This year, North America took a big step forward on the world stage of Rally competition. The 2023 Sonora Rally, which has long been the premiere rally for Americans and Mexican Nationals, became a part of the FIM World Rally Raid Championship. It was round three, to be specific. Going in, Americans were expected to be a significant factor. Last year’s winner was Skyler Howes and prior to that, Ricky Brabec was a multi-time winner. Mason Klein was also on the list of Americans with a shot and Jacob Argubright was one of the favorites to win the Rally 2 class.

Daniel Sanders battled with Toby Price for most of the Sonora Rally.

In the end, it was Aussie Daniel Sanders who won, with Ricky Brabec suffering an assortment of penalties and problem to finish 8th. Argubright did quite well in Rally 2, finishing in second right behind his Dakar nemesis Romain Dumontier. They were 13th and 14th overall. Mason Klein had a rough time, but still managed to finish. He was 16th overall, but that’s an improvement over the first two rounds, where he didn’t make it to the end. Unfortunately, that was the fate of Skyler Howes, who crashed on the second stage and injured his shoulder.

Skyler Howes dropped out on stage 2

One of the most critical days was stage four, when the results were in turmoil. Due to a mistake in the road book at Km 76,84 where it was indicated CAP 298 instead of CAP 233, several FIM competitors missed the route. All competitors affected by this situation were able to rejoin the rally route at Km 93,39. FIM officials analyzed the issue and presented a solution intended to minimize its impact. In consequence, the Race Director decided to disregard the SS time between WP26 (Km 76,84) and WP30 (Km 93,39). The Bonus corresponding to the WP of 91,36 Km was also not considered.

Jacob Argubright was 14th overall and 2nd in Rally 2.

Argubright, in particular, felt this solution was unfair. “There was an issue with the roadbook that I was able to figure out and not lose time resulting in my best finish, P2 Rally2 & P11 OA. Sounds like they are going to remove that section of the notebook which will change my OA finish. No hate for the organizers or anyone. I just don’t agree with it. I build roadbooks all the time with mistakes, to me it’s just something else to navigate. Either way, it was another fun day in Sonora.”

Sanders was predictably happy in the end. “It’s great to get my first rally win. It feels like it’s been a long time coming – obviously after a year off it’s great to be back where I want to be. Dakar’s the big one but getting wins in the world championship is also super important. I’ve had some bad luck with speed penalties and things like that in some events, so to finally get a world championship win means a lot to me. Also, I feel like I’ve ridden well this event, leading out on several days, and generally having a good run through the event. Yeah, after a year out and then getting sick at Dakar, it’s all heading in the right direction. I’m improving still, and thanks to the team who always give me a great bike I feel like things are really coming together now.”


2023 Sonora Rally – Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 5]

1. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 11:01:09
2. Tosha Schareina (Honda) 11:09:32 +8:23
3. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 11:18:25 +17:16
4. Toby Price (KTM) 11:20:52 +19:43
5. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 11:24:09 +23:00
6. Adrien Van Beveren (Honda) 11:28:23 +27:14

2023 FIM World Rally-Raid Championship Standings [After Round 3]

1. Toby Price (KTM) 62 points
2. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 55 pts
3. Adrien Van Beveren (Honda) 53 pts
4. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 43 pts
5. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 39 pts
6. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 34 pts

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