After a ground breaking debut season in 2015, CRF Honda Racing has pulled the trigger on its 2016 national motocross and supercross campaign by taking aim on last weekend’s (April 3) opening round of the Motul MX Nationals staged at Horsham, Victoria, the team headlined by two of the country’s top aspiring young motocross racers.
After wrapping up 2015 with a commendable sixth overall in the SX2 category of the Australian Supercross Championship late last year, NSW Hunter Valley young gun Joel Wightman is again lining up with CRF Honda Racing as he continues his climb up the ranks of the country’s fastest developing Pro racers.
Joining Wightman in the CRF Honda Racing outfit is West Australian racer Kyle Webster, who is another promising young competitor who will be making his debut season racing Honda machinery.
Along with the revamped rider line-up, CRF Honda Racing brings new sponsor partnerships to the grid for 2016, by virtue of a major alignment with leading national motorcycle accessory importer and distributor, McLeod Accessories. The new deal will see Wightman and Webster take to the track wearing FLY Racing apparel, Dragon goggles, M2R helmets and TCX boots, while their potent CRF250R race machines will be powered by FMF exhaust systems.
For CRF Honda Racing Team Manager Mark Luksich, the commencement of the team’s second season of national competition represents a proud moment in the longtime team owner/operator’s decorated management career.
“I am so proud of the progress CRF Honda Racing has made in the MX2/SX2 categories of Australian racing,” Luksich explains, “and in particular to be so fortunate to enjoy the tremendous support of major national brands just one year after launching a new team focussed on giving aspiring young riders a path to a professional racing career.”
Honda Motorcycles, Honda Genuine Oils and Honda Genuine Parts have been near life-long supporters of Luksich’s race activities, which over the years has seen him guide the careers of such celebrated legends of Australian dirt bike racing as Glen Bell, Lee Hogan, Cameron Taylor and Dale Britton, amongst others.
It goes without saying that Honda Motorcycles, Honda Genuine Oils and Honda Genuine Parts will continue as major supporters of CRF Honda Racing in 2016.
CRF Honda Racing will also enjoy the support of Link International, who will ensure the race bikes of Wightman and Webster will be shod with Pirelli tyres, RK chains and sprockets, Polisport plastics and States MX accessories and ‘bling’ products.
Other CRF Honda Racing technical supporters include Serco, ProMoto Suspension, Ross McWatters’ MCD and ProTaper, all of whom will ensure the team rolls up the start gate armed with the best hardware available.
“The support of so many dedicated sponsors and supporters has once again made for a huge and hectic start to the new race season,” Luksich reveals. “Bike development and all the behind-the-scenes work involved with team preparation and presentation are a vital part of the pre-season, while the riders, of course, work so hard on their fitness and traning.
“This year Joel headed over to New Zealand to contest their national motocross championships to boost his preparation for the Australian MX Nationals, while Kyle has spent endless hours on his new Red Ride to get familiarised with campaigning a new brand of machine for the first time.
“After such a hectic pre-season, it was great to finally get to Horsham last weekend and sink our teeth into the team’s first major race outing of the year at the MX Nationals.”
After two hugely-competitive MX2 motos at the MX Nationals opener at Horsham, Webster and Wightman carded tenth and eleventh overall placings respectively aboard their CRF Honda Racing CRF250R thumpers.
“For me, it was actually a pretty tough day,” said Wightman, who suffered a shocker start in the first moto that left him having to fight back from 40th to an eventual 12th place finish. He then backed up with an 11th place finish in race two.
“I know I have the pace of a bunch of riders ahead of me,“ Wightman continued, “and I just need to make sure I position myself better early on to achieve the results we expect. It’s a long season, so I can’t wait for the next round.”
Meanwhile Webster showed some great speed in his debut with CRF Honda Racing, moving from a fourth place start through the first turn in the first moto, to be second after just a few more turns … before paying the price of being overly anxious soon after and suffering a small fall which pushed him back outside of the top ten. But the skilled Sandgroper put the bit between his teeth and pushed on hard to card a seventh place finish in the moto. Webster then posted a 14th place finish in race two.
“I just made some silly errors,” Webster candidly admitted after the Horsham event. “I love the new bike and felt so good on it, but probably need to take each race more patiently and let the results come to me to help build my confidence.”
CRF Honda Racing will now focus on its next outing, which comes at round two of the Motul MX Nationals at the Appin track just south of Sydney, NSW, on April 17.