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Hero MotoCorp finally gets a podium finish at Dakar Rally

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Hero MotoSports Team Rally, the motorsport team of the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters – Hero MotoCorp, has created history becoming the first ever Indian manufacturer team to finish on the podium of the legendary Dakar Rally.

Hero MotoSports Team Rally was formed in 2016 and it participated in its first Dakar Rally in 2017. Over the years, the team has achieved multiple podiums, wins and stage wins at top rally-raids across the world.

In its fifth year at Saudi Arabia, the 2024 edition of Dakar Rally was undoubtedly the toughest so far – longer stages, extreme terrains, and confusing navigation right from the start. Two new formats of racing were also introduced by the organizers to add more spice – a marathon stage early on in the race, and a 48H chrono stage during which the competitors were split across several bivouacs – away from their teams, and surviving on bare minimum essentials. As many as one-third of the competitors who started the race retired from the rally across the 14 days of grind.

To get to a Dakar podium is no small feat – a thousand things need to be right, and yet, each kilometer of these many thousands can destroy a result with a tiny mistake. 8,000 kilometers at the world’s toughest rally conquered with a top-2 result – Hero has made it clear they’re here to stay.

Ross Branch finished the Rally at the second place for the Hero Factory Team. His consistent performance over the 12 stages saw him at the first and second spots in the overall rankings throughout the Rally.

Dakar Rally 2024 starts today

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A New year and the Dakar Rally is back

The 2024 Dakar Rally will kick off with a prologue stage on Jan. 5, in Al-‘Ula, Saudi Arabia. The rally will have 12 stages to follow including a 48-hour marathon stage. This year’s rally has 136 registered entries in the motorcycle class. The competitors include Kevin Benavides, who won last year and in 2021, the 2022 winner Sam Sunderland, and American Ricky Brabec who won in 2020.

Rally dates are Fri, 5 Jan, 2024 – Fri, 19 Jan, 2024

Watch and read live updates at: https://www.dakar.live.worldrallyraidchampionship.com/en/

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Dakar 2021: Honda registers back-to-back win in motorcycle class

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from https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Argentine Kevin Benavides, riding a Honda, on Friday won the motorcycle category of the 2021 Dakar Rally becoming the first South American to achieve the feat.

Ricky Brabec, the 2020 champion in the motorcycle class, finished second to teammate Kevin Benavides to clutch the first one-two Dakar Rally finish for Honda since 1987. Sam Sunderland, the 2017 champion in the category, finished third riding a KTM.

Benavides clinched the title on the 12th and the final stage of the category held on Friday. Honda has now registered a back-to-back win in the motorcycle class.

The finish of the final stage was completely overshadowed by the death of the French rider, Pierre Cherpin, who had been in an induced coma since his crash on the 7th stage.

“On stage five I was worried because I crashed so fast and hit my head and my ankle and felt a lot of pain. On that day I said maybe the Dakar is finished for me. But I continued pushing. I still have some pain, but at the moment I am more happy than in pain,” said Kevin Benavides after the finish.

David Leitch to produce Jutta Kleinschmidt biopic

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by Bang Showbiz from http://www.contactmusic.com

‘Hobbs & Shaw’ director David Leitch is to produce a biopic about German racing driver Jutta Kleinschmidt, the first woman to win the famous Dakar Rally.

‘Hobbs & Shaw’ director David Leitch is to produce a biopic on Jutta Kleinschmidt – the first and only woman to win the world-famous Dakar Rally.

Variety is reporting that David and his producing partner Kelly McCormick have brought the project to Amblin Partners and are set to produce the film through their 87North banners.

The pair will be joined by David Kaufmann, who first conceived of the movie, under his Devonsheer Media banner.

The Dakar Rally – often called the most dangerous race on the planet – combines both impossible terrains with logistical blindness. It began in 1978 and was run from Paris to Dakar, Senegal.

The race has since claimed over 70 lives but victory remains one of the most coveted prizes in motorsport. The 2020 rally took place in the Saudi Arabian desert, and competitors weren’t told the course until minutes before the start of each stage.

Jutta was born in Germany and bought her first motorcycle at the age of 18. She had worked at BMW before quitting in 1992 to pursue a career in motorsport.

In 1997, she became the first female to win a stage of the rally and finished third overall two years later. In 2001, after 15 years of trying, Jutta won the race.

The script will be penned by Greta Heinemann, who grew up just minutes from where Jutta was brought up. Greta is currently supervising producer on ‘Good Girls’.

Annie Marter will executive produce for 87 North and Jutta will co-produce the flick. Jeb Brody, president of production, and Mia Maniscalo, Vice President of creative affairs, will oversee for Amblin.

Leitch and McCormick also recently signed a first look deal at Universal and are producing the upcoming action movie, ‘Nobody’.

These two SA female motorcycle racers defied the Dakar odds

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by Sean Parker from https://www.wheels24.co.za/

While many of us were enjoying a break over the festive period and new year, Kirsten Landman and Taye Perry began 2020 by competing in one of the world’s toughest sporting events: the Dakar Rally.

This year’s race took place in Saudi Arabia for the first time and competitors were faced with a route of 7900km. They traversed massive sands and rocky terrain and performed exceptionally well to finish the race.

Wheels24 reported earlier in January that Landman, a 28-year-old from Durban, completed the two-week-long race in an excellent 55th-place overall, while Perry (29) came home in 77th place.

They performed incredibly well over the twelve days on the bikes and the reality of how dangerous the Dakar came to light when Portuguese rider Paulo Gonçalves died after crashing in the seventh stage of the race, the first casualty since 2015.

“I was very nervous, one of the officials came to me and said this is the point of no return. Once you go over this (starting) podium it’s over. It’s the beginning, but it’s over,” says Perry in an interview on Carte Blanche.

Landman, whose love for motorbike racing started at 10-years-old, said: “I grew up watching Dakars, and you see videos of riders crying because they are so physically exhausted they can’t get out of a section, it is so physically tough and draining.”

 

Sainz wins Dakar for third time as Brabec takes motorcycle title

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from Reuters

Spaniard Carlos Sainz became a triple Dakar Rally champion with the Mini X-Raid team on Friday while American Ricky Brabec took the motorcycle crown for Honda and ended KTM’s 18-year dominance.

Spaniard Carlos Sainz became a triple Dakar Rally champion with the Mini X-Raid team on Friday while American Ricky Brabec took the motorcycle crown for Honda and ended KTM’s 18-year dominance.

Both are the first winners in Saudi Arabia, a country making its debut as host of the grueling endurance event, but have to reach the formal finish in Qiddiya before the results are official.

Brabec is the first American to win the Dakar in any category since it started as a race from Paris through the Sahara desert to the Senegalese capital in West Africa in 1979.

Two times world rally champion Sainz, whose son and namesake races in Formula One for McLaren, ended the final timed stage with a six-minute and 21 seconds advantage over Qatar’s defending champion Nasser Al Attiyah.

Sainz, 57, also won in 2010 and 2018 when the rally was held in South America. His three victories have been with different car manufacturers, the first coming with Volkswagen and the second in a Peugeot.

Triple champion Al Attiyah won the final stage to finish as overall runner-up for Toyota with Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel, a 13 times winner on two and four wheels, completing the top three in his 31st Dakar.

Sainz, 57, also won in 2010 and 2018 when the rally was held in South America.

His three victories have been with different car manufacturers, the first coming with Volkswagen and the second in a Peugeot.

Hero Motosports rally rider Paulo Goncalves dies at Dakar Rally

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from https://auto.economictimes.indiatimes.com
from https://www.theguardian.com/

Portuguese rider Paulo Goncalves made his Dakar debut in 2006 and finished four times in the top 10 including a runner-up finish in 2015.

Riyadh: Tragedy struck Hero MotoSports Team on Sunday as its Portuguese rider Paulo Goncalves met with a fatal accident during the seventh stage of the Dakar Rally. Paulo, aged 40, passed away from a fall sustained 276 kilometers into today’s special zone.

“The organisers received an alert at 10:08 and dispatched a medical helicopter that reached the biker at 10:16 and found him unconscious after going into cardiac arrest. Following resuscitation efforts in situ, the competitor was taken by helicopter to Layla Hospital, where he was sadly pronounced dead,” Hero Motosport said in a release.

Fondly known as ‘speedy Goncalves’, it was 13th Dakar for the Portuguese, one of the most experienced riders on the field.

He made his Dakar debut in 2006 and finished four times in the top 10 including a runner-up finish in 2015

He has had an illustrious journey in the rally-racing world, including a series of remarkable performances at the world’s most prestigious rallies. He was crowned 2013 FIM Cross Country Rally World Champion.

“Words cannot describe our shock and loss at this moment. It isn’t just a team, it is a family for us and we are devastated with the passing away of one of our members, Paulo Goncalves,” Wolfgang Fischer, Head of Hero MotoSports Team Rally said.

“He joined the Team in April last year and within no time became an integral part of the Hero MotoSports Team family. He will be dearly missed and always be fondly remembered by us.

“Paulo was a true champion, gentleman, reliable friend to everyone in the racing world and a role model as sportsman and personality. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends,” he said.

The Portuguese motorcycle rider Paulo Gonçalves died after a crash in the seventh stage of the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, organisers said.

The 40-year-old Hero Motosports entrant, taking part in his 13th Dakar Rally since making his debut in 2006, fell after 276km of the special stage from the capital Riyadh to Wadi al-Dawasir.

“The organisers received an alert at 10:08 and dispatched a medical helicopter that reached the biker at 10:16 and found him unconscious after going into cardiac arrest,” organisers said in a statement.

“Following resuscitation efforts in situ, the competitor was taken by helicopter to Layla Hospital, where he was sadly pronounced dead. The entire Dakar caravan would like to extend its sincere condolences to his friends and family.”

Gonçalves was the first competitor to die in the gruelling endurance event since the Polish motorcycle rider Michal Hernik in Argentina in 2015.

The Portuguese finished in the top 10 at the Dakar Rally four times and was runner-up in 2015 to the Spaniard Marc Coma, who is competing this year as co-driver to the double Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Gonçalves suffered mechanical problems on Friday, having to change his bike’s engine to stay in the race, and dropped to 46th overall after the sixth stage.

“The target now is to do my best, because the result at the end … there is no way to get a good result. Instead I’ll try to do good stages every day possible and that’s what I’m looking for,” Gonçalves said then.

The experienced Portuguese had competed in the Dakar on three continents, from its origins in Africa to South America and this year’s debut in the Middle East.

The 2013 cross-country rallies world champion was representing the Indian Hero Motosports team, along with his brother-in-law Joaquim Rodrigues, after five years racing with Honda.

Gonçalves crashed out on the fifth stage in Peru last year. Rodrigues broke his back in a Dakar crash two years ago but returned after extensive surgery and was 27th after stage six.

Sunday’s 546km stage, the longest of the event, was won by the Spaniard Joan Barreda with the American Ricky Brabec extending his overall lead in the category.

The Australian Toby Price, the defending champion, finished an hour and 20 minutes behind Barreda but organisers said he stopped to try to help Gonçalves and will have his position recalculated.

The Spaniard Carlos Sainz, a two-times Dakar winner driving a Mini buggy, took his third stage win of the event in the cars category to extend his lead over Toyota’s reigning champion, Nasser al-Attiyah of Qatar, to 10 minutes. Mini have now won six of the seven stages.

Video Podcast: Life Lessons from Racing the Dakar Rally

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TMFF Talk – Racing Dakar
55 minutes – Free to watch

Lawrence Hacking has been a motorcycle racer since 1971, he has raced the 21-day long 2001 Paris Dakar Rally and was the first ever Canadian to complete the toughest off-road race on earth. Since then, Lawrence has written a book “To Dakar and Back” and manages Overland Adventure Rally held each year in Ontario, Canada.

Christophe Barriere-Varju started racing motocross at the age of 14 and lifelong motocross racer, he has competed in the Dakar Rally 4 times, twice in Africa and twice in South America. His last Dakar Rally race has been captured in 10x Award Winning Film, Dream Racer — the timeless story true to all of us, one’s pursuit of lifelong dreams, whatever those dreams might be.

Lawrence and Christophe were interviewed by Toronto Motorcycle Film Festival Director, Caius Tenche in a fascinating 55-min video interview.

This interview is for all of you wondering what it takes, and what it feels like — to race the almighty Dakar Rally, and how this event can alter the course of one person’s life.

Sit back, and enjoy great life insights and personal stories from these two racers whose lives changed course after racing the world’s toughest motorsport race, the Dakar Rally as privateers.

An Interview with Lawrence Hacking, Dakar Rally Racer

https://news.dreamracer.tv/motorsport/dakar-rally/an-interview-with-lawrence-hacking-dakar-rally-racer/

Interview excerpt:

DR. How did it feel racing that last stage on Lac Rose and crossing the same podium as these legends?

LH. That day was a highlight of my life, it was January 21, 2001, we rode from the hotel on a liaison to the beach where the special stage started. Hubert Auriol made an emotional speech, we the riders talked while we waited. That moment was what I worked an entire year for and crossing over the podium was pure euphoria. That feeling is so addictive and so difficult to achieve that the quest to relive that feeling is life changing. You start dreaming about ways to recapture that feeling and it is nearly impossible. It is almost dangerous.

DR. Ok, time to reflect now…what would you tell or recommend to anyone wanting to race the almighty race?

Many think in their own mind they have what it takes but soon find out they don’t. It is a hard pill to swallow. In the Dakar there is no hiding in the shadows, everyone in the World is watching how you perform under the most difficult conditions, you have to be prepared to accept whatever happens. One of the most important things to remember is that it is far less difficult to live with 2 or 3 weeks of extreme hardship than a lifetime of disappointment.

Some of the most inspirational films are available on Dream Racer TV.

Our films serve a purpose that go beyond entertainment — they are truly inspirational, show ordinary people can achieve extraordinary feats – and inspire others to achieve their own dreams and life aspirations.

To watch some of these amazing films, please visit Dream Racer TV at https://ondemand.dreamracer.tv

Watch It Today for Free — Riding Morocco: Chasing the Dakar Comes Dream Racer Television

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Riding Morocco: Chasing the Dakar follows Christophe Barriere-Varju from the Multi-Award Winning film Dream Racer and fellow Australian, TV presenter & former Miss World and Miss Universe Australia Laura Csortan, as they ride the new Honda Africa Twin from Marrakech in Morocco through mountains, gorges, rivers and deserts to reach the Moroccan Sahara following the route of the original Dakar Rally.

You can the film free of charge on Friday 30 September 2016 – on Dream Racer Television, here.

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Story Plot: Two adventure bikers take on the journey of a lifetime travelling through Morocco, North Africa, on the trail of the ultimate biking challenge, the Dakar Rally. One rider, Christophe Barriere-Varju, has competed in the Dakar Rally four times. The other, Laura Csortan, has never set a wheel off road before. Starting in Marrakech, Morocco, they must make their way through mountains, gorges, rivers and deserts to reach the Moroccan Sahara. Christophe will be sharing his knowledge of what it takes to be an off-road adventurer whilst Laura will be pushing her biking skills to the limits and experiencing a journey like never before. Will they make it to their final destination of the Sahara Desert or will the journey of a lifetime be too much for an off-road novice?