2012 Staff Picks : Donn Maeda

Favorite Photo

First Look: 2013 Honda CRF450R
April 6, 2012
Kumamoto, Japan

“My favorite trip of the year is my annual trek to Japan, for the opening round of the All-Japan National MX Championship. Before each journey, I do a little research and pick the brains of my friends who work for the manufacturers. Usually, I have a pretty good idea what to expect before each trip.”

“This year, I knew that Honda had something big in store. In addition to the current CRF450R design being four years old, several people in the know had hinted to me that something new was to be debuted at Kumamoto.”

“In January, defending All Japan National MX Champion Akira Narita competed at a round of the Muscle Milk TWMX Race Series, and as we hung out in the pits between motos, I asked him if he could help me out with a ride to and from the track in Japan. Later, with some additional communication help from my friend Masa Shirotani from Troy Lee Designs, it was arranged for Narita to pick me up from the airport and help me with a room reservation in the race city. When Narita and his factory Honda teammate Yu Hirata picked me up from the airport on the Friday before the race, they told me that a special photo shoot for me had been arranged. I was blown away! Oftentimes, the race team are forced to hide the new bikes under a bike cover or behind opaque awning walls, and the only time it’s possible to get a shot of the bikes are out on the track of in the staging area. But this year, Narita had arranged for me to have the prototype 2013 CRF450R all to myself on Friday afternoon! Naturally, I drooled all over the new machine as I snapped hundreds of photos of it, and as expected, photos of the bike became our most-viewed items on our web site. In fact, “2013 Honda CRF450R” was our most searched keyword of the year.”
“Thanks, Narita-San! This year, dinner is on me!”