Former champion trades two-stroke for FE 450 at Husqvarna.
When Daniel ‘Chucky’ Sanders makes his anticipated comeback to the Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) at tomorrow’s opening round in Gympie, Queensland, there will be one critical aspect to watch for that could significantly shape his season.
Previously recognised as a two-stroke specialist of sorts, including when he raced to the outright crown two years ago, the 23-year-old will be FE 450-mounted in 2018 as part of the high-profile Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team.
Sanders’ switch has been well-documented as one of the major moves of the silly season, returning home following a rough EnduroGP campaign last year in which he finished eighth in the Enduro2 standings, signed by the factory Husqvarna team to take on his former KTM squad in the AORC, Australian Four-Day Enduro and Hattah Desert Race. It will be a fascinating storyline to follow throughout the season.
“This is a big year for me and I have some motivation to get back to the front of the field after last year,” Sanders said in the lead-up to rounds one and two. “It was a difficult one in Europe, but I am working hard to come back from that and I just can’t wait to get to round one, see where I’m at up against the other guys.
“The first goal is to ride to my full capabilities on the Husqvarna FE 450, that’s what I am focused on, and we will go from there. I will be on the four-stroke this year, which is a big change for me, but I’m looking forward to that challenge and hopefully I can put it on the top step of the podium to contend for the title. It’s a familiar championship for me, but there’s also a lot of new things in my program to start 2018.
“The Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team has been great, so it’s a case of taking it one step at a time and I am confident we will be competitive when it counts. My confidence is there going into Gympie and I’m looking forward to getting out there now to see where we stand.”
Sanders forms one-third of the expanded Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team roster managed by Christian Horwood for the new season, joining team mainstay Lachlan Stanford – who continues in E3 after tying for the title last year – and highly-rated E1 rookie Fraser Higlett.