DAKAR WRAP UP

Red Bull KTM factory rider Toby Price put a wrap on the 2016 Dakar Rally to give KTM its 15th victory in the world’s toughest annual rally raid. Price’s victory was also the first time an Australian rider has taken the title and the first time in the history of the event that a rider had won it on a second attempt. Price raced his first Dakar last year and he took a podium third.

pricemub

The Husqvarna factory team had a great rally as well, with Pablo Quintanilla of Chile winning the final stage and getting third overall, his best ever Dakar result. Speaking after the stage, Price said: “Winning in my second participation is awesome, but being the first Australian to win the Dakar is just insane. I would’ve never imagined this two years ago. Finishing the rally is already a triumph. Winning it is amazing! I tackled the race in true Aussie style. I attacked when I had to, when the time was right, and I kept an eye on my bike during the all-important marathon stages. I also navigated quite well. I hope this is just the start, to win again. It won’t be easy, so I’ve got to savor this victory.”

The Australian was a dominating presence throughout the rally, which this year also had to deal with extreme weather conditions ranging from thunderstorms and flooding to intense temperatures. Aware that he had to prove his third place podium in 2015 was no coincidence, he prepared well and picked up his first stage win in the second stage after the first one was washed out by thunderstorms. He went on to survive the high altitudes of Bolivia, won stages 5-6 and before the rest day in Salta he had moved into second overall. Refreshed and recharged, Price went on to win the eighth and ninth stages to firmly establish himself as the man to beat.

HRC Honda continues its string of bad luck in Dakar. The team is a dominant presence in the world rally series, but when it comes to Dakar each year, crashes and mechanical failures inevitably hit the top riders. Joan Barreda and Paulo Goncalves both fell victim in 21016, leaving American Ricky Brabec the team’s top finisher, in ninth. “I’m really excited finishing my first Dakar. I want to come back and do better. I’m excited to be in the team. This is my third rally ever, so that is a huge accomplishment for me. So, finishing in the top ten in my first rally is pretty good and I’m the only rider on the team to get a top ten. So, we’ll see if we can improve and come back next year and do better. Back in June 2015 I had a broken neck and it took a good six month to heal. I was talking to a doctor, eating some special foods and trying to get as much calcium and vitamins as I needed to get back to racing. This is my second race back and the biggest race in the world and I’m happy to have accomplished the goal and get a finish and my medal.”

Ian Blythe
Ian Blythe

Another American standout was Ian Blythe, who built momentum throughout the rally. His worst finish was in his initial stage, where he finished 58th. Then he did better and better each stay until stage 11, when he finished in eighth place. When it was all over, Blythe was 26th overall with a 20th in the final stage. Alex Smith paralleled that march forward in the standings, eventually landing in 37th place. And Scott Bright, the elder statesman of American Rally racing, finished the rally with amazing consistency in 58th place overall. Bright is 45 years old and has ridden a number of rallies, but this was his first attempt at Dakar.

Alexander Smith
Alexander Smith
Scott Bright
Scott Bright

Stage 14

1 QUINTANILLA Pablo 4 CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team 1:51’27
2 BENAVIDES Kevin 47 ARG Honda South America Rally Team +1’41
3 RODRIGUES Helder 7 POR Yamaha Motor Europe +2’37
4 PRICE Toby 3 AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team +4’22
5 SVITKO Stefan 5 SLO Slovnaft Team +6’24
6 FARRES Gerard 23 SPA Himoinsa Team +10’52
7 CERVANTES Iván 52 SPA Himoinsa Team +11’50
8 BRABEC Ricky 48 USA Team HRC +12’43
9 VAN BEVEREN Adrien 42 FRA Yamaha Motor Europe +14’09
10 PATRAO Mario 44 POR RR Motos Credito Agricola +14’43

Overall

1 PRICE Toby 3 AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team 48:09’15
2 SVITKO Stefan 5 SLO Slovnaft Team +39’41
3 QUINTANILLA Pablo 4 CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +48’48
4 BENAVIDES Kevin 47 ARG Honda South America Rally Team +54’47
5 RODRIGUES Helder 7 POR Yamaha Motor Europe +55’44
6 VAN BEVEREN Adrien 42 FRA Yamaha Motor Europe +1:46’29
7 MEO Antoine 49 FRA Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team +1:56’47
8 FARRES Gerard 23 SPA Himoinsa Team +2:01’00
9 BRABEC Ricky 48 USA Team HRC +2:11’27
10 MONLEON Armand 45 SPA KTM Warsaw Rally Team +3:27’49

Comments are closed.

edit