2019 Off-Road Factory Racebikes—Dalton Shirey’s Husqvarna FC 450

This Hare & Hound racer is more than a motocross bike with a big tank

Dalton Shirey’s 3 Bros./SRT Husqvarna FC 450.
Dalton Shirey’s 3 Bros./SRT Husqvarna FC 450 starts out like one of the bikes that go to Jason Anderson or Zach Osborne, but he sets it up for desert racing with some unique personal touches, though the engine is built in the factory racing department and features a six-speed gearbox.Mark Kariya

One might think that going from the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Off-Road Team to a spot on the 3 Bros./SRT Husqvarna privateer squad would kill any dreams a rider had of ever winning again. This, however, hasn't been the case for Dalton Shirey. He won the final round of the Kenda/SRT AMA Hare & Hound National Championship Series last year as a full-on factory racer, though it'd be one of his last rides on the team that decided to put its budget more toward other series.

Thus, Shirey joined the two-man team (along with fellow desert racer Ryan Smith) based out of the 3 Bros. shop in Costa Mesa, California. But don't think that it was a huge step backward. As far as machinery goes, Shirey's FC 450 shop ride is practically as trick as his factory bike—and he proved it's got just as much winning potential when he sailed to victory at round 5 of the series outside of Jericho, Utah, comfortably besting Beta USA's Joe Wasson (who took the point lead there) and Off-Road Support/TBT Racing Kawasaki privateer Jacob Argubright (who slipped to second in points).

Off-road-focused 18-inch rear wheel with 110/100-18 Dunlop Geomax MX52.
One of the big differences is not only switching from a 19-inch to an off-road-focused 18-inch rear wheel, but also running a skinnier 110/100-18 Dunlop Geomax MX52 instead of a 120/90-18 as most do. Shirey believes it aids his cornering. He runs 14/52 gearing; with the special six-speed gearbox, it gives him plenty of top speed.Mark Kariya

While Shirey could’ve chosen to race the cross-country-oriented FX 450, he prefers the feel of the FC. At the heart of his machine is the engine which is built by the technicians in Husqvarna’s race department. Although he wasn’t privy to specifics—they told him it’s just a carefully assembled stock fuel-injected powerplant—one of the main differences is its six-speed gearbox to give the bike longer legs when it comes to fast valley floors. An FMF Factory 4.1 RCT exhaust system completes that package as well as a Rekluse manual clutch.

One of the tallest riders in the series at 6-foot-3, Shirey says, “I try to make the bike fit me more. There are certain things I don’t like on the bike like the [stock] rear tire. The 120/90-18 rear tire doesn’t work for me. I always find myself in funny positions; it puts me in a swap sometimes so I run 110s—110/100-18. I corner better and I carry more momentum—it works better for me.”

WP suspension
The WP suspension is tuned by P Worx from Chile and Zip-Ty Racing in Southern California. Shirey feels that being tall gives him more leverage when he leans forward or back; thus, his settings run stiffer than a normal off-road setup would feel.Mark Kariya

To help accommodate his taller stature, the IMS Core footpegs are slightly lower and set a bit farther back than stock. “It opens up the cockpit for me so I’m more comfortable on the bike,” he says.

Farther up, the Guts seat with gripper ribs is taller than stock and also features a wider midsection; as Shirey shares, “They make the bikes so skinny now, I’m tall and my knees can’t grip the bike [with a standard saddle] and we made part of the seat wider so I can grip the bike [with my knees] and have better control.”

ProTaper handlebar
While the ProTaper handlebar is the stock height and bend, Shirey uses a GPR top clamp and steering stabilizer. He runs stock levers and shaves a couple of ribs off the full-waffle A’ME grips.Mark Kariya

Up top, he prefers the stock ProTaper handlebar though it’s mounted on a GPR V4d triple clamp with GPR’s steering stabilizer. Shirey holds on via A’ME grips. “I like to run the full-waffle grips and I cut two layers off the top where my callouses would sit so [the ribs] don’t bother me, and they’re the thickest ones so it gives me better feel so I don’t get beat up.”

For rubber, Shirey runs Dunlops: “For Hare & Hounds I like to run an MX33 front and an MX52 in the back. I run the SRT mousses.”

A taller Guts seat with both gripper ribs and a wider midsection.
Another concession to his 6-foot-3 height is a taller Guts seat with both gripper ribs and a wider midsection—a feature that gives his knees something to squeeze since most bikes nowadays are so skinny in the midsection.Mark Kariya

A D.I.D X-ring chain drives the rear wheel with its SRT sprocket and he says, “I run 14/52. Stock is 13/48. They’re stock brakes, stock rotors—nothing crazy there.”

The IMS tank holds more fuel at 2.7 gallons and, of course, features a quick-fill receiver. (Earlier this year, he ran out of gas at a WORCS race because he assumed the tank carried 3.2 gallons as the previous version did.) A quarter-turn G2 Ergo throttle helps him drain the tank quickly.

Zip-Ty Racing sharkfin guards the stock rear rotor.
A Zip-Ty Racing sharkfin guards the stock rear rotor. Both rotors and the brake pads are OEM. The IMS Core footpegs are slightly lower and farther back than standard, however, another way Shirey adapts the bike to his height.Mark Kariya

Shirey knows what factory-level WP suspension feels like, and for his 2019 machine, he relies on a unique collaboration of local and foreign tuners. “P Worx and Zip-Ty Racing suspension: It’s like a combination between two guys working together—some guy from Chile; it’s someone [Zip-Ty’s] Ty [Davis] learned off how to do suspension from Chile and he came up here and we all three of us worked together and got the bike working really good. He’s some guru about [suspension]—and he loves Red Bull!” Shirey laughs. “His name is Pedro.”

Shirey’s height definitely affects the way he sets up his suspension: “I have so much leverage because I’m so tall I can lean back and get so much weight on the back end and the front so my stuff’s pretty stiff. If a normal person would hop on it, he’d be like, ‘Your stuff’s stiff!’ but for me it’s plush.”

His win in Utah at round 5 pushed him to sixth in overall points. Having a DNF at round 2 and missing round 3 due to a schedule conflict prevent Shirey from being a title contender this year, but he’s determined to keep the guys at the top of the chart honest and add another win or two. On this bike, it’s entirely possible.