Bennetts Insurance are proudly supporting rallying brothers Carl and Craig Searles in their quest to become the first British siblings to complete the gruelling Dakar Rally in January 2025! One of their super-trick Husqvarna FR450 Rally Replica machines will be on the Bennetts Insurance stand at the forthcoming Motorcycle Live event.
The relationship with the brothers began when their father Andrew called in to Bennetts to insure one of their custom rally machines for their warm-up event, the Rallye Du Maroc, as a quick-thinking staff member realised there was much more to the ‘story’ than simply transacting an insurance policy.
Elder brother Carl explained, “Me, Craig and my dad have used Bennetts Insurance for years. We hadn’t thought of asking for support from them, so it was a nice surprise when they came back to us with the offer. Obviously having insurance ‘sorted’ is fantastic but even more importantly, being given the platform to have a bike at Motorcycle Live and other events such as the Bennetts British Superbike Championship is amazing for our team’s visibility.” But why Dakar? “When we were just kids Craig, and I watched a video from the Paris-Dakar and we fell in love with it. We got into motocross and about a decade ago we looked at putting in an entry and got all excited, until we saw the 15,000 Euro bit …. so that was the end of that!”
Born into a biking family the pair visited the BMW Off Road Skills centre in Wales and were pleasantly surprised with how well these ‘big’ bikes could be ridden off road… so instantly became ‘Adventure Bike’ riders! Both riders competed in the UK qualifiers of the prestigious GS Trophy with Craig going on to represent the UK in Albania, and they both ended up working at ORS.
“We love working at ORS and in talking to the owner Si Pavey, who has ridden the Dakar many times, he mentioned that a ride in the Dakar Rally is possible, if you go about it the right way with sponsorship and fundraising you can get there, but it won’t be easy! - so we said, Dakar 2025, let’s do it!”
Riding ‘The Dakar’ doesn’t just need deep pockets, riders are required to show strong results from different events such as the World Rally Raid series, which is why the S2D duo have just returned from the Rallye Du Maroc. “It was a tough event for sure, it was our first Rally, first time riding a Rally bike and also our first time riding in sand! An eye-opening experience but amazing – now we need to decide which events to ride in 2024.”
Their Husqvarna FR450 Rally Replica bikes are purpose-built Rally tools, created as close as you can get to a factory machine including the same swingarm. They have to withstand a massive amount of abuse, including 100mph battering from stones. Craig had a big crash in Morocco, destroying the carbon ‘Nav tower’ which houses all the navigation equipment on top of the forks.
Carl sums up, “As brothers it’s obviously double everything- two lots of entries, two bikes, two helmets and kit, four sets of tyres a day (!)….. but we’re driven to ride it and as no British siblings have ever completed the Dakar, it would be a great ‘first’.”
Chris Newble from Bennetts Insurance explained the partnership, “We love supporting riders on a ‘mission’ and when we heard about S2D, this really seemed like an epic one of those! We’re looking forward to helping the brothers with their publicity drive, kicking off at Motorcycle Live and hopefully bringing the exquisite desert bike to the race fans at Bennetts British Superbikes next year.”
Getting a quote at www.bennetts.co.uk is simple. Bennetts offer a variety of schemes from their panel of insurers to find riders their best price for the cover they need. All Bennetts insurance policies are Defaqto 5-star rated, include 17 of the most common modifications covered as standard, provide access to a 24/7 UK-based claims team along with membership to its exclusive BikeSocial portal, which has incredible discounts on riding kit, accessories, experiences, and rider training, along with many more benefits.