Multi-Aussie enduro champ Glenn Kearney and top contender Lachy Stanford will lead a new-look Husqvarna Australia Enduro Racing Team when the first shots are fired in anger at tomorrow’s New Holland Enduro-X, held in conjunction with the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide.
The team made a phenomenal debut when it first appeared on the national scene back in 2014, winning two Australian Enduro Championships and two Australian Off-Road Championship titles in its very first year, before last year adding the InsureMyRide Enduro-X Nationals series to its trophy case.
For 2016 several changes have meant the team will take on a new appearance, starting with the team’s core riding personnel, Kearney and Stanford, who will race in the vibrant new Acerbis riding gear, and on different Husqvarna machinery, with Stanford assuming the E3 duties on a Husqvarna FE 501.
“This year I’m going to E3, mainly because of how I went on the bigger bike in Slovakia,” Stanford explained.
“I’m confident with how I’m riding, and I’ve had a really good off-season. I plan to get some outright wins this year. Glenn suits the 250, I remember him in the red Husky days on a 250 and he was really fast on it, which I think will bring the pace up even more in our team. I’ve started doing a bit of preseason racing and getting the feel of the bike. I feel like I’m riding really fast but still smooth, so until the first round of the off-road I’ll be focusing on sprint speed with every ride. I’ve got all my endurance and strength now.”
Still on the team’s trusted Pirelli tyres, Team boss Glenn Kearney will switch to the E1 category aboard a Husqvarna FE250, a move he believes will also minimise the adverse effects of the braking limitations he suffers following the fusion of his right ankle at the end of season 2014.
A phalanx of Husqvarna factory support riders will create an even more menacing presence for the famous Crowned H logo in off-road events, starting with young up-and-coming hotshot Fraser Higlett, who will contest the Under 19’s category on a Husqvarna FE 350.
Broc Grabham will ride a Husqvarna FE450 in E2, alongside Lyndon Snodgrass aboard a Husqvarna FE 350.
Hard enduro ace Mitch Harper, the 24-year-old off-road all-rounder who finished third in the Wildwood Extreme just a few months ago, will continue with Husqvarna into 2016, competing at this weekend’s New Holland Enduro-X as well as selected AORC rounds aboard a Husqvarna FE350.
Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team Manager Glenn Kearney (FE250) said, “We have the same core team as last year with Lachy Stanford and myself, but Lachy will step up to the FE501 and I’ll step down in capacity to the FE250. We want to get somebody back into E1, and I always thought Lachy was a better big bike rider anyway. After his performance at the six-day, I pretty much decided over there, that it was time to start riding the bike and he agreed. My biggest issue for the last year has been my rear braking imitations with my ankle, and the size and weight of the 250 has meant that it’s easier to pull up into corners, which is helping.
Mitcham Harper will ride enduro-cross and selected races because he’s a bit of a hard enduro specialist. The young gunFraser Higlett is going to be up in Under 19, and he’s going to be the real standout I think. He’s already showed how fast he’s going against the big guns up in Queensland a fortnight ago.
Then there’s Broc Grabham, who’s a real big bore specialist, and Lyndon Snodgrass from Victoria, so across the board there’s a heap of representation for Husky with good quality young riders and my aim is to sort of mentor them a little bit across the nationals. They’ve all got the tools in themselves to do the job, so maybe I can just direct them in the easy ways to do things. The track here at Clipsal is really gnarly and technical – it’s going to be good to watch!” Grabham concluded.
Jon Hafey, National Brand Manager, said. “I think we have a fantastic team of riders, all young and all under Glenn’s tutelage, really. Lachlan is the elder statesman at 23, so it’s very exciting. So is Glenn being on the 250 because he’s not riding a motocross bike like most of his competitors. Grabham, Snodgrass and Higlett mean we’ve got fantastic coverage in the classes.”