Aussie Andrew Houlihan to debut new KTM 450 this weekend
By Brett Murray
Thursday 13th April, 2023 - 12:00pm
Australian ace Andrew Houlihan will debut an all-new KTM 450 Baja bike in this week’s third round of the 2023 FIM Baja World Cup in Spain.
The custom-built bike has been prepared by Dimitri Lassithiotakis and the team at Aurora Rally Equipment in Greece and will replace the Husqvarna that Houlihan has used in the first two rounds of the championship to take an outright title lead in the veteran’s class.
Starting with a KTM 450 EXC, Aurora Rally Equipment have fitted some of its latest equipment to the bike, including a newly designed SuperLight navigation tower.
Since its launch some 10 years ago, Aurora has been an innovator in the design and construction of specialist equipment for rally bikes.
Watch: KTM SUMMER GRILL: Dakar Rally racer Andrew Houlihan.
The company has gone to great lengths to find the best combination of materials that provide strength while reducing weight, and also allow some flexibility to absorb the shocks that rally bikes experience and protect the essential navigation gear.
The new SuperLight tower fitted to Andrew’s KTM 450 Baja bike is reportedly lighter, lower and more robust than any of the company’s previous designs, and it also helps to improve the safety of the rider in the event of a crash.
The bike is also fitted with a larger fuel tank than the standard 450 EXC and some other equipment specifically designed by Aurora for the tough environment of a Baja rally.
“Dimitri and Aurora Rally Equipment have worked their butts off on this bike and have had many late nights getting it ready to race. This bike is really something special and I can’t wait to ride it,” said Houlihan, who is sponsored by Speedcafe.
Ironically, the new bike will not be started until tomorrow when Houlihan arrives from Australia with some final components to complete the build..
“I have custom suspension and a custom ECU from Rex Fleiter at Fuel Torque in Brisbane which I will be taking over on the plane with me, and then I think we will have as close as you can get to the perfect Baja Bike,” said Houlihan.
Andrew will ride the newly built KTM 450 Baja in the remaining six rounds of the championship.
He will also be back with Hernan Samaniego and the Nomadas Adventure Coca-Cola Racing team who will provide service for the European rounds of the championship.
“I’ve spent the past five years including the Africa Eco race and two Dakar rallies with these guys and to have their support again for the remaining Baja World Cup rounds is amazing,” said Houlihan.
The Spanish round of the championship, the Baja TT Dehesa Extremadura 2023, will be held from April 14 to 16 in different locations in the province of Badajoz and in Portuguese territory.
The event is set to be the biggest ever round of the World Cup with more than 200 car and bike entries.
“My preparation has been very limited thanks to getting COVID when I returned from Qatar three weeks ago but I have managed to put quite a few kilometres in on the bikes in the past few days with a mix of desert and high country terrain and feel quite good,” said Houlihan.
“It will be a very conservative race for me in Badajoz and I won’t be taking any risks like I have in the first two rounds. I just need to gain more points and continue to build my lead in the vets class and try and retain my top 10 position in the 450cc championship class. “
You can follow Houlihan’s progress via live timing here: Baja TT Dehesa de Extremadura 2023 (Motorcycles) (fotomotor-es.translate.goog)
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