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1 year ago

DT FEB 2021 Online

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  • Bikes
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  • Triumph
  • Dakar
  • Husqvarna
  • Yamaha
  • Riders
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  • Racing
  • Enduro

KTM loves to win, and

KTM loves to win, and they didn’t get it right this year, but watch this space… Sanders seems to be the real deal, and if Price, Walkner and Sunderland all return next year, that’s a list of Dakar royalty. Any one of them can win. The wind just needs to blow in their favour. Sad Times For Yamaha: Up front, Yamaha looked really good. Jamie McCanney, last year’s top rookie was back, along with Adrien Van Beveren and Franco Caimi. And there were two significant additions: Andrew Short moved over from the Husqvarna factory team, and our own Kalahari Ferrari, Ross Branch came on board, moving from Bas Dakar. Bad fuel stopped Short short. Terrible luck at any event. Later in the race, all of Yamaha’s other riders were forced out due to mechanical problems. The rules around engine maintenance have changed since South America where top riders were more likely to take the time penalty for a full engine swap. Now it seems that the engines just don’t hold. We hope to See Yamaha Japan step in with more funding and development. As we understand it, at the moment, Dakar is all up to Yamaha France – and they are competing against full factory backed teams. Yamaha does have the money to be successful in Dakar’s ATV segment. They won it again this year, so the mother corporation has the ammo. Maybe it just needs to fund the team with money from Japanese HQ. Other bits: We told you about this last year when we covered Dakar and we knew that it was coming… The organisers need to slow things down… Tyres: Flat out, those 450’s are mighty fast, so Dakar officials included a few new rules for 2021. Elite riders were limited to six rear tyres. The idea was to make the riders nurse them so that they last. To nurse it, you need to ride a bit slower… Navigation: In the past, the big factory teams employed “mapmen.” The mapmen would analyse the roadbook for potential shortcuts, giving their riders ways to shave time off their day. This year, rule changes saw races only getting their roadbooks a few minutes before the start of the stage. The idea was to even the playing fields and it made navigation just as important as speed and talent. We saw factory riders frequently losing big chunks of time as they made nav errors. Now they really need to concentrate… and this slows things down a bit. Airvests: Became compulsory for all riders. It makes sense and we think they are here to stay. 2021 saw much success from the smaller guys and top privateers. • Fourth overall and top rookie went to Daniel Sanders (KTM). The Australian Enduro Champion took fifth on Stage 12, just behind Skyler Howes (KTM) • Skyler Howes sold everything he owned to return to Dakar, after his good result in 2020. This year he finished an amazing 5th overall on the Bas Dakar team, the top privateer. Someone sign him up already! • Lorenzo Santolino put in a great race for Sherco, finishing in sixth. This is Sherco’s best result. • Privateer Stefan Svitko finished eighth, riding a KTM under his own Slovnaft banner, and Martin Michek took another KTM to 10th overall, for the Orion team. • The 50 year old, Botswana legend ‘Kalahari Madala, Night Rider Mr Teapot James Alexander the Great completed Dakar 2021 in 64th position. He now has legions of fans, including us! • Gas Gas lady Laia Sanz finished 17th overall. The top lady finisher in her 11th consecutive Dakar finish Amazing. 2022? Rumours abound that Saudi’s borders might open and neighbouring states will welcome Dakar and that would be amazing for sure! But until the pandemic is over, this is unlikely. The logistics involved with cross border racing are challenging to say the least, and until we beat this thing, we cannot see it happening. We are told that due to COVID restrictions, this years route was put together mainly through satellite maps. It all seemed to work out OK. But it’s simply not sustainable. Dakar by numbers: Some fast facts: • 104: A total of 310 vehicles lined up on the start line of the 2021 Dakar. The number was comprised of 108 bikes, 67 cars, 58 UTVs, 42 trucks, 26 classics and 21 quads. By the Rest Day we had already lost 68 of those machines. Completing the entire 7,646km loop from Jeddah and back – including 4,767km of timed special stages – were a grand total of 206 vehicles. • race vehicles dropped out before the finish, with 19 re-entering the rally under Dakar Experience rules. • 14: Stéphane Peterhansel’s 14th win at the Dakar tore up the record books. The Frenchman led the rally from Stage Two and now has eight victories behind the wheel of a car to add to the six wins he claimed in the bike category. Peterhansel now stands alone as the biggest winner in a single category thanks to his eight car race wins. The legendary Frenchman had previously shared that record with Vladimir Chagin who won the truck race seven times for KAMAZ. Peterhansel said: “For sure, it is one or two more records for me. 14 victories on three continents and also on the anniversary of my first victory 30 years ago today.” Although Nasser Al-Attiyah eventually had to settle for second place overall, he did manage to make some history of his own. The three-time Dakar winner is now the only competitor in the rally’s history to win at least one stage at 14 consecutive editions. • 18 years (and 118 days) old: New for the 2021 Dakar was the introduction of the Lightweight Vehicles category, grouping together T3 side-by-side machines and T4 UTVs on a single leaderboard. Cristina Gutiérrez of the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team won Stage One of the contest to become the first female stage winner since Jutta Kleinschmidt’s last stage win in 2005. More history was made when Gutiérrez’s team-mate, Seth Quintero, won Stage Six. Later that day he found out in the bivouac that he was now the youngest-ever stage winner at the Dakar. The 18-year-old rookie doubled down on his historic achievement by winning Stage 11 as well. Quintero said: “We came out swinging and proved our point that we’re here to stay. The Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team is not a team to be messed with. We’ll be back next year and we’ll be back better.” Coming out on top overall in the Lightweight Vehicles category were Chaleco López and co-driver Juan Pablo Latrach Vinagre who picked up five stage victories of their own. • 1-2-3: The worst stage result for truck driver Dmitry Sotnikov at this Dakar came on day 11 when he finished fourth. The Russian finished in the top three on every other stage and it was that consistency that handed him his first Dakar win. Sotnikov became the seventh different Team KAMAZ Master driver to win the Dakar as he delivered them their 18th title. Sotnikov said: “I just have no words, only emotions. We have been moving towards this victory for several years, gradually approaching it. And now I’m very happy, I’m proud of all the guys.” Sotnikov was joined on the overall podium by team-mates Anton Shibalov and Ayrat Mardeev, who finished second and third respectively. The victory makes it five wins on the bounce for KAMAZ, a feat they last achieved between 2002 and 2006. South African crews: Giniel de Villiers driving with Spanish notes man Alex Haro Bravo ended eighth after taking a stage win in another Gazoo Toyota Hilux, while teammates Shameer Variyawa and Dennis Murphy ended 20th. SA Dakar car rookies, former quad podium finisher Brian Baragwanath and ex biker lass Taye Perry’s made in SA Century CR6, starred through the race but were significantly delayed en route to finish 32nd. What a race! What a show! Dakar is always a real spectacle! Roll on 2022. Daniel Sanders - Rookie of the year