Thu 05 January 2012

Bel-Ray Super B Honda's Top Prospects Out Of Dakar Race

Bel-Ray SuperB Honda’s top prospects Sam Sunderland and Quinn Cody were unfortunately ruled out of the 2012 Dakar at stage two and three of the race over the last two days with Sunderland retiring with a technical issue and Cody crashing during yesterday afternoon’s special.

Following a strong start into seventh place after the first special stage, Sunderland’s Dakar debut was frustratingly cut short in the early hours of Tuesday morning at CP1 in the special section. After a 487km liaison, the British youngster had nursed his machine to the refuelling area in hot, windy and wet conditions, a further 200km into the special stage. Sunderland spent 10 hours trying to repair his machine, which was suffering with an electrical fault, but despite his best efforts, the 22-year-old racer was unable to get back on track and was forced to be collected by the sweep team while retiring from the race.

Teammate Quinn Cody had also enjoyed a strong start to this year’s race. The American pilot was fourth after the first day, and despite dropping to 20th position during the second stage, he was making up good time and well back within contention for a top ten placing. The Honda racer made it through the third checkpoint of the San Rafael to San Juan route that included a 291km liaison and 208km special, when he had a huge crash close to the stage end. After receiving medical attention Cody has been diagnosed with a probable broken piece off the clavicle, a lance to the eyebrow that has now been stitched, and concussion, which have unfortunately ruled him out of the race. He will be flying home today to receive further medical attention and tweeted this morning that he is "feeling lucky" after escaping a more serious injury in his fall.

After crashing on day two, Bel-Ray SuperB Honda’s Juan Carlos Salvatierra has made some progress and now lies within the top 115 after stage three of the 15-day campaign. Honda Racing Argentina rider Javier Pizzolito still lies in seventh place after the third stage, and Tamarugal Honda Racing XC Rally Team’s Daniel Gouet is in 15th position.


Sam Sunderland #36
“Obviously I’m devastated to be out at this early stage, as the first day was more like a warm-up and I was looking forward to getting my teeth into some proper riding. I set off as normal in the 400k liaison and had some problems there. The support team changed the part and I made it to the special in time. I had some issues in the special and when I got to CP1 to refuel the bike completely cut out. I tried to fix it, but I couldn’t get a spark, and believe me I tried everything. I got help from some of the others coming through, and even tried a donor part off a police bike, but unfortunately 10 hours later we couldn’t get back going in time to get back and I had to retire while being collected by the sweep team. I had no phone signal and had to get a contact through a satellite phone, then by the time I got back to the bivouac it was 2.30am. We’d had a really good first day, and the second day was going pretty well, despite the bad weather conditions, so I’m disappointed for everyone because I really wanted to prove myself; it’s nobody’s fault, it’s just one of those unexpected things. The team has worked so hard and there's been so much put into this, so I’d really like to thank everyone for their effort, it just wasn’t to be this year.”
Henk Hellegers: Bel-Ray SuperB Honda Team Owner
“It’s been a very unfortunate end to what was looking like a good possibility for strong finishes in this year’s Dakar race. Sam has done a really good job, making some excellent decisions and he learned an awful lot in his short time racing. It’s frustrating because out of the sixty or so bikes we’ve built and tested, we’ve never had the problem that he has had with his bike, and it happened with him twice in one day. Obviously this is something we are already investigating and at the end of the rally we can look at more closely. With Quinn, he was riding really well and had regained his top ten position, so we were looking to make some progress with him. He had a huge crash and medical examinations have shown he has possibly broken a piece off the collarbone, and he has also lanced his eyebrow quite badly, which has been stitched. He also seems to be suffering from concussion, so he was unable to continue and is now flying home to receive medical attention. I’d like to thank everyone for their hard work – we have a really good team this year, although we’ve never had so much bad luck, but this is the Dakar and anything can happen. I hope we can bring both of these riders back next year and we’ve already begun putting a plan in place for the future.”

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