As racing is winding down around the world, the Yokohama Sonora Rally in México’s Sorona Desert was a final holdout. Monster Energy Honda Team’s Ricky Brabec, fresh off his historic victory in the Dakar Rally, took the win by less than a minute. His margin of victory was 50 seconds over Skyler Howes, with Brabec turning in a cumulative time of 11 hours, 45 minutes and 9 seconds for the five stages. They were the only two riders to finish in under 12 hours.
Brabec was playing catchup after the first day, when he suffered a 13-minute penalty. Brabec won four of the five stages, with Howes winning Stage 3. Despite being faster on the dirt, Brabec went into Stage 5 behind Howes. However, Brabec bested Howes by 1:50 in the final stage to win the overall by 50 seconds. It is Brabec’s third Sonora Rally win, and his second in a row.
“I always look forward to the Sonora Rally in México,” Brabec said. “It’s the only rally in North America that simulates a Dakar-style rally raid. It has all the ingredients—fast pistes, mountains, washes, and mountains dunes! This year, the organization laid out a route that took us to new places and new faces. I had a setback in Stage 1 that left me with a large penalty, and I had to claw my way back to the top day-by-day.
“It made the final stage interesting when I needed to make up over a minute and only have 142 kilometers (88 miles) to do it,” Brabec continued. “Thanks to my Team and my Factory CRF450 Rally, I was able to overcome and finish on top for the third time in the Sonora Rally. It was an incredible event, well organized and looking forward to coming back in 2021. I wanted to also give my condolences to all the victims of the current COVID-19 virus. Everyone, please be safe and stay healthy so we can get back to normal soon.”
The race on the west coast of México’s Mar de Cortés—hosted in the cities of Hermosillo, Bańamichi, Caborca, Puerto Peñasco, and San Luis Río—included 844 miles of racing, with 670 miles of that total being timed special stages.
Fourth place overall was Wes VanNieuwenhuise. VanNieuwenhuise won the Adventure class and was the only non-Pro in the top 10 overall. Canada’s Jim Pearson (P7) and South Africa’s Taye Perry (P9) were the only non-Americans in the top 10.
2020 Sonora Rally Overall Results
- Ricky Brabec, 11:56:09
- Skyler Howes, 11:56:59
- Bill Conger, 14:08:05
- Wes VanNieuwenhuise, 14:08:14
- Mike Johnson, 14:12:17
- Olton Udall, 14:23:42
- Jim Pearson, 14:48:29
- Matthew Ransom, 14:58:39
- Taye Perry, 15:17:35
- Nathan Rafferty, 15:37:14