Dakar – The fat lady sings

Despres celebrates his fifth Dakar win
Despres celebrates his fifth Dakar win
Despres celebrates his fifth Dakar win.

The 2013 Dakar rally is over and once again the winner is Cyril Despres who now has five Dakar wins to his name, this being the second one in a row for the Frenchman. Despres, who’s win also gets a twelfth consecutive title for KTM, finished the 8,000 km rally with a 10 minute and 43 second lead over teammate Ruben Faria, who won the final stage.

Despres does it again!
Despres does it again!

But despite being favourite, the Dakar was all but a cakewalk for Despres  “I went for it, with all the surprises a Dakar can throw at you,” he said. “Little navigational mistakes, perhaps fewer than the others, taking care of my motorcycle and being in a good team. In the end, I’ve got a good reason to be very happy. The day when winning the Dakar becomes easy, it won’t be interesting any more. And this day is still far!

“It’s too long, it’s too tough, it’s too hot. It’s too cold. You’ve got to get up early in the morning. You’ve got to find your way out of the maze of dunes in Peru and Chile. You’ve got to tackle the stones and cactuses on the courses near Córdoba. It’s just too tricky for it to be easy to win. And it’s even better when you win a difficult race. I’m always focused on what I have to do. We’re up against a grueling element, the desert. Then there are the stones, the Andes… and we experience them. It’s as real as it gets.”

Although it may look like KTM still own Dakar, with all the top five spots being taken by KTM riders, Honda, Husqvarna and Yamaha all fielded strong teams and we can expect to see KTM have a tougher time in the future.

Stage-14, La Serena Santiago.
Beule riding stage-14, La Serena Santiago.

And let’s give a round of applause to Canadian Patrick Beaule, who finsihed the race in 62nd position on his KTM 450 Rally Replica. Last year Patrick also finished the Dakar, but in a car. Does this mean he’ll be in a truck in 2014? High on his achievement, Patrick seized the opportunity at the finishing line to propose to his girlfriend Frederique Saindon.

She says yes!
She says yes!

“I came here to the Dakar and meet my goal of finishing well and of establishing a Canadian record.  Mission accomplished!” said Beaule.  “Along the way, there were of course many difficult moments, and they make you realize what the most important things are in life.  Spending the rest of my life with Frede is one of them – I couldn’t think of a better time or place to ask her to marry me.” added Patrick. 

Just in case it’s not clear, she said yes.

The 2013 Dakar saw 196 motorcyclists start the rally with 125 finishing. The top three overall were (click here for complete rankings):

2 Ruben FARIA (PRT)
3 Francisco LOPEZ (CHL)


1) Dakar 2013 in photos (some stellar shots from the 14 days of the event).

2) Stage 13 Video Summary

3) Stage 14 Video Summary

4) Video Summary of the whole event (moto only)

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