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Sun 29 December 2019

Review: season 2019

It is the end of 2019 and the team will leave the Netherlands to go to Jeddah, the starting place of Dakar 2020, where the Dakar will start the third chapter in its long history. Before we take off to this new continent, it is time look back at 2019. A busy year for HT Rally Raid with the Dakar, Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, Merzouga Rally, Silkway Rally and Rallye du Maroc. Hereby a (short) summary of our season!

The year started as always with the Dakar Rally. This time in only one country: Peru. HT Rally Raid started the rally with 6 riders in the team. There were many stories to tell: the oldest Dakar motorbike rider ever, Martien Jimmink (58 years old), went ill on day 4, which was almost the end of the rally, but he managed to finish the rally. An amazing job. He will be back in Dakar 2020. Mirjam Pol started her 7th Dakar and, at the finish line, she proudly told it was her best Dakar ever. Marcel Piek was the unfortunate rider in the team: after a crash at day 6, he was out of the rally. Paul Spierings, another Dutch rider in our team, was able to finish in 26th position in his first Dakar, a great job, while also Puchi Ontiveros and Carlos Gracida rode a stable and great rally: no big crashes and they both crossed the finish line! A good start of the season for our team.

There was hardly no time for a rest after the Dakar: we had to split the team to go to the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge as well as to the Merzouga Rally. Nice and well organized events. There were some variable results: great results in the ADDC as well as in the Merzouga Rally with some amazing rankings for Ryan Blair and Mark Ackerman in the ADDC and Calle Bjerkert in the Merzouga Rally. However, there were some other riders who experienced that a crash happens in only a split second. We are happy we can say all are back okay now.

Coming back from Abu Dhabi and the Merzouga Rally, the preparations started for the next event on the calendar: the Silkway Rally. That rally was not only an adventure and challenge for the riders, but also for the team the weeks before the rally and the weeks afterwards, because it was logistically a big operation: 2 trucks, 4 people driving more than 20.000 kms through Russia, Mongolia and China to facilitate the riders during the rally. New in the team were the Polish riders Adam Tomiczek and Maciej Giemza, sponsored by Orlen, and riding a lot of rallies. They did an amazing job by finishing this rally in a 8th (Adam) and 10th (Maciej) position in the general rankings. Unfortunately, Max Hunt crashed out of the rally in Mongolia, but he is doing great now.

At the time the trucks arrived back home from the Silkway Rally, 10 brand new rally bikes reminds the team members of the next season and the next rally: Rally du Maroc. After a shakedown in Spain for our Dakar 2020 and Rally du Maroc 2019 riders, we headed off to Morocco for the start of the Rally du Maroc. Besides Adam Tomiczek and Maciej Giemza, 2 guys from Bahrain started this rally  with only one goal: qualification for Dakar 2020. Also Floor Maten, normally arranging logistics and administration for the team, participated in this rally. Experiencing the rally as a participant instead of being assistance. Great experience. All riders reached the finish line without any major crashes. Great job, for sure fort he guys from Bahrain, who didn’t know what to expect in their first rally.

The season came to an end after the Rally du Maroc. Now it is time to look forward: Dakar 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

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