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Ready for Dakar? These riders are

The 2017 Dakar rally is almost upon us, getting underway on January 2. And while organizers say this is going to be the toughest route yet, we can point you to a few riders who appear to be more than up for the challenge.

Enjoy the teasers from Honda and KTM, because chances are, once the race is running a month from now, those smiles will be gone. Except for Pablo Quintanilla, who’s riding a Husqvarna, all the riders with a realistic chance at the title are in these two videos. One of these men will almost certainly be the top rider again this year, and Laia Sanz will almost certainly be the top female rider (sorry, girls; Laia hasn’t challenged the podium consistently enough yet to be considered a contender for the overall win, as cool as that would be).

The ultimate plot twist we’d like to see in this year’s rally is a crash-free race from Joan Barreda. Paulo Goncalves will probably put in his usual steady performance, but the only way a Honda is likely to win is if Bam Bam manages to avoid binning his CRF450 Rally. While Barreda usually challenges for the number of stages won, he’s always a threat to completely crash out, or ruin a teammate’s bike by cannibalizing it for parts.

Otherwise, either Pablo Quintanilla or one of those KTM guys will probably be your champ in six week’s time. Either way, we’re really looking forward to this year’s race, and CMG will once again be sharing updates as the rally progresses.

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