Honda Australia press release:
The Honda Genuine ‘Ride Red’ Racing Team riders claimed podium finishes on their way to top ten overall places in their first year competing at the MX Nationals under Honda’s new privateer program.
Joel Wightman finished 9 th overall in the MX1 class and Rhys Budd finished 6 th overall in the MXD class. The Latimer brothers finished 15th and 20th respectively in the MX2 class.
Wightman reflects on the Championship; “I am happy with a top ten finish overall! Of course, my goal was to challenge for top five but injury really put a spanner in the works. I broke my finger before Gladstone and I tried to persevere but I crashed again in Coolum and hurt my shoulder. I will take everything I have learnt this year and will be better prepared for next year.” Said Wightman.
Rhys Budd was very pleased with his first full season racing at a senior level; “I certainly learnt a lot this year as a rookie and I will be smarter and more prepared for next year. I would have struggled to race this year without Honda’s help so it’s been fantastic to be involved with the ‘Ride Red’ program. Now the focus moves to Supercross,” said Budd.
Honda Australia has long recognised the importance of privateers and their endeavours. Legends of motorcycle racing in Australia have received varying levels of support throughout their careers, most coming from very humble beginnings. Staring, Moss, Simmonds,Gobert, Johnson, Hogan, Bell and Taylor all raced with Honda’s support through satellite and privateer programs.
For 2018, Honda Australia’s motorsport department created a new privateer program that supports national riders who compete locally and in Australian Championships.
The program is in its infancy and will continue to grow. Honda Australia’s Brand and Motorsport Manager Glyn Griffiths explains;
“Yarrive Konsky was tasked with continuing Honda’s rich heritage of nurturing and developing young rider talent, with the aspiration of finding future Honda Racing National Champions. This is coupled with Lee Hogan’s continuing Junior program which has seen great success over the years already.”
Honda Australia’s ‘Ride Red’ program harnesses Honda’s various racing platforms and National motorsport structures in its quest to support national talent in all local markets.
“The ‘Ride Red’ program enables us to support the exciting and new talent being developed through Lee Hogan’s Junior program and gives these young kids somewhere to go with Honda when they move up to seniors.” Griffiths continued.
“Through our national partners, we have been able to provide sponsorships that strengthen their chances to reach their respective potential. ‘Ride Red’ offers a long-term development path that will reward riders on their results. If they get to the top, they have the potential to become a factory racer for Honda,” finished Griffiths.
Several riders on the Honda Genuine ‘Ride Red’ Team will now focus on the up and coming Australian Supercross Championship.