Honda Pro Racing News Release
Team Honda Europe has announced two important new sponsors for Dakar 2012 and will start the famous rally in Mar Del Plata, Argentina, on 1 January under the new name of Bel-Ray SuperB Honda with its best-ever rider line-up of Quinn Cody, Juan Carlos Salvatierra and Sam Sunderland.
American Cody will be the team’s lead rider once more after demonstrating his speed and rallying ability during his Dakar debut in January 2011. After a careful start, the 34-year-old Californian ended the race in ninth place overall and won the event’s Best Rookie award.
Cody takes great form into Dakar 2012 after having won his third straight Baja 1000 rally in Mexico last month on a Honda CRF450X – his fourth overall Baja victory.
Cody will be joined in Team Honda Europe by Juan Carlos Salvatierra, one of Bolivia’s finest motocross and enduro riders. After winning several South American titles, Salvatierra started the early stages of Dakar 2011 with a big time penalty but fought his way back to 36th place overall.
The Bel-Ray SuperB Honda team trio is completed by Dubai-based Englishman Sam Sunderland, who will make his Dakar debut in January. The 22-year-old, originally from Dorset in the UK, beat some established top riders in the early stages of the prestigious Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge earlier this year.
Sunderland took two stage victories in Abu Dhabi before being forced into retirement with mechanical problems, but showed his speed again in the Australasian Safari in September, winning three stages despite an early collision with a kangaroo.
Super B is a manufacturer of ultra-lightweight lithium batteries, which have been used by the team since their introduction four years ago. The company has increased its commitment to the team for Dakar 2012 after supporting Quinn Cody’s entry in the 2011 rally.
Super B’s Steven Bradshaw said: “Super B are especially delighted to be supporting Team Honda Europe because it gives us yet another opportunity to give our batteries another thorough workout and what better event to give a battery a work out than the legendary Dakar.”
“The Honda CRF 450X is a brilliant bike and well proven in the Dakar. When a bike or car is as highly tuned as the Honda CRF 450X there represents very few ways of dramatically increasing performance or reducing weight and the Super b lithium battery reduces weight by at least 2 kilos for just a couple of hundred Euros. Not only that but it improves performance dramatically and takes away that ‘will my bike start’ fear from the rider. Good luck to all at Team Honda Europe,” concluded Bradshaw.
Bel-Ray lubricants have also been used by Team Honda Europe for many years and the American company will be increasing its support to joint-title sponsor level alongside SuperB for Dakar 2012.
Bel-Ray’s chief operating officer, Jennifer Liquori, commented: “Competing in the Dakar is a true test for any machine, especially oil. We are thrilled to have aligned to a true contender. Sold throughout the world, and especially into South America, our products have a proven track record, delivering optimal results every time.”
She added: “Through our partnership with the Bel-Ray Super B Honda team, we will have the ability to further test performance and develop next generation technology for the future. We look forward to an exciting Dakar race event.”
Team Honda Europe’s Team Owner/Manager Henk Hellegers said: “We are very happy to have Bel-Ray and SuperB on board as they fit perfectly in line with our ambitions and goals especially with their quality and innovation, which is vital to be successful in the Dakar. With the use of Honda’s quality products, and the motivation within the team as well as that of our sponsors, it’s great we are all working towards our ultimate aim with the perfect tools to do the job.”
“We have three great riders in Quinn Cody, Juan Carlos and Sam Sunderland. Quinn has proven to be fast last year, and we hope he can build on that performance. With Sam we have a new rider for the future, and at the recent press conference in Dubai we agreed a long-term relationship with both him and Honda. This forms part of our long-term plan for many years of success at the Dakar, and we’re very excited about our future prospects,” concluded Hellegers.
The team’s support vehicles have already been shipped in the well known colours of Bel-Ray. Bikes, riders and crew will have the new team colours in South America before being presented at Dakar 2012 scrutineering in Mar Del Plata on 30 December.