I don’t know about you, but I am just fascinated looking at these photos each day. I will miss the Dakar once it is over on Saturday. Here are today’s team reports, Chilly
Yamaha – Yamaha Netherlands Verhoeven Team rider Frans Verhoeven made it count today, expertly dispatching the 12th stage of the 2013 Dakar Rally to take a much deserved victory aboard his 450 Yamaha machine. The Dutch rider excelled on a stage that over 319km contained sand, stones, rocks, rio’s and dunes. In a touching tribute Verhoeven dedicated his first stage victory of the 2013 Dakar to former Yamaha France Dakar legend Jean-Claude Olivier who tragically passed away last week. The result places Verhoeven in seventh position and closes the gap to fellow Yamaha rider Olivier Pain who came home in tenth position today and moves up to sixth, less than two minutes ahead of the Dutchman.
“We would not be here without Jean-Claude,” Frans Verhoeven explained. “JCO has been an inspiration for us, ever since the time Stéphane Peterhansel won for Yamaha. Therefore this victory is dedicated to his memory. My Yamaha 450 did not have one small hic up today. The potential of this bike is amazing. Today compensates for the trouble I had in the first week. I was able to keep the pace high for all of the stage. Immediately from the beginning I started to hunt down Faria, who had started a minute in front of me, and Duclos, who had three minutes. I rode like a motocross rider. Before the tank stop at kilometer 169 I had overtaken Faria and was on Duclos’ tail. It was one of those days when you know exactly what you do and where you are. The perfect day and a little bit more. I made no mistakes and was in super balance. Everything I did worked out the best possible way.”
From KTM – Teamwork was on the agenda for the Red Bull KTM Factory team in Stage 12 of the Dakar 2013 when overall leader Cyril Despres worked with teammate and support rider Ruben Faria of Portugal to help him gain some overall time on KTM rival Chaleco Lopez, now racing on his home territory of Chile.
The tactics worked well and at the end of the stage Despres and Faria had secured 1-2 in the overall standings with just two stages to go to Saturday’s finish line in Santiago, Chile. Faria trailed Despres by 5 minutes 39 in the overall standings when riders arrived at the finish in Copiapo but more importantly, the Portuguese rider had gained around three minutes advantage on Lopez.
Despres said the first part of the stage was very fast and then riders entered the big dunes of the Atacama Desert where good navigation was decisive. “I didn’t want to open the track today so I let the others go,” Despres said. “It was also important for me today to try and help Ruben. He’s been helping me now as support rider in all the Dakar Rallies since 2012 so today I decided to help him to try and stay in second place overall. I think he did well and I’m happy for us.”
Stage 12 went to Dutch rider Frans Verhoeven with Faria in second just one minute 38 behind. Next fastest KTM factory rider was Jakub Przgonski of the Factory B Team in sixth place just over four minute behind. He too held off Lopez who finished seventh. KTM factory rider Joan Pedrero finished twelfth and Despres coasted in in fourteenth place. The team’s American rider Kurt Caselli put in another strong ride to finish 13.26 behind the leader and despite a heavy penalty of 3 hours 20 for missed checkpoints and waypoint in Stage 8 is still in a creditable twenty-fifth place in his first ever Dakar.
Friday is the penultimate stage of the 2013 edition as riders head for Santiago and travel from Copiapo south along the Pacific Coast to La Serena in a 735 km ride of which there is another long timed special of 441 km.
Speedbrain Husqvarna – High speeds throughout and a lot navigation made the twelfth stage of the Dakar, from Fiambala to Copiapo a tough one. Joan “Bang Bang” Barreda proved to be the best of the Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain taking third place on the day, and bringing the team its tenth podium place out of the twelve stages contested so far. Joan, who led throughout the race made a slight navigational error which dropped him down into third place finishing just three minutes behind winner Verhoeven.
Alessandro Botturi, on the other hand, had a day worth forgetting. After holding seventh place for the first half of the race, the rider lost a lot of time looking for the way point. Alessandro finished fourteen minutes behind the leader, but now runs the risk of being penalized with a one hour penalty for failure to pass Way Point 13.
Paulo Goncalves had a fairly lacklustre day, opening the track for the other riders after starting from second position. He came in sixteenth, ten minutes behind the winner.
Tomorrow sees the penultimate stage of the rally from Copiapo to La Serena including 441 km special test (275 miles) and a total distance of 735 km (460 miles). The last real stage before they roll into Santiago.
Joan Barreda: “I really pushed hard right from the start today, and I lead the way for quite a stretch. Then I made a slight navigational error and lost a few minutes, but I managed to pull it back almost straight away. I’m pleased with my race today.”
Paulo Goncalves: “It was difficult to open a race like today’s. I started out from second, and was like a hare to the other greyhounds that were in chase. Anyway, I’m fairly pleased with my race and I didn’t make any significant mistakes.”
Alessandro Botturi: ”I’m really disappointed. Everything went really well until halfway through the race. Then I lost patience when I couldn’t find the right route and I missed a way point which will cost me a one hour penalty. Today I threw away practically everything…..a shame.”
Johnny Campbell – Today we crossed back over the Andes mountains in to Chile for the final stages. It was 30 degrees at 6am, headed over a 15,500′ pass! I was frozen, it was pure torture. I stopped to change gloves and nearly collapsed due to lack of oxygen and an ailing body. Then as we approached the start of the stage after 5 hours of Liaison, I almost feel asleep while riding. At the start of the stage I felt kinda weak and not very confident. I cruised for a bit and had to stop and pick up a downed Spaniard. (Second time this race, different rider. He was ok only wrist soreness. I got him patched up with a few cable ties on the bike and off we went).
This stage had 75% dunes. Super soft but really big fast sand valleys with minimum rocks. You could hold it wide open for miles. My ribs did a little better today proof that the prayer is working! I have been able to keep going in desperation mode. I’m am ready to see the finish in Santiago, Chile, this coming Saturday. 2 stages left. Tomorrow Copiapo to La Serena, back to the Pacific Ocean! Yeah! Thank you everyone for your prayers I feel them every bump!