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2017 Dakar, Stage 3

Today’s racing proved once again that anything can happen at Dakar; a few minutes’ mistake can quickly change the standings.

In Stage 3, Joan Barreda (Honda)took advantage of his competition’s misfortune to rocket to the front of the pack. Difficulties in navigation slowed down several frontrunners; a few top riders, including KTM’s Toby Price and Sam Sunderland and Husqvarna’s Pablo Quintanilla were grumbling afterwards. But Barreda picked his game up a notch and ended the stage more than 10 minutes ahead of second-place Sunderland.

Now, Bam Bam’s in the lead, and Price is in fifth overall. It’s a bit of a surprise, as Borreda’s never been reckoned a top navigator in the league of extraterrestrials Cyril Despres or Marc Coma. Everyone figured Price would take over alien status this year, and maybe that will happen yet, but today’s performance means he’s got some catching up to do. He finished 21 minutes behind Barreda, and is more than 16 minutes back in the overall standings.

“We definitely lost a bit of time today; but there’s still a long way to go — we’re only three days in,” Price said.Give it time and we’ll see how we go. We’re definitely going to work our way back. I won last year by almost forty minutes so surely we can try and do something there.”

Sam Sunderland has been impressive so far aboard his factory KTM; if the plucky Brit can fend off disaster, he may prove to be the real deal this year. Photo: Facebook

Sunderland is now the top-ranked KTM in second overall; third went to Pierre Renet (Husqvarna), who’s undoubtedly chuffed, as nobody saw that coming.

Pablo Quintanilla took his Husky to fourth, and Paulo Goncalves finished fifth on his Honda. He’s slipped to third overall now in the standings.

Overall, it was a day of disappointment for several established riders, particularly the ones who’d built up leads in the first couple stages.

No big names have dropped out of the bike race yet, but almost 20 riders have hit the withdrawal list already. Maybe the hardest-hit was Humphrey Senn van Basel, who had a crack-up yesterday and had to withdraw from the Dakar for the fourth year in a row.

Stage 3 rankings

1). Barreda, Honda
2). Sunderland, KTM, +00:12:29
3). Rene, Husqvarna, +00:15:30
4). Quintanilla, Husqvarna, +00:16:02
5). Goncalves, Honda, +00:16:20
6). Van Beveren, Yamaha, +00:19:40
7). Caimi, Honda, +00:20:09
8). Farres Guell, KTM, +00:20:43
9). Price, KTM, +00:21:51
10). Brabec, Honda, +00:24:16

Overall standings

1). Barreda, Honda (00:01:00 penalty)
2). Sunderland, KTM, +00:10:20
3). Goncalves, Honda, +00:13:42
4). Quintanilla, Husqvarna, +00:14:56
5). Price, KTM, +00:16:19
6). Van Beveren, Yamaha, +00:22:00
7). Farres Guell, KTM, +00:22:00
8). Brabec, Honda, +00:23:13
9). Svitko, KTM, +00:25:54
10). Walkner, KTM, +00:27:47 (00:05:00 penalty)

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