7 months ago

Dirt and Trail May 2020

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Is winning Dakar like

Is winning Dakar like you dreamed Or is there anything that caught you off guard? Ricky Brabec: The aftermath of winning the Dakar is a dream come true. There’s a lot of work, a lot of PR, media stuff, but nothing caught me off-guard. We have to accept the fact that there’s a lot of media in the next few weeks, but for sure it’s a dream come true. Do you think your life will change, or will it be back to the routine? RB: It’s going to be back to the routine. We gotta prepare for 2021. We want to back this up with another championship. We’re going to take a couple of weeks off, maybe a month. Then we’re going to take it slowly at first and then work the hardest between August and Christmas. As a team Honda did well this year. That hasn’t been the case in the past. What was the difference? RB: The difference this year versus other years was we spent a lot of time out here in the Mojave, testing and developing the bike. I think that’s a real big part of it. The Japanese have done a great job building this motorcycle. I think the whole team is real confident now with the new specs. In the past you said that you and Johnny Campbell were like a separate team within Honda. Is it different now? RB: In the past, we Americans felt a little left out at the Bivouac, but now we have a new team manager. Rubin Faria and Helder Rodriguez are former racers and rally experts. Now, since the Americans have picked up the training program and started to make a push toward the front, they really respect us. It feels really nice. It feels like family. When fellow American Andrew Short gave a wheel to Toby Price, your primary competitor at KTM, what was your initial thought? RB: When I heard about that, my initial thought was ‘naw, Andrew isn’t going to do that. They’re on two different teams!’ That wasn’t how it worked out, though. Toby got the wheel and I thought, ‘oh man, we’re still here racing. Toby’s a real strong guy.’ He lost a little time that day, but you never want to count him out, whether he has a couple of down times or not. What was Saudi Arabia like? How did they respond to your tattoos and clothing? RB: With my shorts and tattoos, I was a little scared at first, but I think they understood that our culture isn’t like theirs. Still, we didn’t go out in public that often. Some guys had shorts in the bivouac, and that wasn’t a really big deal, but when we went out in public, we tried to take care, wear long pants and long sleeves–obey the law and respect the culture. On the days when you got the map book just before the start, was that difficult? RB: When we got the map book in the morning, no one had any more time to study it than anyone else. We had 25 minutes to load it and look at it, and that’s really a fair game. When people get the map book the day before, there’s a possibility that map guys can make an overlay of the course. Hopefully in the future we can get it like that every morning. That gives us more time to rest in the evenings and it’s equal for everybody and I really like that. It’s the way I train. You seemed like you always had speed in reserve this year. Is that new? RB: Yes and no. We didn’t have the best set up in the past and we didn’t feel that confident. Now, training with Jimmy Lewis and having all the confidence in the world that we can keep up with