Speedbrain Honda rider Joan Barreda defends his title at the Baja Aragon with a brilliant ride, presenting Honda its first victory at the traditional offroad event since 16 years.
The final race day saw the field take the same route as on Saturday. Another 500 kilometres had to be covered altogether, with an identical length of the two special stages (200 and 160 km). The participants were challenged by the same characteristics as before, varying between technically demanding and high-speed sections.
Joan opened the day following his previous stage win. The Spaniard aboard his Honda CRF450R immediately put the hammer down, followed by fellow countryman Jordi Viladoms riding a Gas Gas. Both struggled after just 30 minutes of race time at a very deep river crossing. The passage was way deeper than 24 hours before because of all the cars and trucks that had taken the line since then. Barreda and Viladoms literally drowned their bikes and lost 15 minutes afterwards to get going again.
Joan was able to make up most of the lost ground by the end of the special stage, though. The Speedbrain ace was only four minutes back before the second and ultimately decisive test got underway. The 29-year-old then showed he is clearly the fastest in the field by distancing his opponents. He increased his lead from five minutes at the halfway mark to almost ten minutes in the end. Another Spaniard, Marc Guasch, placed second overall.
Joan Barreda: “The Baja Aragon is short but very intense and you have to master all the challenges that make rally racing what it is. I had to drain my bike in record time after the river crossing and immediately got on the gas again. I was feeling superbly and enjoying my riding, especially when I realised I was not only gaining time back. Actually I was opening a considerable gap. So I am happy to bounce back from the injury and to present our partner Honda with a win. That is perfect. Thanks to Speedbrain, Honda and certainly Monster Energy as well as thanks to my friends and family who were here to support me and who all made this success possible.”
Speedbrain Team principal Wolfgang Fischer: “It´s great we´re able to celebrate the first win already that shortly after starting our cooperation with Honda. Our plan with the Speedbrain Honda concept bike for Baja races has worked very well. Joan absolutely made an impression upon his comeback after being injured. We are looking forward to the first official rally outing with HRC at the Pharaons Rally in Egypt.”
The Speedbrain team is not catching a break anyway. Next stop is the Sertoes Rally in Brasil. Paulo Goncalves is competing in this round of the FIM Cross Country Rally World Championship aboard his Speedbrain 450 Rally from 25 July to 4 August.
Gas Gas – Excellent results have been achieved by the official Gas Gas Rally team in the thirtieth edition of the Baja Aragon, race for the Baja FIM World Cup. The legendary raid event has had the riders of the Spanish brand as protagonists, with three Gas Gas riders among the top four of the final day.
This last day, repeating the special test of yesterday, 203.57 and 157.21 kilometers, and one of the river crossings on the course has resulted in a major change. The leader, Joan Barreda and his nearest rival, the Gas Gas rider Jordi Viladoms have fallen, filling the engine with water and wasting time and positions for themselves in the race. So, Marc Guasch coming in at fourth place and became, for a moment, interim leader of the 30th edition of the Baja Aragon.
The two riders involved in the water incident have resumed the race and Barreda with Viladoms both set a strong pace. Barreda again exceeded Guasch in the interim, but the Gas Gas rider has endured and finished in the second position. Viladoms, who set the second fastest time on the final stage, has made it into third place at the end of the race. Great team result.
Bad luck for the young Dani Oliveras, who has suffered from a fall without injury during the first round, which has damaged the exhaust of his Gas Gas EC 450 F Baja and the entire rear area. Despite severe damage to the bike, the Girona rider wanted to continue and has rejoined at the back of the field. Oliveras was running in second place at the time of the incident and was clearly shown as the rider to watch in this Baja Aragon 2013.
Also highlighting the good work done by David Batalla, who finished in twentieth place scratch after putting his trust in Gas Gas for his participation in the Baja Aragon.
“I’m very happy, very satisfied with the end result. YesterdayI didn’t have a good day, being in the middle of the first special test. Now on the contrary, I felt very well and have been fortunate that Jordi has warned me of danger in crossing the river. This good relationship between the Gas Gas team members worked well, and that, for the Dakar is a great sign.
Jordi has been strong in the last special stage and I wanted to make sure. I wanted to get it through the second special test, very broken terrain and many stones, dangerous even.
I want to thank the great work that has made by the brand in recent months, and that has made both Jordi and I able to be in this Baja.The team and the mechanics worked very well and have shown that we are ready for the Dakar” .
“I started well, always in the top three and second place was feasible. Just starting the first special stage, wading in a river I crashed when I hit a stone in the river bed and lost more than 20 minutes to re-start the engine. I thought the race was over, but I got going again. I tried to gain time on the final stage I gave it everything and I think the podium is a great result. ”
Final Standings Baja Aragon Spain 2013:
1. Joan Barreda (ESP, Speedbrain Honda) 09:18:26 hrs
2. Guasch (ESP, Gas Gas) +00:09:51
3. Viladoms (ESP, Gas Gas) +00:14:13
4. Bernadaus (ESP, KTM) +00:30:46
5. Escale (ESP, Husqvarna) +00:46:37