2014 Cross-Country Rallies ChampionshipThe six-round 2014 FIM Cross-Country Rallies Championship begins this Friday in Abu Dhabi, and Team HRC has restructured its organizati begin defending the title.
Last year, Team HRC took the title with Paolo Goncalves at the controls of the CRF450 Rally. Gonclaves was able to edge out KTM’s Marc Coma by a mere four points for the title.The 2014 season will be an important year for Team HRC, and it will participate in world championship tests throughout the 2014 season.The biggest change was naming Wolfgang Fischer as Team Manager for the 2014 Cross-Country Rallies and the Rally Dakar 2015.Team HRC also confirms the presence of riders Paulo Gonçalves and Hélder Rodrigues from Portugal, as well as Spanish Joan Barreda. Hélder Rodrigues picked up fifth overall place in the last edition of Dakar 2014 with Joan Barreda taking five stage victories and seventh overall position. Other riders will be announced soon.Martino Bianchi (Team HRC – General Manager) says: “After the success of the FIM Cross-Country Rally World Championship in 2013 and a brilliant career in the off-road motorcycle sector, I’m very happy that Wolfgang Fischer takes on the role as Team Manager for Team HRC. One can be sure that Fischer will bring innovation and enthusiasm to the new team as the team undertakes the new 2014 season. With Rodrigues, Barreda and Gonçalves we have three highly-experienced and motivated riders who HRC can count on to be in the running for victory.”Wolfgang Fischer Team HRC Manager) says: “First of all, I want to thank HRC and General Manager Martino Bianchi, for giving me the opportunity and putting their trust in me to work as Team Manager in the new configuration of the Team HRC. After a few years of intensive work with Paulo Goncalves and Joan Barreda growing together to the highest level in the Rally competitions, we are proud to now make the next step and give our full support to Honda’s ambitious Rally project as official team members. Together with Helder Rodrigues and the great staff of the Team HRC we are sure that we can do a perfect job and are already looking forward to being 100% prepared for getting top results in the Dakar 2015.”Helder Rodrigues (Team HRC Rider) says: “I’m really pleased to continue in the team after beginning this project with Honda and Team HRC two years ago. Extending the contract is always a positive move. We are trying to improve everything and organize the team to go on bettering ourselves. It’s great to start the season this way. We will be able to work as a team, concentrate on the races and on the bike’s development. I hope to have a great season and improve on the result of the last Dakar.”Joan Barreda (Team HRC Rider) says: “I’m really proud to form a part of the official Honda factory “Team HRC”. I’m glad that they’ve placed their trust in me and I hope to pay them back with good results. It has been a very important year for us, and now, with the new structure the team can make a leap ahead with a tighter structure focused on the Dakar. The bike is really competitive and we will go on working so that everything will be ready in the summer to take up the great challenge: the Dakar.”Paulo Goncalves (Team HRC Rider) says: “It’s an honor that Team HRC has put their trust in me. I’m really pleased and excited about what is coming up. Wearing the number one for Honda is a great thing for me. I’m happy to be in the running for the championship. The team is superb: on the team we’ve got the rider who won most stage victories in the last Dakar; Joan Barreda, as well as Hélder Rodrigues who was on the podium twice. Honda has put their trust in us and now we have to fight to the limit to pay them back with wins that Honda deserves.”
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This week, in the first segment Editor Don Williams talks to us about the new Kawasaki Versys 650 LT. It’s the middleweight ADV style machine that uses the same 650 parallel twin motor as the Ninja 650, so it’s an excellent performer in a user-friendly, good looking package.
In the second segment, I chat with one of my dearest industry friends—now retired Honda PR executive, Jon Seidel. Jon’s fascinating career spans some 30 years with Big Red, and gave him some great experiences with some incredible machines. I was fortunate enough to be invited on many of the press launches that he organized. His new project is documenting and saving many of the old archives from years gone by—and incidentally, if you have anything that may be of value to the project, please contact us by email at email@example.com and we’ll pass it all on to Jon.
So on that note, from all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!