Husqvarna FR 450 Rally helps racing team finish Dakar Rally Day 8

husavarna factory racing

Husqvarna announced that its factory racing team has completed Day Eight of the Dakar Rally.


  • Who are the two factory racing riders of Husqvarna?

    Husqvarna’s two factory racing riders are Skyler Howes and Luciano Benavides.
  • What places did Skyler Howes and Luciano Benavides rank on day eight of the Dakar Rally?

    Per Husqvarna, Howes and Benavides placed 19th and 21st respectively.
  • Per the KTM Group-owned Swedish motorcycle brand, Stage Eight is one of the toughest sections in the rally in terms of navigation. That said, it was to the team’s relief after team riders Skyler Howes and Luciano Benavides safely completed the timed special stage.

    The FR 450 Rally-mounted rider completed the stage in 19th and 21st place respectively.

    To note, Husqvarna fitted the FR 450 Rally bikes with two large tanks — both capable of holding around 30 liters of fuel. It feeds the new 4,500 cubic capacity fuel-injected engine that is mounted to a new chassis. 

    husavarna factory racing 1

    The American rider chose to ensure accurate navigation rather than risk losing a large amount of time through an unforced error. That said, Howes maintained a solid — but calculated — pace through the 346-kilometer special to complete the stage.

    And while his strategy caused him to reduce his advantage in the overall standings, Howes still remains one minute and 13 seconds ahead of the second-placed rider.

    “A tough day to open today. We ended up riding in a group of three at the front, and although I think we did a really good job with the navigation, we took a little while to do it. The dirt is really wet, so that leaves a perfectly clear line for anyone following, and of course, it makes it far easier to make up time on those ahead. I’d rather lose a few minutes than be going home though, so overall, I’m happy with how the day turned out and I'm still ahead in the overall. It’s rest day now, and that’s always an important milestone to hit. We knew the first half of this year’s event would be tough, and it was! Time to relax a little now before focusing on the final push to the finish next week,” said Howes.

    husavarna factory racing 2

    For Benavides’ part, the Argentinian rider used his skill and experience to deliver a near mistake-free ride from the front. That meant that he was able to build his pace over the course of the special to ultimately finish in 21st place.

    Completing the stage just over 16 minutes down on the eventual winner, Benavides now lies in a highly commendable 11th place in the provisional overall rankings.

    “Today was a really tricky day. It was always going to be difficult to open a stage like today, especially after the bad weather and with such technical navigation. Today was one of the hardest days to open, but I think did a good job from the front, I took my time and was careful not to make any big mistakes. Unfortunately with the sand like it was, the guys behind were really able to follow the tracks in front of them and make up a lot of time. Physically, I'm feeling really good, the bike has been great all through this first week, too. I'll get some rest tomorrow and then aim to push next week and hopefully make up some places on the race,” Benavides said.

    Photos from Husqvarna

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