Honda has just unveiled their new CRF450 Rally model at the 2012 International Motorcycle, Scooter and Bike Fair (INTERMOT) in Cologne, Germany.
Honda competed nine times from 1981 in the forerunner of the present Dakar Rally, the Paris-Dakar Rally and this new machine will compete in the 2013 Dakar Rally to be held in January. Frenchman Cyril Neveu got Honda 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) system to ensure optimum fuel efficiency and durability. This year’s race should be interesting as Honda will be aiming for its first rally victory with a model based on a production machine. The CRF450 Rally model is still currently under development but 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. This year 11-time U.S. 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.