Penrite Honda's first foray into U.S. racing has already paid dividends, with Luke Clout and Mitchell Oldenburg becoming top-five threats quickly in the 250SX West Region. Oldenburg missed Saturday's race at San Diego after suffering a knee injury during a practice crash, but scored 6-6 finishes at the previous two rounds. Clout has gone 5-6 in the last two rounds.
As a result, the team's original plan to bring Clout back to Australia after the first six rounds of AMA Supercross has changed. The team will continue operating in Monster Energy Supercross when 250SX West resumes six weeks from now in Seattle. This removes Clout from Australia's National Motocross Championship, although he will fight for the Australian Supercross Championship in the fall.
“He is doing a really great job, each week we learn more and we are maintaining our commitment to our end goal,” said Yarrive Konsky, director of Penrite Honda Racing, in a team statement.
Clout now sits seventh in 250SX West.
“I am still learning and improving each week," said Clout. "We were closer to the fastest guys in some areas this week, which is a real positive. I do need to string it all together. It really is another level over here. I am measuring myself against the other Australian’ and the fastest guys in the world and I feel as though we are making serious progress.”
Clout is contracted to Penrite Honda for two years. The second part of his contract is supercross only and includes America. With the string of great results, the team has decided to leave Clout in America to complete the West Coast Championship.
“It makes sense to leave Luke in America, he’s getting more comfortable each week on the 250, he is committed to the program here and we hope the momentum will pay off. We have a strong local program back in Australia with Brett Metcalfe and Kyle Webster for motocross and will announce our full supercross program in the coming months,” Konsky added.
Remember, four-time and defending Australian Supercross Champion Justin Brayton has also been racing for the Penrite Honda team during his title runs. It's expected that he will be back with the team again later this year.
Australia's General Manager of Honda Motorcycles, Tony Hinton is pleased Clout will continue to fly the flag for Honda Australia in America.
“Luke’s progressive results have attracted a lot of attention, he’s exciting to watch and we are very pleased he is representing Honda. He is determined to win and that’s what we like to see and encourage in our riders, whether competing in Australia or overseas,” Hinton said.
The Penrite Honda program in the U.S. started with simple goals, as the team was at first going to operate for just a few races with Clout, and work out of Brayton's Sprinter van. Konsky decided to go bigger in year one, adding the SX veteran Oldenburg and moving the team into an 18 wheeler.
“I didn’t know how this would go down. I was originally doing 3 to 4 rounds out of a van," said Clout. "We seriously set up and full professional program in America. Yarrive doesn’t like doing things by halves and he has really given us the greatest opportunity to prove ourselves. To Tony Hinton, Honda Australia, Toby Dymond and Penrite I must say thank you. This is my dream and I believe we will only get better. I will be home later this year to race the Australian supercross championship."