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2017 Dakar Rally Stage 4: Lighting Strikes Ivan Jakes, Bittersweet for KTM

2017 Dakar Rally Stage 4, Motorcycles: Results & Video

2017 Dakar Rally Stage 4: Lighting Strikes Ivan Jakes, Bittersweet for KTM
KTM’s Matthias Walkner

Stage 4 of the 2017 Dakar Rally, which took riders a total of 324 miles from San Salvardor de Juju, Argentina, to Tupizia, Bolivia, created some major headlines for a three riders–especially privateer Ivan Jakes of Slovakia.

The KTM pilot Jakes was struck by lightning near Salar Centanerio, Argentina, about 190 miles from the finish. Though in pain, he continued to ride, finishing 15th during the stage. Reports say he survived because his feet were on the pegs and not on the ground; the tires insulated him whereas the ground would have not.

As for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team, it was a bittersweet stage. Last year’s winner, KTM 450 Rally pilot Toby Price, had already won stage 2, and was on a tear during stage 4 Wednesday.

KTM's Toby Price, who crashed out of 2017 Dakar Rally Stage 4 and broke his leg
KTM’s Toby Price, who crashed out of 2017 Dakar Rally Stage 4 and broke his leg

But while trying to catch overall leader Joan Barreda (Monster Energy Honda Team CRF450 Rally), the Australian crashed in a river bed just a few miles from the finish in Bolivia; Price broke his left thighbone, and was taken to La Paz for further treatment.

His teammate Matthias Walkner had much better luck, and won the stage by 2:02 minutes ahead of Barreda and 3:18 minutes ahead of Barreda’s teammate Michael Metge.

“Actually at the beginning of the stage I didn’t feel so good and I got a bit lost, like everybody, I think, because it was tricky navigation. After I had a good speed but I didn’t think it would be enough to win,” Walkner said after 2017 Dakar Rally Stage 4.

Walkner then commented on teammate Price’s crash: “I got to him about five minutes after the crash and Adrien Van Beveren and Paulo Goncalves had already stopped. I saw he was awake and they told me he was more or less okay, so I kept on going. Where he crashed it was in a riverbed, where the ground changed very quickly. First it was sandy and you could go flat out at 140 km/h, but then you came to some big stones and it’s very hard to find the right speed. If you hit a stone with the motorbike then its difficult.”

In the overall standings after four of 12 stages, Barreda, who won stage 3, has the lead by 18:19 minutes ahead of Husqvarna Factory Rally Team’s Pablo Quintanilla, and 20:26 ahead of Walkner.

As for the sole American competing at the 2017 Dakar Rally, Monster Energy Honda Team’s Ricky Brabec finished 11th in stage four, and is eighth overall.

“Today was one of the most difficult days,” Brabec says after 2017 Dakar Rally Stage 4. “There was a lot of really tricky navigation. At the start of the special I made a mistake and had a bit of trouble finding the way before I finally got back on track. This made me become a lot more focused on what I was doing. I managed to pick the pace up and got back into the race. I’m happy to have made it back to the bivouac. Let’s keep on fighting and working as a team. I hope to improve over the coming stages.”

Honda Ricky Brabec 8th overall after 2017 Dakar Rally stage 4
Honda’s Ricky Brabec

2017 Dakar Rally Stage 5 Preview

Friday’s stage six will take riders 430 miles, with a 278-mile special. This will be one of the hardest of the rally due to fatigue while riding in two huge Bolivian sand dune sections.

2017 Dakar Rally Stage 4 Results:

1. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 4:57:22 h
2. Joan Barreda BORT (POR), Honda, +2:02 min
3. Michael Metge (FRA), Honda, +3:18
4. Xavier De Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, +5:58
5. Stefan Svitko, (SVK), KTM, + 8:33

2017 Dakar Rally Overall Standings (after four of 12 stages):

1. Barreda, 12:35:43 h (1 min penalty)
2. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, +18:19 min
3. Walkner, +20:26 (5 min penalty)
4. Svitko, +24:11
5. Sunderland, +24:31

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  • Jim Rossier

    Wow that is huge, God Speed on recovery Toby!!!
    What a huge disappointment this Stage was!

  • Sayyed Bashir

    Best wishes on a quick recovery Toby. KTM is still in the game with Mathias Walkner, Sam Sunderland and Stefan Svitko. And Husqvarna is there with Pablo Quintanilla. Two of these were on the podium last year, and all four are in the top 5 after Joan Barreda. In Dakar, speed doesn’t win, consistency wins (witness the five wins by Marc Coma). Toby was trying too hard to get ahead of Barreda, but it wasn’t necessary so early in the race. Joan Barreda is very fast but has not shown consistency. Also the Hondas have not been reliable. So he would not have lasted till the end anyway. It is time for the remaining KTM and Husqvarna riders to show their consistency and their bikes reliability by winning the Dakar. It is time for a new champion.