Copiapo to Copiapo
For the first time in the 2011 Dakar Rally, Jonah Street was victorious, the Yamaha rider taking the Stage-9 win on Tuesday.
The Dakar motorcycle field’s last day in the Atacama Desert brought about some surprise riders to the line before the overall leaders of Marc Coma and Cyril Despres (KTM riders); Street was followed to the line at the stage 3:38 seconds later by Frans Verhoeven (Belgium) on a BMW, and David Casteu (France) Sherco, who trailed by 3:40.
Jonah Street (Yamaha Dakar) says: "I had to start in the third wave, which was good and bad; good that everyone up front new their position and were taking it easy and I got to charge through.
"The second wave caught everybody in the second to last sand dunes. Then in the last dunes, I think when there were only 3 bikes in front of me I went over the handlebars hard, straight into the sand, totally unannounced, but I was okay. I got back up and followed them in, because I figured that I started two waves behind them so I was doing alright.
"Today we didn’t have any bike problems, everything went really smooth, so I’m happy. It’s awesome. You know what? We’ve been capable of it all rally, it just hasn’t fallen into our plate. It’s awesome, totally awesome. It’s what we come here to do, to do the best we can and first is the best you can do, so to win a stage pretty special."
When the first wave of 10 Dakar riders began on Tuesday, they all chose the wrong direction due to a road block. But it was Helder Rodrigues who went the correct way, and it looked as if he would have the Dakar Stage 9 win.
But as luck would have it for the Yamaha rider, he ran out of fuel. This pulled him back to 32nd place in Stage 9, but he still remains in fourth overall in the overall Dakar standings, although now an hour behind Coma.
As for the duel for the overall Dakar lead between Coma and Despres, neither rider benefited from Stage 9. As a result, the hierarchy remains unchanged: Coma still leads Despres by 8:14" and is 23:33" ahead of the Chilean rider Francisco "Chaleco" Lopez. It seems as if the battle came down to these three with four stages remaining in 2011 Dakar.
For Stage 10 on Wednesday, the riders will travel from Copiapo to Chilecito, 686 km of road, and a short special of 176 km through the Andes and hot white dunes of Fiambala back in Argentina.
2011 Dakar Rally Stage 9 Results
1. Jonah Street, USA, Yamaha, 03:06.56
2. Frans Verhoeven, Belgium, BMW, at 3:38
3.David Casteu, France, Sherco, 3:40
4. Guell Farres, Spain, Aprilia, 4:30
5. Jordi Viladoms, Spain, Yamaha, 5:46
7. Cyril Despres, Andorra, KTM, 6:03
9. Marc Coma, Spain, KTM 7:08
2011 Dakar Rally Standings after Stage 9
1. Marc Coma, Spain, KTM
2. Cyril Despres Andorra, KTM, at 8:14
3. Chaleco Lopez, Chile, Aprilia, 23:33
4. Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha, 1:01.51
5. Rubin Faria, Portugal, KTM 1:21:20