Well, that didn’t take long …
On the second day of the Dakar rally, Toby Price (KTM) has moved to the top of the standings, with a win in Stage 2. It wasn’t an easy race, with soft dunes in high-altitude areas and for a while, there was a danger of thundershowers turning fesh-fesh sections into unnavigable muckholes. But the worst danger for the day was livestock, Price said.
“There were a lot of cows,” the Aussie rider said. “It was really hard coming through all the dust there this morning. A couple of them caught me a bit by surprise … We have more kangaroos back home than cows, but I’d rather pick on a kangaroo a little bit more than a cow, but all in all, I got through it.”
The organizers were concerned enough about the high-altitude section that they’d included a bypass route; competitors could skip the danger, but incur a 10-hour penalty. That wouldn’t make sense for a factory rider, but for a privateer aboard a small-capacity bike, this option could have been the difference between finishing the rally or going home early. At time of writing, we don’t know if anyone actually took the easy way out, but don’t be surprised to see this become more common at Dakar in the future.
Paulo Goncalves (Honda) came in second, with no drama to speak of, although he, too, said today’s route was dangerous. There have been complaints about the roadbook this year — supposedly, it’s a bit dumbed-down, with less information, and that’s making it tougher for some riders.
Third place went to Yamaha’s Xavier de Soultrait, who finished first yesterday but incurred a penalty, dropping him down the ranks. Sam Sunderland (KTM) ended in fourth (another day without disaster — no doubt he’s keeping his fingers crossed). Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) was fifth, Stefan Svitko (KTM) was sixth, and Ricky Brabec (Honda) was seventh.
This is the second day Brabec has finished ahead of teammate Joan Barreda (who was eighth on the day). Brabec was Honda’s top finisher last year, and if Barreda does his usual crash-and-burn and Goncalves has some bad luck, it’s not hard to imagine the Baja hero once again carrying Big Red’s banner as their factory team’s sole survivor.
Gerard Farres Guell (KTM) was ninth, Rodney Faggotter (Yamaha) was 10th. Juan Pedrero Garcia, who surprised many by taking the first stage on his Sherco, was 11th today. Laia Sanz (KTM) had an off day; she ended in 24th; as far as we know, she was still the top female rider.
Perhaps the day’s worst luck went to Matthias Walkner (KTM) who was dumped from a top-10 spot after his time card was blown away, costing him a five-minute penalty.
The top rider in the Malle Moto class (unassisted riders, with no support team) was Lyndon Poskitt, who some readers will recognize from his Races to Places YouTube series.
The Chinese bikes of the Zongshen team took a beating on Tuesday, with Thierry Bethys finishing the day as the only remaining member of the five-man factory team. Both riders for Hero Speedbrain finished, but the word on the street is that they’re riding Speedbrain bikes (modified BMW-derived 450s), not made-in-India machines.
Stage 2 results
1). Price, KTM
2). Goncalves, Honda, +00:03:51
3). de Soultrait, Yamaha, +00:04:06
4). Sunderland, KTM, +00:04:19
5). Quintanilla, Husqvarna, +00:04:48
6). Svitko, KTM, +00:04:54
7). Brabec, Honda, +00:05:40
8). Barreda, Honda, +00:06:25
9). Farres Guell, KTM, +00:07:26
10). Faggotter, Yamaha, +00:07:50
1). Price, KTM
2). Goncalves, Honda, +00:02:54
3). Sunderland, KTM, +00:03:23
4). de Soultrait, Yamaha, +00:03:41 (00:01:00 penalty)
5). Quintanilla, Husqvarna, +00:04:26
6). Brabec, Honda, +00:04:29
7). Svitko, KTM, +00:04:45
8). Barreda, Honda, +00:05:32
9). Pedrero Garcia, Sherco, +00:06:46
10). Farres Guell, KTM, +00:06:49