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Tue 17 January 2012

Bel-Ray Super B Honda concludes tough Dakar Rally with positive finish

The Bel-Ray Super B Honda Team certainly had its ups and downs in this year’s Dakar Rally; after losing its top prospects Sam Sunderland and Quinn Cody out of competition early on in the race, the team’s non-elite rider Juan Carlos Salvatierra put on a good show from outside the top 150 to conclude the 15-day event in 31st position. 

Juan Carlos Salvatierra (Bolivia) and the team at the Dakar finish podium in Lima (photo © DDT Press Fred Tigelaar)
 
The rally, which began in Mar Del Plata in Argentina on New Year’s Day, ventured through super-tough sections over thousands of kilometres in the desert, rocks, rivers and dunes, to head through Chile and conclude at the weekend in Peru. On only the second day disaster struck for Dakar debutant Sam Sunderland, who was ruled out of the race with a technical issue that, despite his best efforts, he was unable to resolve halfway through the second special. The British rider had made a good start well into the top ten and was keen to make the most of the opportunity to race in the notorious rally, but unfortunately his Dakar challenge was prematurely cut short.
 
Quinn Cody had also made a good start to the race. The American pilot, who finished ninth in the rally last year, was in the top ten and looking strong when a spectacular crash on a fast straight section curtailed his race on day three. With a suspected piece broken off his clavicle, a lance to the eye and concussion, he was unable to continue, and flew home for further medical treatment.
 
This left Juan Carlos Salvatierra the job of flying the flag for the Bel-Ray Super B Honda Team, although having crashed on day two of the rally, the Bolivian racer certainly had his work cut out. Salvatierra made a great deal of progress following his teammates’ departures, winning a number of specials in the non-elite class, as well as some top 20 overall finishes. On the rest day Salvatierra was given some of the special parts originally reserved for the lead riders for his CRF 450X, and the Honda pilot certainly made the most of these, as he elevated himself through the ranks in some of the most extreme conditions to conclude the rally in a very positive 31st place.
 
 

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