Cyril Despres wins Morocco Rally

0
118
Cyril Despres wins again; the fast Frenchman seems to be unstoppable in the desert. Photo: KTM
Cyril Despres wins again; the fast Frenchman seems to be unstoppable in the desert. Photo: KTM

Helder Rodrigues won the final stage of the Morocco Rally aboard his Honda, but Cyril Despres used the points from his third-place finish to take the overall win.

Despres, of course, was aboard a KTM; fellow Team Orange rider Marc Coma didn’t complete the race, after crashing out on the third day, so they didn’t pull their usual 1-2 dominance, as seen every year at Dakar. Instead, Husqvarna’s Joan Barreda took second place overall, about seven minutes behind Despres.

Chaleco Lopez (aboard a KTM) finished third overall in the final standings. Yamaha’s Frans Verhoeven and Husqvarna’s  Paolo Goncalves rounded out the top five overall finishers.

Helder Rodrigues made a strong showing on Honda’s new 450 rally bike, but finished far down in the standings due to technical issues. Photo: Honda

Husqvarna’s efforts to unseat KTM from their position atop the rally raid racing heap are heating up; they’re getting closer to the overall win,although Coma’s crash undoubtedly helped their efforts.

Honda’s new rally bike also held its own; Helder Rodrigues ended up winning a couple stages, but a technical problem in Special Stage Four meant he was bumped down to 41st place. Sam Sunderland piloted a Honda to a 10th place finish, and Baja 1000 all-star Johnny Campbell finished 18th overall on a Honda.

The six-day Morocco Rally (properly known as the  Rallye OiLibya du Maroc) is a tough race on its own, but it’s also sort of a testing ground and precursor to the two-week Dakar rally, held in South America in January.

Join the conversation!