In 10 days, the 2012 Dakar gets underway at Mal Del Plata, Argentina, and continues until Jan. 15 in Lima, Peru, with only one day of rest.
One team that will be looking to be on top at the finish line in Lima after a grueling 14 days of racing will be Team Honda Europe, which has two new sponsors for the 2012 Dakar effort – Bel-Ray, a US-based lubrication company, and SuperB, a manufacturer of ultra-lightweight lithium batteries.
And the Bel-Ray SuperB Honda team will have a star 2012 Dakar lineup – the American Quinn Cody, Juan Carlos Salvatierra and Sam Sunderland.
Cody debuted in 2011 Dakar, the 34-year-old California native finishing ninth overall and taking the 2011 Dakar Best Rookie Award. Heading into 2012, Cody is coming off his fourth (and third consecutive) Baja 1000 Mexico Rally win aboard the Honda CRF450X.
Joining Cody will be Salvatierra, "one of Bolivia’s finest motocross and enduro riders." Salvatierra began 2011 Dakar, but received a penalty, eventually finishing 36th overall.
Completing the Bel-Ray SuperB Honda Dakar Team trio is Dubai-based Englishman Sam Sunderland, who will make his Dakar debut in January. The 22-year-old, originally from Dorset in the UK, beat some established top riders in the early stages of the prestigious Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge earlier this year.
Sunderland took two stage victories in Abu Dhabi before being forced into retirement with mechanical problems, but showed his speed again in the Australasian Safari in September, winning three stages despite an early collision with a kangaroo, Honda Europe reports.
Henk Hellegers (Team Honda Europe’s Team Owner/Manager) says: "We are very happy to have Bel-Ray and SuperB on board as they fit perfectly in line with our ambitions and goals especially with their quality and innovation, which is vital to be successful in the Dakar. With the use of Honda’s quality products, and the motivation within the team as well as that of our sponsors, it’s great we are all working towards our ultimate aim with the perfect tools to do the job.
"We have three great riders in Quinn Cody, Juan Carlos and Sam Sunderland. Quinn has proven to be fast last year, and we hope he can build on that performance. With Sam we have a new rider for the future, and at the recent press conference in Dubai we agreed a long-term relationship with both him and Honda. This forms part of our long-term plan for many years of success at the Dakar, and we’re very excited about our future prospects," concluded Hellegers.
Steven Bradshaw (SuperB) says: "Super B are especially delighted to be supporting Team Honda Europe because it gives us yet another opportunity to give our batteries another thorough workout and what better event to give a battery a work out than the legendary Dakar.
"The Honda CRF 450X is a brilliant bike and well proven in the Dakar. When a bike or car is as highly tuned as the Honda CRF 450X there represents very few ways of dramatically increasing performance or reducing weight and the Super b lithium battery reduces weight by at least 2 kilos for just a couple of hundred Euros. Not only that but it improves performance dramatically and takes away that ‘will my bike start’ fear from the rider. Good luck to all at Team Honda Europe."
Bel-Ray lubricants have also been used by Team Honda Europe for many years and the American company will be increasing its support to joint-title sponsor level alongside SuperB for Dakar 2012.
Jennifer Liquori (Bel-Ray Chief Operating Officer) says: "Competing in the Dakar is a true test for any machine, especially oil. We are thrilled to have aligned to a true contender. Sold throughout the world, and especially into South America, our products have a proven track record, delivering optimal results every time.
"Through our partnership with the Bel-Ray Super B Honda team, we will have the ability to further test performance and develop next generation technology for the future. We look forward to an exciting Dakar race event."