What happened yesterday: Tuesday 7th January:
Broadlink KTM’s Riaan van Niekerk’s technical skills came into play when the stage turned extremely technical as riders fought to summit the mountain crossing at 4300 meters. Riaan had a fantastic day, finishing 13th on the stage and moved up in the overall rankings to 12th. Ruben Faria crashed out as well as Frans Verhoeven and Zambian Dave reeve. Between 30 and 40 riders did not make the isolated bivouac on this the first day of the marathon stage. At least 20 of them slept out in the mountains. Brett Cummings swopped his rear wheel with Riaan’s in a barter deal where he needed some brake pads, it was a pretty funny swop on the top of the mountain.
Todays stage: Wednesday 8th January: San Juan to Chilecito
Liaison section: 59 km Special stage: 352 km Liaison section: 151 km
The day started well for Broadlink’s Riaan van Niekerk who slotted in amongst the worlds best rally riders moving up to 7th by the second checkpoint, he lost some ground by the halfway refuel at the 190 Km mark but was still only 6 minutes behind
Lopez. Disaster struck when Riaan and Metge lost their 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.This is the cruelty of the Dakar, although not as cruel as it would be for Ben Grabham who crashed out of the race. Our Factory KTM team is now down to 5.
Spains Juan Pedrero took the stage on his Sherco, Chaleco came in second, but more importantly Marc Coma finished third moving up to second overall just 3 minutes and 10 seconds behind overall leader Juan Barreda on the Honda. Cyril Despres suffered from electrical problem and lost 42 minutes today. The start of the 2014 Dakar has proven to be way more difficult than last year and the last two days have eliminated around 80 motorcycles. South African Brett Cummings had a great day finishing the stage in 29th today.
It was a disappointing day for Ben Grabham, crashing out of the rally today. Sam Sunderland is out with mechanical issues. Chicherit’s car burnt out and Leeroy Poulter broke a front shock on the proudly South African Imperial Toyota.
Tomorrows stage: Thursday 9th January: Chilecito to Tucuman
Liaison section: 154 km Special stage: 211 km Neutral section:
111 km Special section: 205 km Liasion