Fleet News

Honda strengthens off-road presence

Honda (UK) has announced plans to further strengthen its off-road portfolio; enlisting the skills, experience and knowledge of three-time world motocross champion, Dave Thorpe, as an ambassador for Honda’s off-road activity, both in the racing environment and on the dealer showroom floor.

Thorpe rode for Honda in the peak of his glittering career, taking all three of his world titles aboard Honda machinery in 1985, ’86 and ’89. Following his retirement from racing, he had a spell as the manager of the Great Britain Motocross des Nations team (which included a famous Great Britain victory in 1994) before turning his attention to the management of the CAT Honda team.

In recent years, Dave Thorpe has been involved in many racing projects and remained a key figure within the off-road arena – both on a UK and world stage - but has now returned to the position of Team Manager, launching his very own operation in the UK with Buildbase Honda and Phoenix Tools Honda teams. The move coincides with Honda (UK)’s desire to place further focus on its off-road activities and it was therefore the perfect ‘fit’ to bring Thorpe into the Honda family in an official capacity.

Thorpe’s new Honda squad becomes Honda (UK)’s official motocross race team, competing in both the Maxxis British Championship as well as the Red Bull Pro National series. The team also plans to compete in the highly competitive south-west regional series, the Phoenix Tools Championship.

Across all classes, the team fields a seven person line-up on the class-leading Honda CBRF250Rs and CRF450Rs, which includes Nicolas Aubin and a range of up and coming young riders. As well as outdoor, team Thorpe has committed to the British Supercross Championship and will make its competitive debut at the first round of the championship in Sheffield this weekend.

Off track, Thorpe’s unrivalled industry knowledge and experience will be utilised in a consultative capacity, working alongside Honda’s off-road dealers with an aim to further improve the customer experience as well as sales and promotional development for dealers. Exciting activities surrounding the Buildbase Honda team will also provide the ideal platform for dealers to become even closer to the off-road environment and customers. Further details of these activities will be announced in the coming months.

Thorpe’s influence however, will not stop there. New special edition off-road models – including a ‘Hare and Hounds’ CRF250R modified machine - are planned as a direct result of his technical input and industry experience. This particular special edition model will include Talon wheels with an 18” rear, 10.5 litre transparent fuel tank, DEP silencer, Acerbis fuel tank, sump guard and hand guards, as well as a side stand and full Buildbase Honda graphics kit.

This partnership marks the beginning of a new chapter for Honda in the UK off-road market, highlighting Honda’s desire to develop its presence in this area as well as create even greater value for its off-road dealers and customers.

Dave Thorpe commented, “I am delighted to come back to Honda and to return to team management with the official Buildbase Honda squad. My primary motivation is to be part of a team that gets results and to use this directly for the benefit of Honda, the dealer network and of course to the consumer. I want to re-install the direct connection between the team and the manufacturer and see the team as an integral part of Honda’s off-road strategy. I am also looking forward to using my experience and knowledge to advise on the technical direction of Honda’s off-road model range. I firmly believe that the Honda products, with the ‘R’ and ‘X’ models, as well as the smaller capacity youth off-road machines, are the best products out there, and it is this that has motivated me in my decision. I am looking forward to another hugely successful relationship with Honda and to what the future may hold.”

For 2012, Honda (UK) will also continue official support of the PAR Honda and DB Racing teams, giving Honda a formidable presence on the UK motocross scene.

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