Stage 13 – La Serena to Valparaiso
Friday 17th January
Broadlink KTM’s Riaan van Niekerk rode carefully to protect his 12th overall position. “My goal was to pay particular attention to the navigation, I didn’t want to get lost, I made one small mistake, it wasn’t critical and I’m quiet happy with the way my day panned out”. Riaan finished 11th on the stage and held his 12th overall. He extended the gap between himself and 13th place Michael Metge to 1 hour and 8 minutes when Metge had some electrical problems on the stage.
KTM Red Bull Factory’s Marc Coma continued to control the race and also extended his overall lead to 2 hours when Juan Barreda had an unlucky crash, severely damaging his Honda, Barreda now sits in 7th overall
Cyril Despres won the stage by 2 minutes 17 seconds from Marc Coma, whilst Olivier Pain took third. Barreda’s crash moved Jordi Viladoms into second overall.
Saturday 18th January: La Serena to Valparaiso
Liaison section: 122Km Special stage: 157 km Liaison section: 256 km
The final stretch saw riders in a cheerful mood this morning, although caution was still the key word in the team “it’s not over till it’s over”. The professionalism of the KTM Factory team and meticulous preparation has been evident all the way through our two week journey, I just don’t think it can be any better !
Today’s start was in reverse order, so Marc Coma started last. Riaan van Niekerk having a 1 hour 8 minute gap on 13th place man, Metge, waited 38 minutes after his start for Marc coma as a security measure to see Marc safely through the stage. The pair rode the stage together and reached the finish, where an emotional team celebrated with the riders. It was a truly emotional moment for KTM winning their 13th Dakar in a row and taking the first two spots on the podium. Marc Coma taking the win ahead of his KTM Red Bull Factory team mate Jordi Viladoms. Kuba Pryzgonski placed sixth overall whilst Riaan finished a commendable 12th overall in his second Dakar winning the Super production class for the second year running. He was also the first non factory rider, the big difference here is that the Factory riders do this for a living, they live eat and sleep rallies. Riaan’s potential in the rally style of off road racing has clearly been recognised by both Broadlink and KTM alike. Our relations with KTM have been strengthened and we can work on things to come.
We would like to thank Broadlink, KTM, MTN, Brother, Leader tread and Teraco for the amazing opportunity to compete against the worlds best at the world’s toughest race.
The last 256 Km home stretch into Valparaiso where riders were greeted by thousands of Chileans was like a victory lap, with competitors enjoying the cheers to the evening podium.
It’s time for riders to hang up their boots, the party will for sure be big tonight, watch out for our Broadlink post Dakar evening where we will take you through the race in great detail, till later,
Arrival at Oliver Tambo Airport, Johannesburg South Africa
We will be landing at O.R. Tambo at 07:40am on Tuesday the 21st Jan on flight SA0223 from Sao Paulo for anyone wanting to welcome Riaan home.