Courtesy of Sharon Cox
Dakar Rally 2020 Women Competitors Media coverage brought to you by:
Dakar Rally Stage 2 is complete for Women competitors in Bike, Car and SSV racing total of 393kms with 367kms timed. Sand, dust and stoney tracks made navigation difficult for all Women, some succumbing to falls, while others were just so elated that they made it to the bivouac before dinner had finished.
And so are the toils of the Dakar. Already withdrawals have started in categories- no Women- all of whom show managed calm out there under 2nd Day of Dakar racing from Al Wajh to Neom.
Landscape of stunning variety did edge out top Women place competitor and ‘Legend’ in her own right- Laia Sanz spitting the Gas Gas KTM rider ‘high-side’ to the ground when hit by a stone. Painful hip not only meant Laia dipped number of placings to 37th, but also proved concern as starting further back for Stage 3 will take big effort to race from behind.
Laia: ‘Around kilometre 30, in a stony area, in the middle of the curve I was turning, I looked down a moment to see the roadbook and I had a stone that catapulted me. The worst thing I know about the fall is not the time I lost, but tomorrow I will start far behind and, if we continue between canyons and with this dust, it will take me three days to get back to where I am’.
And dust was also hazard for Mirjam Pol who finds road-book: ‘ready-to-use’ bit of work. Notwithstanding slight incident which left Mirjam on the ground, the experienced Husqvarna rider relies on precision of analysis to keep on track- on and off bike. Position: 77th.
Mirjam: ‘It was once again a serious stage but we drove in the dust all day making it very dangerous. Often it went wrong which left me lying down in a ditch! My motorcycle feels much better…and on the road-book I don’t really see the difference between blue and black. But… it does save a lot of time and there is always lack of it in the rally, so…. it’s also a matter of getting used to. Anyway, this day we can tick again’.
South African rookie Kirsten Landman made postive moves navigating the challenging terrain- pushing when she could, holding back when needed finishing in 95th place from 5 hours- 53 minutes – 24 seconds on the bike. Rather than take the frustrating day as lack of momentum to move up rankings, Kirsten remains philosophical, knowing it is a long Rally and finishing each Stage is key.
Fellow National rider Taye Perry experienced first-bite of Dakar test with slight error in navigation 5 kms from finish placing the rookie in 109th place. For Taye it is all part of racing: 🎤”All good .. had some navigation problems 5km from end. Happy with my pace!”
One and only female competing in ‘Original by Motul’ Unassisted category, Sara Garcia takes each Stage as it comes. Pleased with staying safe to the finish, Sara manages which-ever crops up with calm emotions bringing the Yamaha rider to 113th in Bike class and 26th in ‘Dakar Solo’.
Sara: ‘Second stage finished with some occasional setback. Adjust a couple of things that have failed us like the bottom pump & a screw that loosened us. We had to stop in the middle of clouds of dust to transfer gasoline from the tank from below to above while we were all passed and then had to work way back up. It has been a very beautiful stage that, due to its characteristics, has reminded me of Morocco, so it is a land we are familiar with’.
Car category with Cristina Gutierrez driver and Pablo Moreno co-driver met fair share of challenges navigating stony tracks – testing durability of their Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross tyres. Standing in 40th position from 77 starters, this category carries impressive number of ‘Legends’- 22 in fact, making certain Cristina and Pablo are amongst world-best car Rally drivers.
Cristina: ‘Again very stony ground and great difficulty. We have lost some power throughout the stage but very happy with the rhythm and good feeling with the #EclipseCross. Pablo from 10, again! We keep going! 🐢💨
Fernanda Kanno driver and Alonso Carillo co-driver make readers cheer with applause as both Peruvian competitors are sincerely grateful just to compete. Putting in fine performance to finish 67th in Stage 2, Fernanda released joyful emotions at making to bivouac before dark.
Fernanda: ‘It is that in the majority of stages in three Dakars we have come to the camps at night, when dinner was over. Yesterday [first stage] the Dakar kicked us hard’.
‘Today it has been longer but more fluid, we had zero problems. Every day we finish the Dakar is to celebrate. We have arrived by day and we have won dinner. They have not even served it’…she says with a big smile.
SSV female duo Camelia Liparoti and Annett Fischer are again blazing trail of best performance completing Stage 2 in 33rd place. The C.A.T Racing Yamaha Team speak of making Yamaha proud when we cross the final finish-line.
Dakar Rally Stage 3: Neom to Neom 504kms- 427kms timed.
Header Photo: Laia Sanz Stage 2 Photo Credit: Dakar Rally/ASO