Dakar 2014 Stage 6 Motorcycle Results | Tragedy & Duclos Triumph
2014 Dakar Rally – Sherco’s Alain Duclos Wins Stage 6
The motorcycle field endured the shortest stage so far in the 2014 Dakar Rally, the riders battling Friday from Tucuman to Salta in Argentina.
Stage six took the desert pilots 288 miles, which featured a 249-mile timed special and 38-mile liaison. This provided some extra down time ahead of Saturday’s one and only rest day, but it will also provide extra time for heavy thoughts. During stage six, Belgium rider Eric Palante (Honda) was found dead, though the circumstances of the 50-year-old’s death are unknown.
The Dakar official report says: “At 08:30 hours this morning, as the crew of the broom truck was plotting the position of bike rider 122 to pick him up, at kilometer 143 on the special of the 5th stage between Chilecito and San Miguel de Tucuman they found the body of the Belgian rider Eric Palante (entrant no. 122).
“The circumstances of Eric’s death are the subject of an analysis by the Judge Dr. Massucco of Belen [Catamarca province].
“No alert was received by the organisers, and Eric’s water had been replenished in the afternoon.
“The rider’s family were told of the accident by the organization in the morning. Fifty-year-old Eric Palante was taking part in his 11th Dakar and hoped to win the amateur trophy for motorbikes. He knew the race very well, and over the years his enthusiastic but serious approach had made him one of the pillars of the event.”
There’s no doubting the danger of the Dakar, which is known as the world’s “toughest” rally. Palante became the 27 competitor to perish at the rally since 1979. We at Ultimate MotorCycling express our deepest condolences to Palante’s family and friends.
Back to stage six, the winner was Samsung Sherco’s Alain Duclos, who took his first Dakar stage victory in eight years (last one was in Bamako, 2006). The Frenchman was followed 1 minute 15 seconds behind by three-time Dakar winner Marc Coma (Red Bull KTM 450 Rally). A further 1 minute 49 seconds back was Michael Metge (Red Bull Yamaha YZF450 Rally).
Speaking of Duclos’ win, the Dakar official report says: “His triumph had been under preparation for some time. Since the start of the Dakar, Alain Duclos has been able to measure the competitiveness of his 450 Sherco, which has visibly accomplished enormous progress compared to last year.
“He has also improved in technical and physical terms, following a blank rally-raid season. Perfectly keeping pace with the best over the first 5 stages, with 3 top 5 finishes, the best performing outsider of the year had probably ticked off this stage as within his capacities of recognised scratch time hunter, given its endurance racing character. The 9th rider to start this morning, the Franco-Malian rider went on all-out attack, overtaking 5 riders and recording the best time on arrival near Salta, just like in 2006, when he won on home territory in Bamako, already with a gap of a minute over none other than Marc Coma…who also led the general standings.”
In the overall rankings, Duclos moved up to third, and is just over an hour behind Coma, who took his first stage victory Thursday (stage five). The man who won stages one and three, and finished fourth in stage six, Joan Barreda, is in second overall.
The Team HRC Honda rider Barreda is now 42 minutes 17 seconds behind Coma with seven stages remaining.
As for five-time Dakar winner Cyril Despres, his bad luck continues. The Red Bull Yamaha rider finished fifth Friday, and wasn’t able to make up that much time in the overall rankings. He slipped back further to 11th overall, and is 2 hours 24 minutes 41 seconds behind his rival.
The riders will get a rest day Saturday, which will be needed ahead of stage seven, the second marathon stage when riders will get no help from mechanics.
Check out the stage-six action during the “Dakar Rally Series,” which will air on NBC Sports Network at 5:30 p.m. ET Saturday. Thursday’s stage-five review will air tonight at 5 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network. For the entire broadcast USA “Dakar Rally Series” schedule, click here.
2014 Dakar Stage Six Quotes:
Joan Barreda Bort (Team HRC Honda CRF 450 Rally) says: “Today was good, finally. It was not easy because it was so dangerous with a lot of dust in the first few kilometres, then many kilometres with fesh-fesh. I started in a rear position because of the problem from yesterday and it was difficult to pass these riders with the dust. But finally I took a good pace with the speedy open tracks and recovered a few minutes. I finished in a good position, I think.”
Alain Duclos (Samsung Sherco 450 SR) says: “It was a good performance since I gained 10 minutes back on Jordi Villadoms, so I could maybe finish 4th or 3rd in the end. It would be nice if I can win the stage. I’m going to wait for Barreda to arrive and we’ll see [Duclos was speaking before the full results were known]. Today, it was my type of terrain. We’ve got over the worst over the last few days and the rest day has arrived at the right time – it couldn’t be better timed.”
Michael Metge (Red Bull Yamaha YZF 450 Rally) says: “It was a close special and technically demanding which I really enjoyed. Our bike is really easy to handle, so I took advantage of it, especially since I come from an enduro-racing background and the day’s route was a bit like that. I had a good special.
“It’s true that today, with Cyril Despres behind me, I was a bit more free to go on the attack, but I stayed cautious all the same. I rode at my own pace, not particularly faster than usual, but the terrain suited me well and the bike suited the terrain well too.”
Marc Coma (Red Bull KTM 450 Rally) says: “Today we came back to a normal Dakar day, not extreme like the days before. There were 15 km with a lot of navigation and single tracks that were very difficult to find. The last part was long with big tracks and I tried to push.
“I’m happy that we’ve arrived at the rest day because to be at the rest day is always something important. Now we’re half way. We have a nice gap out in front but it’s easy to lose twenty minutes or pick up twenty. The gaps are very big between the riders and we have to be focused all the time. Now it’s important to enjoy the rest day because we need all the power for the second part of the rally.”
2014 Dakar Rally: A Look at Stage 7 (Sunday, Jan. 12)
Following Saturday’s rest day, the 2014 Dakar Rally continues with Stage 7 Sunday, Jan. 12. Stage 7 will take riders 486 miles from Salta to Salta/Uyuni (232-mile liaison, 254 mile-special). This will be the second marathon stage where riders will not have any help from mechanics.
2014 Dakar Rally Stage Six Results:
|27||GAS – GAS||04:50:44||00:29:10||-|
|45||GAS – GAS||04:54:25||00:32:51||-|
|109||GAS – GAS||05:46:29||01:24:55||-|
|58||GAS – GAS||05:49:31||01:27:57||-|
2014 Dakar Rally Overall Results (after six of 13 stages):
|27||GAS – GAS||29:23:12||06:15:12||00:01:00|
|45||GAS – GAS||30:37:29||07:29:29||01:00:00|
|109||GAS – GAS||38:23:35||15:15:35||02:00:00|
|58||GAS – GAS||46:39:06||23:31:06||03:00:00|