The 2013 Dakar Rally began with 196 starters in the motorcycle
diviosn and of these only 125 finished. As most motor sport fans would know KTM
mounted Frenchman Cyril Despres won the event this year. Below are a few thoughts and observations of my own on this year's Dakar.
Best placed Australian was Rod Faggotter in 14th
place, with Ben Grabham just behind him in 15th. The Australian
entrants in the Moto class finished up like this…
14: Rod Faggotter (123), Yamaha
15: Ben Grabham (57), KTM
24: Warren Strange (131), Honda
34: Todd Smith (156), Honda
59: Simon Pavey (51), Husqvarna
111: Matt Fish (39), Husqvarna
Andrew Scott (181) called it quits at stage 4, and Troy O’Connor
(75) was out at stage 5.
I can’t help feeling that Matt Fish was somewhat hamstrung
by his role as teammate Barreda Bort’s water carrier. Fish came in third on the
second stage, and was in sixth place overall. However he lost time providing assistance
to Juan on more than one occasion, so I was quite disappointed to see him
finish so far down the listings.
Other interesting stuff
One of the biggest disappointments for me this year was the
failure of Ignacio Chivite to bring his Bultaco Frontera to the finish line. On
his second Dakar attempt, Chivite did not get past the second stage.
There was some good news for two stroke fans though.
Argentine rider Luis Belaustegui (150) might have been the last rider home, but
he was riding a 150cc KTM two stroke, so it was quite an achievement.
I’m delighted to see that unlike KTM, Honda and Yamaha; Suzuki
had a 100% finish rate. Portugal’s Mario Patrao (103) brought his Suzuki in at
30th place, on his debut Dakar.
It’s also worth noting that Kawasaki had a 100% finish rate,
as did Chinese manufacturer Jincheng. The two Jinchengs finished in 55th
and 118th positions, while the three Kawasaki riders came in at 45th,
84th and 113th.
The only woman to finish was Laia Sanz (36) who piloted her
Gas Gas to 93rd. This was pretty impressive, seeing as she spent 24
hours on the bike during one stage, and got back with only three hours to get
some rest before heading out for the next day (and incurred a hefty penalty for
coming in late).
I didn’t realise until after the event that Frenchman
Nicolas Boyer was riding a 1999 Honda XR400R. The fact that he finished in 87th
position, in front of many more modern bikes is made even more awesome by the fact
that he was riding unassisted in the malle-moto class. He paid €3500 for the bike
and had a total budget of €25,000! Well done that man!