RICKY BRABEC WINS DAKAR STAGE 3
The Super Marathon stage wrapped up today with American Ricky Brabec of the Monster Energy Honda Team winning and leapfrogging into the overall lead. The 414-kilometer Neom loop took place on slippery gravel-filled mountain tracks connected by a high-speed section of off-piste racing through a valley. The navigation proved particularly taxing, but Brabec, José Ignacio Cornejo and Kevin Benavides went 1-2-3, making for an all-Honda podium.
Earlier this morning, riders once again received the ready-to-use roadbooks just minutes before the race-start, but Ricky figured it out quickly and scored the best times at the various waypoints of the special before reaching the goal back in Neom. A GPS issue that affected all competitors and resulted in many of the front runners being unable to find a waypoint resulted in the event organizers taking the results from kilometer 389, rather than the final 427-kilometer mark as originally planned.
Ricky Brabec: “Today was actually really fun. The train was really epic. There were a lot of rocks, lots of stones, a lot of sand, and a lot of tricky navigation. It was really fast, which is what I really prefer. I had a good starting position today. I started a little bit back in twelfth position. I didn’t have too much dust. I past the first rider at kilometer 20. I knew today I could push. It was difficult. Every note that I thought was difficult I slowed down and took my time. I was pushing all day. We had three short specials. I was riding really well and I felt really good today. The roadbook is really good. The information here is really, really nice here. Tomorrow will be tricky. It’s always difficult opening because you have all the riders pushing behind you.”
Fourth and fifth on the day were Red Bull KTM riders Matthias Walkner and Toby Price. Even though they gave up time to the Honda riders, they were pleased because they will enjoy good starting positions tomorrow, the the Honda team opening the course.
Matthias Walkner: “I rode well today so I’m happy about that and the bike is performing really well too, which is great. Right from the start today, navigation was really tricky and you have to concentrate on the road book a lot. I came close to hitting some big rocks hidden in the sand today – it’s difficult to find the right balance between maintaining good speed and the navigation. The missing waypoint caught everyone out so that caused some issues toward the end of the stage. All-in-all I feel good and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Also making the most of his experience when the going gets tough, Toby Price completed the shortened stage as fifth fastest, just seconds down on teammate Walkner. The stage one winner moves up to sixth in the general rankings and will enjoy a strong start position for Wednesday’s stage four.
Toby Price: “It’s been a tough day, but not too bad. Things were going well in the morning – a few mistakes here and there but nothing too bad. I just tried to stay on two wheels, ride safe and bring it home. Obviously the issue towards the end threw us all a bit, but it’s nice that the organisers acknowledged that quickly and rectified the results. The stage was really beautiful – lots of canyons and camels – I’m feeling good and keen to get going again tomorrow.”
For Andrew Short it was a difficult day. After suffering a fall on Monday, the American’s road book navigation equipment was damaged and as such, the event organizers required it to be fixed before he was allowed to carry on. Although the repair took just minutes, Andrew incurred a 30-minute penalty for having to do so. The remainder of the stage went well for the former supercross star, riding carefully to conserve his tires and FR 450 Rally, Short placed 37th and now lies 17th in the provisional overall standings.
Andrew Short: “After crashing yesterday and damaging the bike, the organizers insisted I had to fix it before carrying on so I had to cross the start line and then immediately stop to make repairs. After that the day went pretty well – the bike wasn’t perfect after my fall and I’m still feeling a little sore, but I was able to stick to a solid pace. To finish the day feels great after everything that happened, I struggled a lot with the missing waypoint that affected most of the riders, but to make up for it the scenery here has been amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen desert that looks like this. Hopefully we can get everything sorted now and press on again tomorrow.”
STAGE 3 RESULTS
|1||BRABEC Ricky||9||USA||Monster Energy Honda Team||03:29’31|
|2||CORNEJO José Ignacio||17||CHI||Monster Energy Honda Team||+05’56|
|3||BENAVIDES Kevin||7||ARG||Monster Energy Honda Team||+07’22|
|4||WALKNER Matthias||2||AUT||KTM Factory Racing Team||+08’13|
|5||PRICE Toby||1||AUS||KTM Factory Racing Team||+08’35|
|6||BARREDA Joan||12||SPA||Monster Energy Honda Team||+09’04|
|7||BENAVIDES Luciano||16||ARG||KTM Factory Racing Team||+12’00|
|8||DE SOULTRAIT Xavier||10||FRA||Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team||+13’55|
|9||HOWES Skyler||59||USA||Klymciw Racing||+15’43|
|10||METGE Adrien||11||FRA||Sherco TVS Rally Factory||+18’00|
OVERALL STANDINGS AFTER STAGE 3
|1||BRABEC Ricky||9||USA||Monster Energy Honda Team||10:39’04|
|2||BENAVIDES Kevin||7||ARG||Monster Energy Honda Team||+04’43|
|3||WALKNER Matthias||2||AUT||KTM Factory Racing Team||+06’02|
|4||BARREDA Joan||12||SPA||Monster Energy Honda Team||+11’02|
|5||CORNEJO José Ignacio||17||CHI||Monster Energy Honda Team||+11’19|
|6||PRICE Toby||1||AUS||KTM Factory Racing Team||+11’58|
|7||BENAVIDES Luciano||16||ARG||KTM Factory Racing Team||+14’20|
|8||QUINTANILLA Pablo||5||CHI||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||+15’40|
|9||SUNDERLAND Sam||3||GBR||KTM Factory Racing Team||+17’10|
|10||DE SOULTRAIT Xavier||10||FRA||Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team||+19’55|