Stage Eleven provides drama for a large portion of the riders, including Delta Kunststoffe Husqvarna UK’s Simon Pavey.
The infamous and daunting Fiambala stages of Dakar’s past have brought drama, excitement and emotion in every edition and 2013 didn’t disappoint. However, for Simon luck was not on his side.
Rain proved a welcome release from the notoriously soft sand of Fiambala, and despite a slightly disappointing stage result at the hand of a faulty road book and some navigational errors, Simon still crept forward in the overall standings.
While the rain took the edge off the stage and gave the racers 30km less to ride, the stage proved to be one of the toughest of the race yet, and for all the racers one of the most physical. Large areas of bumpy off piste riding through viciously spiny brush proved to be a relentless and punishing task.
After missing his bivouac start time to fix the issue with his road book, Simon made his special stage start time cleanly. However the problem was not solved with his navigation equipment, but despite having to manually adjust his road book he made good time in the dunes. A small navigational mistake when riding in a group saw the riders do almost 30km extra riding. Expending huge amounts of energy whilst trying to escape a ravine, Simon lacked the strength to catch up the lost time safely; combined with having to manually adjust the road book his final position of 67th is still a good result.
Simon Pavey – “Today was brutal. The stage was very physical and I had a problem with my road book again; it’s the fourth day in a row. It seems alright in the bivouac and then it just stops.
I just had one of those days, nothing went well. I missed my initial start time due to trying to fix the road book and then had to ride hard to make the special stage. I was riding well, but it’s awkward to adjust the road book by hand and ride difficult terrain. You can manage well if it’s hard packed and fast, but when the riding is tricky you have to stop to advance it.
I caught some other guys in the stage and we made a small mistake with the nav. It took us up a really difficult streambed, I was hauling the bike around lots and it used a substantial amount of energy. From then on we had a mixture of off-piste riding through the thorn brush and dunes. I was able to ride quickly in the dunes and make up time but everywhere else was very physical and I lacked the energy.
However, in reality we are through one of the hardest stages unscathed and that’s always a good thing. The result could have been far worse; fortunately for me most of the people around me were in the group that got lost. Tomorrow is another tough day, crossing the Andes is always difficult and we have a big special stage after the liaison.”
On stage twelve the race returns to Chile, crossing the famous Paso de San Francisco. After climbing to heights of over 4000m and suffering a temperature change of 35 degrees the riders will be challenged with racing a 300km stage.
Simon Pavey – 67th – 4:18.05
Simon Pavey – 63rd – 42:33.07