Honda unveiled its CRF450 RALLY model at the INTERMOT 2012, International Motorcycle, Scooter and Bicycle Fair in Cologne, Germany. The new machine will compete in the 2013 Dakar Rally motorcycle class to be held in January 2013. Honda has 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 four consecutive titles for an overall record of five victories in nine years.
The CRF450 RALLY model is based on Honda's commercial CRF450X enduro racing model, and also features Honda's Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI*) electronic fuel injection system to ensure fuel efficiency and durability. Honda will participate in the Dakar Rally to be held in South America, one of the world's leading off-road motorcycle market, and aims for its first rally victory with a model based on a commercial motorcycle.
An 11-time Baja 1000 champion Johnny Campbell (USA) will join the four riders already announced - Helder Rodrigues (Portugal), Felipe Zanol (Brazil), Sam Sunderland (United Kingdom) and Javier Pizzolito (Argentina) - to complete the five-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.
* PGM-FI is a registered trademark of Honda.