As a pioneer brand in off-road motorcycle sport, Husqvarna may be a famous and familiar competitor in many disciplines, but dirt track racing is not foremost among them.
That may be about to change as the brand embarks on a new pilot program, in which two of the most famous dirt track racers in Australian history have united with Husqvarna. And the result could become a wellspring for future world champions.
Nine time Australian champ Paul Caslick has signed with Husqvarna, backed by the dealership of his good mate – the most decorated dirt track racer Australia has ever seen, Chris Watson of Chris Watson Motorcycles, Cessnock.
Caslick, a winner of 150 Queensland Championships across dirt track, long track, flat track and grass track, is, at 46 years of age, a tireless contributor to the sport; competing, serving as an MA Coaching Commission member, and sharing his wealth of knowledge with younger competitors via Caslick Coaching Clinics.
His strong performances at the Troy Bayliss Classic in January, and his win in equally prestigious company at last month’s motorcycle Expo in Brisbane suggest he’s lost little of his skill with the throttle.
Jon Hafey – HQVA Sales Manager: “Dirt track is a growing market, and one that has seen something of a rejuvenation of interest following events like the Troy Bayliss classic. It’s a sport that is accessible to a great number of riders, but it’s also been instrumental as a breeding ground for world class competitors.
“Our successful Grand Prix road racers are well known, but less known is the fact that there are currently 29 Australians earning a living in the UK racing speedway.
“Husqvarna sees the value in dirt track and we want to support it, and what better way to do that than to sponsor one of the Legends of the sport – backed by another one – with his racing and coaching clinics.
“In that way, this is something of a pilot program for Husqvarna, and it’s exciting to consider what it could all lead to in the future.”
Paul Caslick: “At my age I’m pretty excited to be involved with something like this. Everyone always wants to belong and I was just in the right place at the right time and performed the right way and since the motorcycle Expo and the Troy Bayliss classic things have really taken off. It’s nice because riders my age tend to get disregarded a little bit…
“To be associated with Jeff Leisk and the whole setup you can’t be anything but excited. I’m really looking forward to putting Husky up front.
“My priorities this year will be to make sure we can capitalise on the popularity of dirt track that has risen from the success of the Troy Bayliss Classic, and try to expand base of support within the sport to improve the level of junior development. …And obviously to win some races and sell some huskies through Chris’ shop!
“For me I’ll target the Aussie titles at Taree on the June long weekend, the State titles, the big Cup events and the rest of the AMCROSS series.
“I’m excited about my Husqvarna FC 450 because I know what they come standard with and they’re a fairly formidable package.
“You only have to look and see what Jack Miller did on a KTM that came straight out of the box at the Troy Bayliss Classic!”
Chris Watson: “I’ve known Paul since he was five, and even now he’s impressive in that he’s so fit and focused for his age. He’s still capable of winning titles, he does a lot of training and rider education with kids so he’s great branding for us and Husky.
“He also does a lot of media work and work for MA getting tracks happening as well as his race wins, so he really is a great asset for the sport and its marketing generally.
“He’s been loyal to us for a long time and he does the right thing by those who help him so it’s good to be involved with him.”