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STROM-CRF450X-990SMT 07-02-2012 02:30 AM

Honda preparing Dakar assault

Honda to participate in the 2013 Dakar Rally

Honda has announced its intention to participate as a works team in the motorcycle class of the Dakar Rally to be held in January 2013 in South America, travelling north to south through Peru, Chile and Argentina.

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. It has been 23 years since it last participated in the Rally.

The Honda team, to be called Team HRC, will include Portuguese rider Helder Rodrigues, who took third place in the 2012 Dakar Rally, Brazilian Felipe Zanol, who brings a wealth of experience in motocross and enduro race events, as well as Sam Sunderland (United Kingdom) and Javier Pizzolito (Argentina).

They will ride a prototype machine developed and produced by the Motorcycle R&D Center at Honda R&D. The prototype machine is based on the CRF450X, 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 supplied to a limited number of teams.

Tetsuo Suzuki, Senior Managing Officer and Director, Chief Operating Officer, Motorcycle R&D Center, Honda R&D Co., Ltd. Commented: “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.”

schattat 07-02-2012 02:40 AM

Damn, you beat me to it! :lol3
Here the link from Honda:

I'm a bit stunned to hear Hélder leaving Yamaha for Honda, though :cry

Brodovitch 07-02-2012 02:48 AM

HRC? Holy crap things just got serious!


dashmoto 07-02-2012 03:03 AM

Well that should liven things up a bit.

Brodovitch 07-02-2012 03:27 AM

So who gets to be whom's water-carrier?

Flood 07-02-2012 03:33 AM

Whoa, that's big.

I guess it's a great time to start a serious assault. Coma and Despres may be past their prime, they're probably both thinking about a career after the Dakar, but are still under contract. Time enough for Honda to prepare a factory program and pick the fruit in 2 or 3 years.

troy safari carpente 07-02-2012 03:57 AM

Could this be the attack of the HRC Clones...???

Originally Posted by Brodovitch (Post 19037759)
HRC? Holy crap things just got serious!


Uh-huh... :nod

Wow... when HRC come to play... they (traditionally) only play to win... no dress rehearsals or warm ups...:huh When you see those three initials, it means business. :deal

I wonder what this means for all of the (previous) Honda Europe, GHR, MecaSystems and other (semi-private) Honda affilliated Dakar efforts we've seen before...?
Have they all just collectively been "B-teamed"...??? :ear

It will be super-interesting to see more details/developments of this HRC effort as the months unfold... :wink:

Deadly99 07-02-2012 04:32 AM

Stoked for Helder, a factory backing is what has been missing for him to nudge Coma or Despres out of the way.

When the 450 rule came out I was hoping to hear news like this, glad it's finally come.

Did Quinn jump to the orange side a few months to early?

Can Honda learn the politics of the race quickly?

Between BF, Husky and Honda is this the year the orange gets dethroned?

How many more days until Dakar :clap

troy safari carpente 07-02-2012 04:36 AM


Originally Posted by schattat (Post 19037747)
I'm a bit stunned to hear Hélder leaving Yamaha for Honda, though :cry

Really...? :ear

Helder has been plugging away with his DIY/Yamaha effort now for a number of years, and making great results... while the "official" YME/YMF outfit continued to do their own thing year after year, with no great degree of sucess...

Then HONDA comes to the table with the offer of a (reputedly) full blow HRC effort for the next Dakar, and ask Helder if he wants a seat...?

On the strength of his recent FIM Cross Country Rally world title and Dakar podiums... it's not surprising he got asked... and if I was in Helders position, I'd be all over the HRC offer like a fat kid on a jelly donut! :clap

schattat 07-02-2012 04:40 AM

Yeah, I fully understand his situation, I too would've gone for it, who wouldn't have? :nod

Carlos M 07-02-2012 08:01 AM

These are fantastic news!!! :clap:clap:clap

If HRC is serious about Dakar (and they usually mean business), this could be Helder's best chance ever. :clap :clap :clap

Evil Invader 07-02-2012 08:45 AM

This will (hopefully) be a good one!

Originally Posted by troy safari carpente (Post 19037911)
It will be super-interesting to see more details/developments of this HRC effort as the months unfold... :wink:




ZequeArgentina 07-02-2012 09:41 AM

Great news!!!
In my case specially for Pizzolito, after his excellent 2011 Dakar (even wih injury in his wrist) and deception in 2012 (acciden while holding a good position) he is now works HRC driver!!

He has been recovering fro injuries since Dakar to now, and almost one month ago got back to a bike!

Excellent news for him!

Brodovitch 07-02-2012 10:11 AM

Sam & Helder at the japanese mx national...

via FB

Clem Kevin 07-02-2012 10:58 AM


Originally Posted by Deadly99 (Post 19038014)
Did Quinn jump to the orange side a few months to early?

Even if he did, his replacement should be a good one, and should be taking Baja this year. Looking forward to seeing that announcement.

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