Husqvarna reveal their four trumps for the “Dakar”
The team that will be competing in the world’s most important motorcycle rally, in the Speedbrain colours, has been presented in Cassinetta. The Spanish rider Joan Barreda is aiming for the podium; hopes are also high for the Italian, Alessandro Botturi.
Husqvarna have revealed the four trumps they will be playing to win the world’s top race, the Dakar. The company, based in Cassinetta di Biandronno, is serious, and today, at the headquarters near the Lake of Varese, it presented the official team, which, in one month, will be competing in the world’s most important rally, which left Africa some years ago, and now takes place on the dirt roads of South America, in Peru, Argentina and Chile, with the expected arrival in Santiago on 19 January.
Husqvarna will be deploying considerable forces, with the support of their owner (BMW), who make no secret of the fact that they are putting their hopes also on the Dakar, in order also to improve sales, especially in emerging markets, such as Indonesia, Brazil and South Africa, repeating those that were mentioned by the Chairman of the motorcycle company Klaus Allisat (in the photo above). The business aspect is significant (also for Italy, where the company has remained after its separation from MV Agusta,) but does not affect the charm and importance of the sporting event.
As mentioned, there will be four official motorbikes given to the German team Speedbrain, who followed the development of the TE449RR, a motorbike that has already won the Pharaons Rally, in Egypt, in 2012, and achieved second place in the Rally of Marocco.
These races were a crucial testing ground that have allowed making some very interesting predictions for the Varese company, for the Dakar race, especially with Joan Barreda, the Spanish rider who was among the top three in Africa, and who is the leader for the South African race. The 29-year-old from Valencia, is joined by Paulo Goncalves (Portugal, born in 1979) and Matt Fish (Australia, born in 1980) who collaborated on the development of the bike from Cassinetta. But maybe the greatest hopes are for Alessandro Botturi, the 32-year-old from Lumezzane, near Brescia, who is considered one of the strongest and most experienced Italian motorcycle racers, who was snatched from the competitors, and who can be the team’s extra man, also as an alternative to Barreda.
On the roads in South America, the four official Husqvarnas (in addition to which, there will be those of clients, for a total of eleven motorbikes) will have to face the best of world motorcycling. KTM are still the great favourites, considering how they dominated in the last few years, but the Japanese companies Honda and Yamaha are ready to challenge the Austrians. Husqvarna is also ready to join in the fight; last year, there was the first stage victory, and since then, the objective for 2013 has been clear and extremely high.
"Our dream is to reach the top step on the podium … although I don’t want to pressurise the team," explained Chairman Allisat, only partly in jest. "The Dakar will bring Husqvarna to the homes of hundreds of millions of people. It’s important for us to demonstrate the quality that we’ve reached, and to show that Husqvarna is one of the most reliable in this sector."
Allisat was joined on stage by the Speedbrain team manager, Wolfgang Fischer, the project leader Berthold Houser, and above all, Martino Bianchi (see photo, right), the Varese soul of Husqvarna. He was there when, on the opposite side of the lake, Cagiva were getting ready for their second victory at the Dakar, with Edi Orioli. For this reason, he has never stopped working on a project that would bring Varese and its motorbikes back to the top in world rallying; and never before has the fruit of his labour seemed so ripe.