BRETT CUMMINGS : DAKAR ‘ROOKIE’ NOW IN TOP 50
January 18th, 2013 – The young Witbank engineer, Brett Cummings (29), is impressing as a ‘rookie’ competitor in the motorcycle category of the 2013 Dakar Rally where he has now moved up into the 50th place on the overall standings after finishing yesterday’s Stage 12 in 36th position. With only two days left on this year’s Dakar Rally, Cummings’ goal of finishing in the top 50, is within his reach.
After initially working his way into the top 100 (he was 75th) from 103rd place, Cummings dropped back early in the race when he lost time while towing his stricken team-mate, Tod Smith, for almost 160 kilometres during the fourth day of this 15 day race. That has, however, not keep him back and he has since worked his way back up on the overall standings with his biggest jump (10 places) just before the Rest Day (Sunday 12 January) between stages six and seven.
He picked up his pace and some more positions after the Rest Day and bettered his starting position (the same position a rider finished the previous day) almost every day. Cummings reached his goal to be in the Top 50 after Stage 12 (Thursday, 17 January) when he finished the gruelling 319 kilometres stage in 36th place! This result pushed him to the 50th place on the overall standings.
According to Cummings, the start to Stage 12 was terrible. Competitors had to first cover a ‘connection section’ of 392 kilometres over the western border of Argentina back into Chile with the route taking them to around 3 000m above sea level! It was cold and he experienced altitude sickness. After completing this section, he then tackled the racing section (319km) with a strategy to ‘take it slow’.
“I quickly found a rhythm and had one of the best rides ever,” he said afterwards. “I really enjoyed the stage even though it was pretty rough and a bit of hard work,” the quiet Witbank businessman explained.
The penultimate stage of the 2013 Dakar Rally, that started on January 5th and finish tomorrow (Saturday 19 January) will be another long and demanding stage. Cummings will tackle today’s Stage 13 of 441 kilometres from the 36th position on the grid. Today’s route will take competitors back to the Pacific coast. Mixed soil, sand and dunes await them in the special racing stage and when they have completed the stage, they will have another 204 kilometres to complete before getting to the overnight bivouac in La Serena.
(Brett Cummings Race Number: #89)