6 days in the past | Phrases: Andy Wigan | Photographs: Husqvarna Bikes
On this week’s PR, the Husqvarna Manufacturing unit Racing crew displays on the up-and-down 12 months for his or her riders, Skyler Howes and Luciano Benavides, and charges their possibilities for the massive one: the upcoming 2023 Dakar Rally, which kicks off in Saudi Arabia on December 31…
The 2022 season didn’t begin in the easiest way for both Luciano Benavides or Skyler Howes, with each riders enduring disappointing Dakars for various causes. Whereas Luciano spent the rally combating again from a tricky first day, the place he fell foul of some unpredictable navigation, Skyler crashed out of the occasion on day 5. Each riders returned to motion at Spherical 2 of the FIM World Rally-Raid Championship (the Abu Dhabi Desert Problem), nevertheless, and claimed top-10 outcomes after placing in robust performances whereas racing via the UAE desert.
After an extended summer time break the place the duo raced in a number of native occasions in addition to spending weeks with the crew growing and testing their FR450 Rally machines, they resumed their world championship campaigns at Spherical 3 in Morocco. It was throughout this second half of the season that each one the onerous work paid off, as Howes went on to assert his first ever world championship victory with a win on the Rallye du Maroc, main Benavides residence for a Husqvarna Manufacturing unit Racing one-two. Then on the Andalucia Rally in Spain, Luciano secured a second consecutive world championship podium outcome with a wonderful trip to 3rd place.
Very happy with the texture and efficiency of their machines, and each in high kind bodily, each Howes and Benavides now sit up for the primary spherical of the 2023 FIM World Rally-Raid Championship, specifically the Dakar Rally, which begins on December 31st in Saudi Arabia. The 14-stage occasion guarantees to throw up a number of new challenges to all opponents by way of lengthy timed specials and much more technically demanding navigation. With simply weeks to go earlier than the occasion begins, Husqvarna Manufacturing unit Racing are undoubtedly up for the problem.
Skyler Howes: “I’m tremendous excited for Dakar 2023. The rule adjustments we’ll have, the longer format, and the powerful navigation they’re promising, that each one fits me and my type effectively. It’s going to be powerful, that’s for positive, however I’m prepared to provide it every little thing I’ve. It’s all up to now now, however I suppose issues began out fairly tough for me this season – having to withdraw from the Dakar on stage 5 was clearly an enormous blow and it took a very long time to get well. I went into Abu Dhabi method lower than 100% however was in a position to end the occasion. After that issues began to show round – I took the win on the Silver State 300 and the Vegas to Reno races, which was nice. However then the victory on the Rallye du Maroc was on one other degree. It was my first world championship win, and one thing I had dreamed about my entire profession. These outcomes, together with all of the testing I’ve performed with the crew and the event to the bike… man, I’m going into the 2023 Dakar filled with confidence. My very own private coaching has been going very well, too. We nonetheless have one other crew check to go in December, after which extra work within the gymnasium, however I’m actually excited for Dakar 2023.”
Luciano Benavides: “The 2022 season has been the very best 12 months of my profession up to now. I completed fourth on the planet championship and had two consecutive podiums in Morocco and Andalucia. That, in addition to a stage win in Abu Dhabi whereas additionally opening three levels there has actually raised my confidence. My Dakar again in January was good, too. Though the primary day was powerful, I used to be in a position to combat again from that point misplaced to safe a great end. By way of efficiency, I believe I did a very good 12 months and wish to take that into the 2023 Dakar. Proper now, I’m in the very best kind I’ve ever been in each mentally and bodily. And my feeling on the bike is nice, as a result of all of the testing and growth the crew has performed this 12 months. Only a few weeks to go now and we’re in for the massive one. I can’t wait to get began.”
Norbert Stadlbauer – Rally Group Supervisor: “The Husqvarna Manufacturing unit Racing crew have gone from energy to energy this season, each by way of their outright velocity on the planet championship and in different nationwide occasions, the place they’ve secured wins and podium outcomes. The shape that each Luciano and Skyler are in proper now comes all the way down to plenty of onerous work and dedication, and I actually imagine that the crew shall be proper up there on the sharp finish of the outcomes when the 2023 Dakar involves a detailed.”
Robert Jonas – Head of Motorsports Offroad: “We’re actually happy with the progress of the Husqvarna Manufacturing unit Racing crew this 12 months. Within the latter half of the season, Skyler and Luciano have proven time and time once more that they’re to be counted with the world’s greatest. With one other 12 months of expertise and robust outcomes behind them, I’ve each religion that the crew can look ahead to delivering robust outcomes on the upcoming Dakar Rally and all through the 2023 FIM World Rally-Raid season.”
The 2023 Dakar Rally begins on December 31, 2022, with a brief Prologue stage, adopted by 14 powerful levels of racing earlier than the rally concludes on January 15, 2023.