Photo: Honda Racing
Here’s the official video summary for Stage Eight of the 2015 Dakar Rally, as well as a video from Honda Racing showing their riders in action.
Check out the clips of the riders plowing through the salty slush, and see the video showing Joan Barreda (Honda) changing out his broken handlebars. The fact that he covered 120 kms with those smashed handlebars in Stage Seven is remarkable.
There was considerable grumbling from the riders at the day’s end yesterday, and no wonder; looking at the original map of the rally’s planned route, it seems riders were told they would be riding around edge of the Bolivian salt flats, not through them.
So far, the official withdrawal list has 15 riders dropping out through Stage Eight. Jeremiah Israel Esquere and Barreda also picked up 01:20:00 in penalties for Stage Eight, which throws them even further back in the mix. The carnage probably isn’t over yet; last night, the bivouac was filled with mechanics trying to piece together machines damaged by salt spray. Supposedly, the KTM truck has run out of replacement wiring looms, and bikes are exhibiting all kinds of damage, from corroded intake valves to salt-crusted radiators to burnt-out wiring connectors. One machine supposedly started itself while being washed.
Stage Nine has started at this point, and by the sound of it, we’ll have an interesting day ahead, as Marc Coma’s supposedly losing time already, along with several teammates, and the remaining Honda squad is charging ahead – with the exception of Barreda, although there’s no information as to his issues yet.