|The Dakar circus has reached the green bivouac of San Miguel de Tucuman after 8 demanding stages that saw the riders tackling all kind of terrains, from the big dunes of the Peruvian desert to the arid landscape of Argentina, after having crossed the Andes Mountains with a stage in Chile.
The Dakar has been tough from day 1 and as challenging and unpredictable as usual. Competitors are enjoying a well deserved rest day to recharge their batteries while the mechanics keep working on the bikes as the race is still long and open.
Good team work for the HRC squad on their debut at the Dakar in South America. It’s a new project, a new team and a new machine for HRC and on the rest day it’s time for assessment.
Javier Pizzolito, 10th overall: “A 10th place overall is a good result for me. I have tried to ride consistently trying to respect the machine and my body because we still have 6 long days ahead. We have done good team work, supporting Helder and helping each other. We had several issues with the machine in the first stages, but were able to make adjustments to the bike and continue”.
Helder Rodrigues, 13th overall: “Dakar is a long challenging race and you have to take it a day at a time. We had some problems on the second and third days that made us lose valuable time but the race is still open and I will continue to fight with the same great determination. As riders we have to maintain our concentration for many hours as we are alone in the desert, we need to trust ourselves, making the right decisions at the right time, being fast but with an eye always on the roadbook. Not only are we riders, we need to have mechanical skills to repair the machine if something happens in the stage. This is what makes the Dakar so special”.
Johnny Campbell, 67th overall: “This first half of the race has been inconsistent for my positions and results, but this mainly because of the new team and my position as chase rider. In my career I have always been consistent whereas here I have finished 24th, 38th, 70th and yesterday second. The problem with the fuel system on day 3 spoiled my race as I lost more than 3 hours but the target was to finish the stage and support Helder, who is the more experienced and most competent rider in the team, despite my personal result”.
Henk Hellegers, Team Manager: “we had some fueling issues on days 2 and 3 that had big consequences in terms of results as we lost a lot of time and contact with the front riders, but the riders did a very good team job helping each other. We are collecting data that will help us to continue the development of the machine and gaining experience for all kind of terrains and altitude as there is no test that can reproduce race conditions. This is a young project, that started only 6 months ago. Everyone is working hard and there is a lot of potential. The race is still open and we are confident that we can progress”.