2014 Team HRC Dakar Shakedown
With the 2014 Dakar Rally set to begin Jan. 5, the many teams and racers that hope to endure the world’s “toughest” race are currently in Argentina for preliminary inspections.
Team HRC reported Thursday it is currently in Rosario, Argentina, following two days of testing at Argentina’s Honda Motor factory in Campana, north of Bueno Aires. The team and its riders – Joan Barreda, Helder Rodrigues, Paulo Goncalves, Javier Pizzolito and Sam Sutherland – were greeted with rain, but this helped keep the high temperatures down.
Ahead of the race, the riders/team will have to pass administrative tests, as well as technical inspections of the Honda CRF450 Rally which Team HRC will use.
Each rider tested on the CRF 450 Rally at the Otamendi motocross track, and didn’t have one setback. Everything so far is looking positive for Team HRC at 2014 Dakar.
The 2014 Dakar gets underway at the Rosario starting grid on Jan. 5, where riders head off for San Luís. After crossing Argentina, Bolivia and Chile, the race will wind up in the Chilean city of Valparaíso, after some 5427 miles of Rally.
Katsumi Yamazaki (TEAM HRC Team Director) says: “Yesterday on the motocross track at Campana we had a day of testing. All the preparations are ready and we can finally say, ‘Let’s get the show on the road!’ For now we are in Rosario for the administrative and technical checks, as well as the press conference. TEAM HRC are ready: riders, bikes and all the members of the crew. So far, so good.”
Martino Bianchi (TEAM HRC General Manager) says: “We’ve just a couple of days until the Dakar gets underway. I’m really pleased with the way the work has gone up until now. HRC has carried out a huge task in very little time. The bikes are fantastic. The whole team has worked really hard too. The mechanics and the rest of the team are ready to give it their all, and get the best results out of this Dakar.
“In Campana, Honda Motor de Argentina has given us great support, where we were able to test out the bikes and make the final touches. We’ve been lucky these days; today it’s raining hard, but it was a dry ride yesterday. We are ready to fight for the goal.”
Last year, Honda entered the 2013 Dakar Rally following a 23-year absence. Team HRC took a best finish of seventh overall with Rodrigues at the controls. 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.