Tim Gajser and Ruben Fernandez joined a whole host of Honda athletes from a multitude of motorsports at the annual Thanks Day, held at the Motegi Mobility Resort in Japan this past weekend.
The MXGP pair were joined by fellow motocross stars, Jett and Hunter Lawrence who were invited to celebrate after their highly successful 2023 season when the pair won multiple titles across the 250 and 450 classes for the Honda Racing US team in America. And these four met up with more of their off-road and road colleagues for what is one of the biggest events on the motor-racing calendar.
Fresh off his F1 World Championship, Max Verstappen made the trip, alongside fellow F1 drivers Sergio Perez, Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Riccardo, but perhaps the biggest name was MotoGP star Marc Marquez, who was bidding an emotional farewell to his Repsol Honda team after an amazing career under the HRC awning.
Each discipline got to showcase their machinery in special displays around the circuit, with the motocross riders having a super-pole competition on the specially designed track near the impressive Honda Collections Hall. MXGP’s Gajser took the victory and wowed the crowd with a signature whip on the finish line and he also led the way ahead of all the F1 drivers in the highly competitive karting qualification, taking pole-position into the race. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to keep the lead after some aggressive bumping from the chasing pack, but both him and teammate Fernandez enjoyed some fun laps against the best drivers in the world.
They then headed back to the motocross track for a special race that included MotoGP star Joan Mir, Trials rider Gabriel Marcelli and two-wheeled riders across various other disciplines for a race on-board Honda 125Fs, which provided yet more entertainment for this enthusiastic crowd. The four-man team format saw riders hand the bike over after a lap of the circuit, with Jett Lawrence’s crew getting the win in a good-natured race.
Saving the best for last, every bike and car, then took to doing a lap of the Motegi road-circuit, before performing a customary burnout on the start straight in front of the massive crowd. It was a great finale to a great event that truly showcases the strength and depth of Honda Racing Corporation.