Mon 27 February 2012

Dakar 2012 wrap up

The 2012 Dakar started this year in Mar del Plata with twelve riders of the Bel-Ray Super B Honda team at the start. 2012 was different than previous editions in South America. The route went from Mar del Plata in Argentina, through Chile, to Lima in Peru. A route from A to B with Peru as a new challenge / country. The participants had to cover more than 9000 kilometers.


It was a tough Dakar this year. And not only for the riders. The mechanics had to work hard. Many riders came in the bivak with a lot of damages on their bikes. And maintenance is one thing, repairing damages is another. Nights up to 04.00 hour were normal. Getting up between 05.00 and 06.00 also. We had a large team (32 people), with high expectations. After day 1 we knew those expectations were justified. Quinn finished in a 4th place, Sam 7th. It was a great disappointment when Sam had to retire on day two due to electronical problems and Quinn went out one day later after a big crash. This were two big setbacks for the whole team. And it may not sound right, but that’s also Dakar and you must be able to handle it. The team overcame the setback and focused again on Juan Carlos and the finishing of the team riders. Juan Carlos, despite his problems on day 2, had a great Dakar. He finished regularly top 20, was best Bolivian and became the first non-elite rider. Besides that, he had a great ending of his Dakar. He finished the final stage in 15th place and was not only able to catch the rider in front of him, but also the rider in front of that one in the overall standings. The contrast with Marco can not be bigger. For Marco, the Dakar ended abruptly, after a crash, with the finish in sight.

As a team you have no grip on the crashes and injuries of your riders. That’s their part of the job. But every time you have this confrontation in your team, it’s hard to accept. You want to bring everyone to the finish, top rider or amateur. And with the exception of the problems in the first few days we were able to achieve that. We have won the marathon class and have the best non-elite rider in our team. That’s a team effort!

Despite the difficult start of the Dakar, we are pleased with the responses we have received back from our riders. Failed or not, amateur or top rider, they all look back positive on their Dakar and on the team.

The Dakar is unique, it’s a challenge, it’s unpredictable and it has its own laws.

Dakar is and remains the world's toughest rally.

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