Quinn Cody Quote, via Dakar.com website: “Like on the Bajas”
“I felt really good on this special. This terrain around here is exactly like on the Bajas, only way smoother. The terrain in the mountains was really similar to southern Bajas, so I feel comfortable. Every day, I’m getting more comfortable with the navigation and the road-book. I had a good time today and it was fun. I feel that I can get a good rhythm, read the road-book and ride fast at the same time. It’s taken me this long to get comfortable with it, though”.
11:30am – Jonah Street finishes the day in 18th position, about 35 minutes back of the leader
10:25 am – Quinn Cody finishes 6th in Stage 11! Great day for Quinn, he just arrived at the end of the stage a few minutes ago. Overall Despres gets the stage win and gains a few minutes back on Coma. Chaleco drops back from his early lead to end the day in third position, six minutes back from Despres. Rodriges and Duclos in 4th and 5th, just seconds ahead of Cody. Only 10 bikes have finished so far, so it will still be a while before we expect Jonah Street to arrive. He has been running back around 20th position for the day.
7:30 am– The riders are mid way through the long special of stage 11. Part of the route has been shortened due to recent rains in the area. The riders are currently in a “neutralized” part of the special stage. Same group up front with Chaleco (Francisco Lopez Contardo) currently leading. He is followed closely by Despres and Coma. These two will now just be playing cat and mouse to the end of the Dakar. Coma has taken a signifant lead now, 16 minutes, so Depres will be looking for some way he can pull back that advantage. For Coma he just has to follow Despres and stay out of trouble to bring home the 2011 Dakar win.
American Quinn Cody is looking strong this morning, running 5th overall. Quinn is now essentially running right behind the top dogs. He was yesterday too until he had some navigation issues. So he is looking stronger every day and continues to impress everyone. Quinn’s Honda CRF450x looks like it has been relatively bullet proof so far. His bike came from Honda Europe, but Johnny Campbell told me that JCR Honda actually built the motor. They kept it pretty simple and probably could have gotten a little more performance out of it, but they really focused on making it reliable. So far it looks like a really good choice.
Jonah Street continues to be plagued with a multitude of issues. Despite the thrill of getting a stage win, I think this will be one rally that he will be glad to have over. His mechanical gremlins continue, yesterday it was over heating and breaking a fuel line. The only good news is that none of these have brought him to a complete halt and he is still looking to complete the event. I expect he is also now thinking about helping Dakar rookie Quinn Cody in any way he can. Yesterday they became “lost” together. Today Jonah is currently running about 16th through the transfer section.
From Speedbrain BMW Squad
Road section 164 km, Special 622 km
Thursday´s Dakar rally route took the field through wild canyons east of the Andes. Team BMW Motorrad by speedbrain was attacking in order to move further up in the standings.
Altogether it turned out to be an okay day for the German squad, although Frans Verhoeven wasn´t totally satisfied with his result. The Dutchman´s progress was hampered early on by dust, as he had to enter the stage in 13th position following yesterday´s outcome. Passing other riders proved to be dangerous. The experienced Dakar ace only managed to make up places towards the end of the stage. Verhoeven finished the day in seventh spot, having to deal with temperatures up to 40° C. He´s now back in the Top 20 overall.
A tired Frans Verhoeven: “That was very exhausting today. I really had to concentrate because of the dust in the beginning. It wasn´t fun and I couldn´t make up as much ground as I had anticipated.”
Teammate Pedro Bianchi Prata kept riding a solid pace. He´s now 33th overall.
From KTM today
|“Never say die” Despres claws back two minutes on Coma in Stage 11 of the Dakar|
|Three times Dakar winner Cyril Despres went all out on Thursday to claw back a couple of vital minutes on overall leader and fellow KTM factory rider Marc Coma to take his third stage victory in this, the 33rd edition of the world’s most famous rally.|
In terms of his career, the stage victory is the 26th in Cyril Despres’ remarkable career of racing the Dakar.
While Coma still has a comfortable 15:59 on Despres as the riders go into the final two stages, the Frenchman is wily and experienced enough to know that the race is not over until they cross the line in Buenos Aires. With everything still to play for he continues to attack just as vigorously as Coma defends. Today, as in most other stages the two KTM riders shadowed each other throughout two very long specials, neither conceding time or meters to each other.
Fat lady has not yet sung, Despres says
“If you want to win you have to really try and that is what I am doing,” Despres said at the end of Stage 11. “I’m doing everything I can, everything I know. It has to be said it was a superb special. Even if the time wasn’t great, it was a pleasure to ride. In 2007 I won two days before the finish, and if I don’t have a hope, it’s impossible to ride at speeds like that. I’m still hoping and carrying on attacking. With Marc, we both ride KTM bikes and that’s an advantage. We’re quite close, but for the moment, the fat lady hasn’t sung yet. There are still two days left”.
Into the penultimate stage tomorrow
As the 9500 km marathon rally that sweeps through Argentina and Chile enters its penultimate stage tomorrow – and with just 96 starters left of the original 186 riders – the 2011 edition is shaping up to be a battle of the KTM titans. Their nearest rival is Chaleco Lopez of Chile who has now slipped back to 49 minutes 24 behind Coma. Their efforts underline how close these two riders are in tactics, skill and courage and their performance is particularly rewarding as they have launched the new KTM 450 Rally bike with tremendous flair. The Austrian brand developed the bike after Dakar organizers introduced a rule in mid 2009 that blocked the professional level riders from competing on bike bigger than 450 ccm. It was a surprise move that had all the characteristics of trying to block the continued success and domination of the Austrian brand. Should either Coma or Despres be first across the line in Buenos Aires, it will be KTM’s 10th successive title, six of which would have been delivered by these two exceptional riders. Thursday’s top results and indeed the overall standings are now also heavily populated with KTM riders.
A controlled race from the Spaniard Coma
For his part, Marc Coma stayed cool and concentrated on riding a controlled race and sticking close on the wheel of his rival to ensure that Despres did not break away and steal more time from his advantage. If he triumphs in this year’s rally he and Despres will each have three Dakar titles to their credit.
Long two part special
The 11th special on Thursday, a long rider of 622 km, of which 160 was neutralized, continued to test the riders’ technical skills by offering a variety of terrain. Despres went all out to regain time lost after several days where his path seemed to be strewn with misfortune. While he and Coma were battling it out in the early stages, at one stage it looked like “Chaleco” Lopez may take the stage. The Chilean had the best time at the neutralized zone but then made a navigation error in the second half of the special that allowed the two KTM riders to regain control and battle it out for the stage honors.
The penultimate stage from San Juan to Cordoba is a 123 km link and 555 km special that kicks off with a challenging 100 km of sand track.