As the 2023 Dakar rally enters the final stretch, the wily veterans of the sport are rising to the top. Former winner Kevin Benavides took his first stage win of the year and now sits in second place, just 27 seconds behind another former winner, Toby Price. Skyler Howes, who has been on top of the general classification for most of the rally, has slipped down to third with a seventh place finish today. He now trails Price by 1:31 going into the final stage.

Toby Price will start last in tomorrow’s final stage. Photo credit: Matteo Gebbia/RallyZone 2023

It was the end of the rally for several other riders. Mason Klein did not start after riding in pain for several days due to soft tissue neck injuries. It was also the end for 2018 winner Matthias Walkner, who crashed hard in the dunes. Walkner’s crash played into the final results because Benavides stopped and spent 23 minutes with him. After rejoining the race Kevin pushed hard for the finish and was able to follow established tracks. Benavides topped the stage by a tight 27 seconds – enough to provisionally move him up into second in the overall standings. The race to the finish line in Dammam on Sunday’s final stage will be intense. As per the Dakar Rally rules, riders will set off in reverse order to the general standings, meaning Kevin will be second-to-last away, followed by Toby.

Skyler Howes is now third in the general classification.

Skyler Howes: “Well, I definitely gave my all today – I pushed right from the start as hard as I could. When I saw that Walkner had crashed, it affected my focus a little bit. There were some really big dunes today, I had big jumps off the top of them myself, too. That was a bit of a deciding factor, I really wanted to push and try and get the win, but I want to make sure that I can complete the race as well. I missed one waypoint later on, and that meant circling around to pick it up, so I lost a little bit of time there. I’m still in the fight for the win, and I have to be super happy with how this race has gone up to this point. I can never look back and say I didn’t try my best. I’m looking forward to tomorrow, it’s going to be a short but fast stage with little scope to make up time I think, so the goal is to get my Husqvarna to the finish line in one piece and hopefully in a good position.”

Jacob Argubright appears to be accomplishing exactly what he set out to do. The Southern California desert racer came to the Dakar rally to learn, and is turning in his best rides in the late stages. He finished 15th on the stage and is in 21st overall. “Pretty stoked on today, best stage finish for me today and it was all dunes it was pretty awesome. I rode with Mathieu Doveze and we would switch off every 5 km or so leading each other so we could push and it definitely worked to our benefit. Excited for the final day, I’m also sad because I don’t it to be over. Already planning and scheming for 2024.”

Mason Klein says “Now we can only wait for Skyler Howes to bring home the win for America.”


2023 Dakar Rally – Stage 13 Provisional Classification

1. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 2:21:47
2. Michael Docherty (Husqvarna) 2:22:14
3. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 2:22:44
4. Adrian Van Beveren (Honda) 2:23:52
5. Toby Price (KTM) 2:24:15
6. Romain Dumontier (Husqvarna) 2:24:19
7. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 2:25:18
15. Jacob Argubright (Hus) 2:30:06
50. Pablo Copetti 3:01:55
71. Petr Vlcek 3:24:51
87. Morrison Hart (ARO) 4:50:36

2023 Dakar – Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 13]

1. Toby Price (KTM) 43:11:51
2. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 43:12:03
3. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 43:13:22
4. Adrien Van Beveren (Honda) 43:27:42
5. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 43:27:50
6. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 43:30:20
21. Jacob Argubright (Hus) 47H 18′ 47
50. Pablo Copetti 56:55:04
59. PetrVlcek 59:52:44
85. Morrison Hart (ARO) 82:56:41

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