In 2001 KTM won its first-ever Dakar Rally — a feat the Austrian outfit repeated every single year since. The 2020 Dakar, however, was different, as, for the first time in 18 years, the Ready To Race brand was dethroned by the likes of Honda. And while American rider, Ricky Brabec and his immense off-road riding skills undoubtedly deserve a good deal of the credit, his historic win undeniably helped along by his fully race-prepped CRF450 Rally racer.
Based on Honda’s 450cc production dual-sport, Brabec’s racer has been treated to an extensive number of top-shelf, race-grade modifications including custom suspension developed by Brabec and Showa, two tanks carrying a total of nine gallons of fuel, a custom rubber MX-style Noguchi saddle, trick GP-style switchgear, full Dakar-style bodywork complete with navigation tower, relocated oil-cooler and LED lighting, a full Termignoni exhaust system, and a beyond extensive number of carbon fiber bits including the entire subframe, nav tower mounts, heat shield, bash guard, fuel-cell, and even the kickstand. The Japanese thumper was also bestowed with a transmission, cases, and internals that were all specially-engineered to take on the Dakar. Honda — which hadn’t won a Dakar since 1989 — even claims that Brabec’s (now) 60hp racer doesn’t share a single part with the CRF450 Rally or any of its production offerings.