News 26 Feb 2010

Oz MX/ASBK: Cougar Bourbon joins FTS Honda Racing team

Todd Waters' Cougar Bourbon Honda Racing CRF450R concept bike.

Todd Waters' Cougar Bourbon Honda Racing CRF450R concept bike.

Full Throttle Sports has this afternoon revealed that Cougar Bourbon has signed on as naming-rights sponsor of the factory-supported Honda Motocross and Supercross team, as well as the team’s all-new Superbike team.

This year will see the team field Todd Waters in the Pro Open class of the MX Nationals and Super X alongside Pro Lites rider Michael Phillips, the Kiwi confirmed after a long off-season of speculation surrounding the move.

“Last year was great, I learned a lot about setup, myself and training,” explained Waters, who enters his second season on the team. “The team is amazing. My mechanic Mike has a lot experience and it has really helped me. Testing on the new Honda 450 has gone better than I expected. We had the best bike last year and the 2010 model is better again.”

Phillips last raced a full season in Australia in 2007, finishing fifth overall with a victory in the penultimate round, also currently the defending New Zealand national champion.

“Being picked by Cougar Bourbon Honda was a dream come true,” Phillips said. “This is my first full factory ride and I am excited. I really believe we have the bike to win the championship – we have been testing for two weeks and we have another two weeks of testing scheduled, so come round one we will be ready.”

The team will further employee a Supercross Lites rider and Open rider from overseas to join Waters later in the year, however those details are yet to be released.

Bryan Staring's Cougar Bourbon Honda Racing CBR1000RR.

Bryan Staring's Cougar Bourbon Honda Racing CBR1000RR concept bike.

FTS has expanded its race division into the 2010 Viking Group Australian Superbike Championship racing Honda’s CBR1000RR with current Australian Supersport Champion Bryan Staring, the team also running under the Cougar Bourbon banner.

“This is the opportunity I was looking for and I have total confidence in the team and the bike,” said Staring. “Coming into round one I am looking for consistency. The team has come together in three weeks and it’s a long championship.

“We will find some good settings and understandings initially and prepare to attack for round two. I think it’s important we take this approach. As they say, you can’t win the championship in round one, but you can certainly lose it.”

Carlton and United Breweries general manager of spirits Jenny Nolch is excited for the year ahead, the Cougar brand replacing Woodstock at Honda.

“We’re excited to partner with one of Australia ’s premier race teams Honda,” Nolch said. “The newly named Cougar Bourbon Honda Race Team will be a proud part of our marketing and consumer activity, and everyone is looking forward to cheering on our riders.”

General manager of Honda Australia Motorcycles, Tony Hinton, echoed the positive feeling about the team being able to partner with such a reputable brand.

“It is always tough to find companies who will jump on board to sponsor an elite level Australian race team,” Hinton explained. “This is a fantastic alignment for the team and Cougar, and we look forward to success in 2010.”

Cougar Bourbon’s signing as naming sponsor to the Honda Racing team has made FTS owner Yarrive Konsky proud, also looking forward to expanding into the ASBK.

The Cougar Bourbon Honda Racing concept truck.

The Cougar Bourbon Honda Racing concept truck.

“When Cougar agreed to name the team Cougar Bourbon Honda Racing I was proud,” Konsky said. “The sport and respectively our team have been proactive in lifting awareness for racing, its athleticism and professionalism.

“New found TV audiences, larger track side attendances and our overall team appearance and infrastructure aided in the sponsorship acquisition.

“The sponsorship involves several activations that will create further mainstream awareness for Honda Racing and the sport. We welcome Cougar Bourbon and look forward to working alongside them to build a reputable team and brand alliance.”

Staring will have the honour of debuting the Cougar Honda Racing colours this weekend at the opening ASBK round before the Motocross team commences season 2010 at Horsham in Victoria on 28 March.

Staring in action at Phillip Island during today's ASBK practice.

Staring in action at Phillip Island during today's ASBK practice. Image: Andrew Gosling -