2011 Dakar: Honda Europe Update 2

2011 Dakar Rally

Day 2 in the 2011 Dakar Rally was again well over 700km long. As Team Honda Europe rider Quinn Cody mentioned, it was easy to make mistakes which was confirmed by the many missed turns and many crashes.

All four Honda Europe Dakar riders got through the day without too many difficulties. For the Honda mechanics this means just the regular maintenance is necessary. New oil, fresh air filters, and a quick systems check.

Only Quinn Cody (No. 15) keeps on developing his Honda Dakar bike with little adjustments, the others are satisfied with the way things are going.

Although, not entirely. Mirjam Pol (No. 58) was again not happy with her result of the incident packed day, which sees her sitting in 103rd place. Alexey Naumov (No. 126) lost his stamp card and got a 5-minute penalty.

That was in fact the only incident of the day for the Russian Dakar rider, who’s riding safely but still in 79th position. Vadim Pritulyak (No. 52) was the second rider of the team to arrive in the bivouac.

A half a year ago he decided to work more on his riding skills, and so far it’s paying off. He currently sits in 86th position in the 2011 Dakar.

For Stage 4 scheduled Jan. 5, all bikes have been prepared to allow for the thin air. The start is at 2000m above sea level, topping at 3300m before descending to the finish line at 1000m. Team Honda Europe has devised a system to adjust the mixture, in this case leaning it, without changing jets themselves.

For the extreme performance of Quinn Cody who starts his third-ever stage in the Dakar rally from twelfth-overall, technician Marcel Bulten chose to alter the jetting as well. This is linked to the special top end of Quinn’s engine.

Quinn Cody (Team Honda Europe Dakar) says: "It was very easy to make mistakes. You could tell from the tire marks that the leaders were really taking risks, I tried to be smooth. At some point you have to choose. Maintain a speed which allows me to follow my roadbook, or just go after my instinct and follow the tracks from the other guys, I choose to read the roadbook, we still have a long way to go.

"I got overtaken by Olivier Pain, just before the fuel stop. In the end of the special I caught up with Jordi Viladoms. Navigation wasn’t too hard, because of the many spectators. I had a scary moment when a huge pig was in the middle of the track, it must have been around 200 kilos, I missed it by 3 inches!”

Mirjam Pol (Team Honda Europe Dakar) says: "Just like yesterday I had a bad day. Not completely, because I gained 30 positions before the fuel stop. I overtook some people in the dust, some others by riding clever. But after the fuel stop I was stuck behind 3 quads which made so much dust I couldn’t get past.

"So most of the 30 riders passed me again and in the end I was back where I started. The good thing was that the riding went a lot better. Bad thing is I again have to start in a position where I don’t want to be. Further back you also have to deal with the ruts created by all the riders which have already passed, making the track harder to ride.”

Alexey Naumov (Team Honda Europe Dakar) says: "It was a long day, but other than that ok. The second half of the stage was difficult, with all the dust, so I was making sure I was 200% safe. Things are going better day by day.”

Vadim Pritulyak (Team Honda Europe Dakar) says: "I read and follow the roadbook all the time, and it helps me to control my speed. I’m more confident on the bike and less tired. I learned from Henk (Henk Hellegers, the team owner) this is the most important thing. Coming to the bivouac, there was a massive crowd. To me it’s like living in a show.”



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