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Ricky Brabec – The Legendary Honda Team Rider

Ricky Brabec has recently become a legend in North America for several very cool records. What are they exactly?

Ricky Brabec won the motorcycle division of the 2020 Dakar Rally. This is the first time in history that a rider from the United States of America has won the Dakar on a bike. Ricky won the race using a heavily modified Honda CRF450 Rally which also broke KTM’s 18-year streak of back-to-back championships.

Unfortunately, during the same race, Paulo Gonçalves passed away. Australian Toby Price was first on the scene and stayed with Paulo for 90 minutes until help had arrived. The race was suspended the following day for motorcycles given the emotional nature of the race.

Ricky Brabec Growing Up

Ricky absolutely loved dirt bikes and raced competitively from an early age. As with many dirt bike racers, he was into motocross as a kid. While he had some interest in the bitumen, it was the dirt that really gave him the thrills.

He’s competed in many races including the Baja1000 with some losses and wins. These races made him hungry for more and thus, he started competing in the Dakar.

As a Dakar Rally Competitor

Ricky competed while under the age of 30. This makes him one of the youngest-age riders into the race. Most riders are 35+ and have raced multiple times.

Despite its reputation as a gruelling event and the toughest motorcycle race in the world, riders keep coming back again and again. It’s not just tough on the body but the mind too, as riders are required to use a manual race chart and keep an eye out for key waypoints. Unsurprisingly, some riders routinely get lost along the route.

Ricky happened to be 1 of 5 Honda riders entered in that year. Honda has a fully kitted out race team with a truck that carries all their gear between the stages. This includes completely new engines that can be swapped out in the evenings while the competitors sleep. That is – just a few hours sleep, as some races begin as early as 4am!

Did we say it’s grueling already?

Participating in the Dakar is no small feat and Ricky had to pass qualifications. Given that he was representing Honda, he really had to be up to standards mentally and physically. There is a strong component of diet and exercise that comes forth to create a rider who’s tough and can ride out (mind the pun) the tough 2 weeks.

Given that the United States had never won a Dakar and Ricky had previously retired from 3 Dakar Rally’s, they were stocked to have won. Needless to say that both the country and Honda praised this champion for going all the way, and had actually scored wins on 2 stages of this rally too.

Better yet – they took the crown away from KTM who had somewhat owned the Rally for almost 2 decades. Go Honda!

The Future of Ricky’s Career

We can forsee Ricky entering the Dakar in 2021 though we’re not as ambitious like Honda may be. Did they simply get a fluke has Honda been stretching themselves to really own the Dakar? Only in late January will we know for sure.

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