Round four of the 2021 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship gets underway with the Rally du Maroc. And this year, Husqvarna will be there fielding two new 2022 FR 450 Rally racing machines. This after the pair of Skyler Howes and Luciano Benavides completed a “grueling” month-long test.
Husky chose not to attend round three of the Championship. This makes Husky’s last rally the Silk Way Rally, which was held in early July 2021. Since then, Howes and Benavides have been very busy, with both riders working on their roadbook skills, fitness, and testing the 2022 version of the FR 450 Rally.
FR 450 Rally development
The new FR 450 Rally machine has been in development for two years. Husky says that the new machine has “huge” improvements to key areas. The latest version has a new frame, engine, and slimmer bodywork, among other changes.
The Rally du Maroc will be the first time the new machines will be tested under full racing conditions. In addition, Howes and Benevides will also be tested.
Howes’ second-place finish of the shortened Silk Way Rally resulted from his outright speed and ability to adapt his riding to a mixture of terrains. With the podium spot, he rose to second overall in the Championship standings. But after not competing in the Brazilian 3rd round two, he moves back down to third in the standings.
A Dakar 2021 injury forced Benevides to sit out the early part of the Rally Championship. However, his run at the second round of the Championship, the Silk Way Rally, earned him eighth place, placing him seventh in the Championship.
It will be interesting to see what the pair can do against the world’s best competition on the new Husqvarna machines.
All photo credit: Husqvarna