What happened yesterday: Wednesday 8th January
Disaster struck when Riaan lost his bearings and went completely off course, losing more than 1 hour 30 in the process. Riaan said that “he has never been so lost in his life” clocking up an extra 65 kilometers in the process. Riaan finished the stage in 69th position, 2 hours down on the stage winner. He would start this morning in 72nd position after a few elite riders got slotted in front of him.
Todays stage: Thursday 9th January: Chilecito to Tucuman
Liaison section: 154 km Special stage: 211 km Neutral section: 111 km Special section: 205 km Liasion section: 231 km
This would go down to be Broadlink KTM’s Riaan van Niekerk’s best rally stage ever. Starting in 72nd position, everything would go “right” for Riaan as he found the way where everyone else failed finishing in an incredible 5th on the stage bringing him back down to 17th overall. It was almost not to be though, as when Riaan was navigating through the camel grass he crashed into Paulo Gonzalves’ burning Honda and nearly set himself alight. As he tried to pick the bike up, Riaan’s handguard hooked onto one of the cables from Paulo’s bike, the flames were licking Riaan’s rear tanks and it would have been a few seconds more and it would have been all over. Farres’ Gas Gas also went up in smoke today, the temperatures were simply too high. Grass collects in the bash plate and by the time you realize what’s going on, it’s too late.
The KTM Red Bull Factory team had a great day, everything fell into place for Marc Coma, who took the stage win and pulled 12 minutes 54 seconds on second place Jordi Viladoms. Kuba Pryzgonski was some ten minutes behind Jordi. Honda’s Helder Rodrigues was another 3 minutes back. Riaan was 32 minutes 04 seconds behind Marc Coma. This gives Marc a 41 minute 10 cushion over second place Juan Barreda. Chaleco is in third, Viladoms in fourth and Kuba in 7th.
Brett Cummings had a solid ride today finishing 35th, he is now 41st overall. A great achievement for a privateer riding in the Malle moto class, meaning that he has to maintain his bike himself.
Tomorrows stage: Friday 10th January: Tucuman to Salta
Liaison section: 37 km Special stage: 234 km Neutral section: 62 km Special section: 104 km Liasion section: 28 km
A new trip to the mountains will take motorcyclists to the banks of the rivers, they will have to watch out for animals. After this stage, they will finally be able to rest.