American and Australian commitments finalised ahead of next season.
Penrite Honda Racing has officially announced Luke Clout will join the factory team in 2020, beginning with a stint in the US during the Monster Energy AMA Supercross 250SX West series.
After finishing second with CDR Yamaha in this year’s MX Nationals and AUS Supercross championships, 25-year-old Clout will transfer across to Honda for the new season.
It’s a move that’s been tipped by MotoOnline throughout supercross as Clout went head-to-head with Penrite Honda Racing’s now four-time SX1 champion Justin Brayton for the 2019 crown. It was the latter who regained the number one plate with a first AUS-X Open victory last Saturday.
Clout is expected to be lining up alongside American Mitchell Oldenburg in the Penrite Honda Racing team’s American expansion aboard a CRF250R, scheduled to line up in the first six rounds on the west coast.
“It’s pretty exciting because Yarrive [Konsky] and I had been going back and forth for a bit, but we came up with something that we both agreed on and we’re both really happy,” Clout told MotoOnline. “I’m excited and I think the whole team is.
“This USA thing is going to be exciting, so I look forward to working with Honda and everyone involved. We’ll be in 250SX West for the first six at the moment, so we’ll just take it as it comes – the 450 class over there is a totally different animal over there. At my age, to go to a 250 I think is a smart decision.”
Once arriving back in Australia mid-February, Clout will turn his attention to the MX Nationals MX1 opener to be held at Appin on 22 March. It’s a homecoming of sorts for the New South Welshman, who rode with Honda in his rookie MX1 campaign in 2017.
“Each year we work hard to go one step better and that’s what we’ve done in the past couple of years,” Clout added. “We’re going to be racing pretty much full-time with no off-season, so we’ll be in the swing of things and I know I’ll be in good shape on the Honda – I’ll come into round one ready to go when the time comes.”
Honda Motorcycles general manager Tony Hinton welcomed Clout back to the manufacturer in the factory-team: “Luke is a very strong and dedicated rider and Honda is eager to support his endeavours. His spirit is obvious as he races hard with a winning intent and that is exactly what we like to see.”
Clout has previously ridden with the Yarrive Konsky-led factory Honda team as a replacement rider for Jimmy Decotis in the 2016 Australian SX2 Championship directly after his shortened first term in America.
“I have followed Luke since he was racing on 60s,” Penrite Honda Racing owner Yarrive Konsky said. “He is a very determined rider and I admire that in a racer.
“He has a lot of untapped potential and I look forward to working with him to achieve his goals and objectives. He has an unwavering desire to win and be the best, he is extremely focused so I am excited to go racing with Luke.”
With Clout opting to depart CDR Yamaha Monster Energy for 2020 and Dean Ferris all but confirmed in the Raceline KTM organisation, Hayden Mellross has emerged as the favourite to join Craig Dack’s team alongside Kirk Gibbs next year.