2013 Dakar Rally
It’s been 23 years since Honda last participated in the Dakar Rally, but for the 2013 edition, the Japanese motorcycle marquee has confirmed its entry.
The Honda team, called Team HRC, will use the talents of Helder Rodrigues, who took third in the 2012 Dakar Rally (won by KTM’s Cyril Despres). Joining Rodrigues will be the Brazilian Felipe Zanol, who brings a “wealth of experience in motocross and enduro race events,” and Sam Sunderland (United Kingdom) and Javier Pizzolito (Argentina).
The four will pilot prototype Honda CRF450X motorcycles produced by the Motorcycle R&D Center at Honda R&D. Honda says the CRF 450 X is a popular worldwide enduro racing model that combines ease of handling with superior competitive strength.
Kit parts designed for use on the standard CRF 450 X model have also been developed and will be made available to a limited number of teams that will run at the 2013 Dakar Rally this January, which will travel north to south through Peru, Chile and Argentina.
Honda has 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.
Tetsuo Suzuki (President, Honda Racing Corporation) says: “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.”