Boniface Tests While Mackenzie RecoversThursday, June 26, 2008 | 6:17 AM
The CAS Honda team ventured down to the Genk track in Belgium today so that new employee, Steve Boniface, could test the factory CRF450R ahead of this weekend’s Grand Prix.
Boniface, who replaces Mike Brown, boarded the Honda machinery for the first time under the watchful eye of team manager, Neil Prince, with positive results. The 25-year-old impressively achieved a fifth place during the second moto at the last World Championship round in France, and is looking forward to this weekend’s race at Teutschenthal in Germany.
Boniface concentrated on dialling in the Monster-backed CAS Honda today, and made some minor alterations to the factory machine to suit his personal preferences. The Frenchman, who has spent recent years racing in America, has signed up to ride the CRF450R in this weekend’s German Grand Prix, although a decision on who will board the bike for the remainder of the season has yet to be made.
Billy Mackenzie didn’t join the team at today’s test as he focusses on recovering from the cracked shoulder blade sustained in practice at St Jean d’Angely. The Scottish-ace will ride this weekend and has been working hard on regaining his fitness for round eight of the World Motocross Championship.
Steve Boniface - #141
“The CAS Honda CRF450R felt great the moment I got on it, so we’ve only had to make some minor changes during today’s test. The engine is very strong, and it’s great to be working with such an experienced team – I’ve gelled very quickly with all of the guys I’m working with. I am looking forward to racing at the weekend now we’ve got a few laps under our belt, and I hope we can gain some strong results.”
Billy Mackenzie - #211
“I’ve spent the last two weeks doing everything I can to regain fitness in my shoulder for this weekend. I was disappointed not to ride at Desertmartin, but we are already leading the British MX1 championship by a large margin. My shoulder is still incredibly sore and I’m not sure how it will be for the race in Germany, but I’m taking my trainer with me so we can strap it up well and treat it throughout the two days. In the last week I’ve had lots of physiotherapy, laser treatment, swimming, stretching – in fact everything possible to help the injury! Now it needs a little rest to aid the recovery process and I hope to be comfortable on the bike. It’s going to be a tough challenge but I’ve just got to grit my teeth and ride through the pain to gain as many points possible.”
Neil Prince: CAS Honda Team Manager
“Steve was very impressive today at our test in Belgium. He instantly got to grips with our factory machinery to lap with great pace and speed. He’s also a real thinker, and I believe this will be very useful for racing in the World Championship. We’ve made very minor changes to the bike from Mike’s settings, and to be honest I’m really looking forward to the German Grand Prix as I am optimistic of what Steve will achieve in only his first outing with the team. Billy has been trying very hard to recover quickly from his fractured shoulder blade and although he was disappointed not to ride at Desertmartin, it certainly was the right decision for the injury he is carrying. This weekend is going to be difficult for him, but he’s incredibly determined and we’ll be working hard to put him in the best possible stead for the race.”