2012 Dakar: Speedbrain Husqvarna Preview

2012 Dakar Rally

Husqvarna’s new rally bike developed by Speedbrain is a very specialized bike, with many tricky solutions developed and designed in countless hours of testing and engineering.

It takes advantage of various elements out of the Husqvarna TE 449 and also the BMW G 450 X, and, apart from the strong TE 449, it’s especially lightweight and easy to handle both in fast and technical conditions.

Wolfgang Fischer (Speedbrain Husqvarna Team Manager) says: "We are very happy that we could convince Husqvarna to partner with us for our rally bike developments and we are proud to continue to be a partner of the BMW Group and Husqvarna.

"I want to especially thank my staff, who believed strongly in the project, working very hard on countless days, long evenings and weekends, to make our vision happen. I also want to thank our sponsors and tech- nical partners for their great and fast sup- port in many ways. I am sure we can prove in the 2012 Dakar the huge potential of the team, the bike and the riders we ́ll have at the start in Mar del Plata on 1st January."

Paulo Goncalves is the most experienced rider of the quartet. At the Dakar 2011, the Portuguese soon emerged as the spearhead of the team. For the Dakar 2012, he is clearly aiming for more stage wins and the overall podium.

Joan Barreda has displayed tremendous speed at the recent Morocco Rally, where he won two stages upon his official Husqvarna debut ride. The Spaniard and Goncalves led the race at several stages, celebrating one-two results on the opening day as well as on day three. Barreda suffered a crash towards the end of the week. Goncalves ran into technical problems, but both riders showed they have the tools to run with the world’s very best rally raid riders.

Although the Dakar doesn’ touch home soil for Ike Klaumann and Zé Hélio, the Brazilian pair are certainly enjoying some sort of home advantage. Both have solid experience coming from the Rally dos Sertoes, the toughest race of its kind in South America.

ZéHélio is a five-time Sertoes champion and has shown flashes of brilliance before at the Dakar. Klauman is a bit of an unproven entity, yet the team youngster will benefit from his broad skill set. Whether it’s the Six Days Enduro, Cross Country racing or rallies, Klaumann’s versatility makes him a strong addition to the team.

Initially, the quartet was a quintet. The French veteran David Frétigné was with the team but had to withdraw his start only a few days before Christmas. The multi-time stage winner already missed the last Dakar due to injury. Later this year, he suffered another injury – another setback for the 41-year-old family man. End of November, he was given green light and was eager to return to the legendary rally. But only two weeks before the start of the Dakar 2012, his doctors advised him to withdraw, as he has not fully recovered from his injury yet.