There is no doubt Honda recognise the benefits of encouraging new, young riders into the sport of motocross. We are all aware of the transition from auto`, through Small and Big Wheel classes, hopefully up to the 250 and 450 model machines and “capturing” a Honda racer in his youth may well lead to a lifetime customer.
Honda would enjoy providing competitive machinery in every class, at least giving riders, parents and sponsors the opportunity to stick to the Honda brand throughout an entire racing career.
Honda see the competition in each class clearly and while at present there may not be a competitive auto`, there most certainly is a 150cc machine to rival and indeed beat the field in the Small and Big Wheel classes.
Spearheading the “Big Wheel” class is 14 year old Josh Gilbert who, through the Buildbase Honda team and with the generous help and support of Gary Elston (the boss of Off Road Honda dealers Albion Motorcycles), is setting out to show the young racers of the UK (at least!), two stroke 85cc bikes are no match for Honda`s Mighty-mini CRF150.
With almost double the engine size, surely this would be enough to sway even the most hardened two-strokers? However, in addition to the “money where your mouth is” race-winning Josh Gilbert, the Buildbase Honda team are taking under their wing all CRF150 riders competing in the Red Bull Youth Elite Cup races.
The team support is in the form of personal motivation and encouragement at all of the Red Bull Pro National events from not only team boss Dave Thorpe, but also the front running Buildbase team riders, Nicolas Aubin and Jordan Booker, together with team coaches and mechanics.
The first round of the Red Bull Pro National series was staged at Landrake Moto Park last Saturday and Sunday (12th & 13th May). After racing had finished on Saturday all the CRF150 riders met at the Buildbase Race truck (image of some of the rides and mechanics attached) and were divided into three groups who then walked the track with their allocated Buildbase team mentors. The riders` mechanics were treated to an hour in the company of Aubin`s mechanic Ryan Thorpe who “spannered” them through any problems they may have, or had.
The time spent with the young Honda racers was invaluable, with positive feedback from all the riders and their mechanics on Sunday evening.
With the support of the Buildbase Honda race team, Honda offer not only a competitive bike in the Small and Big Wheel class, but also an off-track support service which cannot be rivalled.
Honda are serious about selling bikes and winning races in this class and once potential customers are encouraged to see beyond the cosmetics of the CRF150, they will find a reliable, affordable and competitive racer.
After several years of the same production CRF150, Honda must have decided “if it ain`t broke, don`t fix it” and in fact the bike itself is a full and proven package, ready to go and hopefully, Gilbert`s race winning form will continue and Honda Off Road dealers will have the confidence to “sell” their stock of 150`s and the riders will in turn have the same confidence on the start line.