Honda has unveiled its CRF450 Rally model at the 2012 International Motorcycle, Scooter and Bike Fair in Cologne, Germany. The new motorcycle is meant to compete in the 2013 Dakar Rally to be held from January 2013.
The CRF450 Rally model is based on Honda’s commercial CRF450X enduro racing model, but also features Honda’s Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI*) electronic fuel injection system to ensure fuel efficiency and durability. Honda will be aiming for its first rally victory with a model based on a production machine.
11-time U.S. Baja 1000 champion Johnny Campbell (USA) will join the 4 riders already announced-Helder Rodrigues (Portugal), Felipe Zanol (Brazil), Sam Sunderland (United Kingdom) and Javier Pizzolito (Argentina)-to complete the 5-man Honda team.
The CRF450 Rally model currently under development has already undergone testing in Japan, and will be ridden in its first race at the Morocco Rally from October 14th. The five riders set to compete in the Dakar Rally will ride the Morocco Rally mainly to gather data, identify any problems with the machine under actual race conditions, and pinpoint any operational issues.
Honda competed nine times from 1981 in the forerunner of the present Dakar Rally, the Paris-Dakar Rally. Cyril Neveu (France) rode Honda to its first victory in 1982, the race’s fourth year, and from 1986 to 1989 Honda won 4 consecutive titles for an overall record of 5 victories in 9 years.