A win in Dakar Rally 2016 stage four and a 12th-place in stage five Thursday solidifies Team HRC’s Paulo Goncalves’ lead in the overall standings.Thursday’s marathon stage through the mountains took riders from San Salvador de Jujuy to Uyuni, Boliva. The riders were beyond challenged considering both Wednesday’s and Thursday’s stages were marathons.
Luckily for the riders of the 399-mile stage, which features a 203-mile timed special, Goncalves and the others didn’t have to deal with rain. But another challenge took over – altitude. Riders embraced for terrain that was 3,500-meters above seal level, which can take a tool on even the riders in the best physical shape due to the thin air.Winning stage five was Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Toby Price; this was the KTM 450 Rally pilots second-stage victory. This moved him from seventh to third in the overall standings, just 1:47 behind Goncalves.Price spoke after riding in the two-day long marathon: “They were long stages and I had to look after the bike and make sure we made no mistakes, and also look after the tires. Yesterday we were back a little bit but we still made some good times. Today was a stage win and we’re back in contention again and hopefully we can get a good day in tomorrow. Today was really fast tracks but the bike is holding up well. The special went from wide open to tight technical and I had to adjust to that. Now I have to maintain a good position each day.” Price also confirmed that he had no problems with the altitude, which has proved difficult for some riders.”Joining Price on the stage-five podium was Slovant Team KTM’s Stefan Svitko and Team HRC’s Joan Barreda, respectively.As for the overall standings after stage five of 13, Gonclaves leads Svitko by 1:45, with Price in third.As for America’s Ricky Brabec, the Team HRC Honda CRF450 Rally pilot finished Dakar Rally 2016 Stage 5 in 24th, and is currently 18th overall.Friday’s stage consists of 450 miles, with the longest-timed special of 337 miles.
Dakar Rally 2016 Stage 6 Terrain (courtesy of Honda)
The longest special section of the Dakar takes place on the 6th day of consecutive racing. And that is not the only difficulty of this operation, which will take place between 3,500 and 4,200m in altitude. The pace and surfaces change constantly, alternating between sand and rock, which may be disconcerting, especially if it rains. Glimpses of the Salar d’Uyuni are but one of the visual delights on the agenda. Meanwhile, the truck category, which will race separately on this 6th stage, will visit the home town of the President Evo Morales.
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!