model have also been developed and will be made available to a
limited number of teams.
Tetsuo Suzuki, President, Honda Racing Corporation, commented that "The Dakar requires competitors to cover several hundred kilometers per day for more than two weeks. It needs a totally different type of vehicle from events such as motocross, trials and road races. Honda has put a great deal of effort into designing and building a powerful and winning machine. We are aiming for the championship from this first year."