Dakar 2016 - Stage 2

Weather Cancels Stage 1, Stage 2 Starts The Scoring

Photo Courtesy Team HRC – Rally

After the cancellation of Stage 1 on Sunday due to a massive rainstorm that moved through the area, riders were forced to pound the pavement for almost 450 km, from Rosario to Villa Carlos Paz. To put things into perspective, that’s like riding your dirt bike from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on the freeway in the pouring rain; not a fun way to start the rally. Riders spent time hiding from the storm inside gas stations while they waited for the organizers to make a decision on whether to run the stage or not. Ultimately the decision was made to cancel the stage for safety reasons. If the helicopters can’t fly, the ASO is not willing to risk starting the race.

The riders lined up at the start of today’s 450km day still feeling the effects of yesterday’s long, cold transfer section. Although they still had not raced a single kilometer on the clock, this Dakar has already begun to wear on the competitors. Just before the start riders learned that the stage had been trimmed from 450km to 354km due to more bad weather. The stage started in the Cordoba area on the smooth-as-glass roads that are often used by the WRC when they visit Argentina. If memory serves me correctly, these roads are super fast with tons of blind corners and almost no navigation.

I must say I was pretty stoked to see my buddy Toby Price (KTM) set the fastest time by just 20sec over Husqvarna’s Ruben Faria with Stefan Svitko (KTM) 1:28 back. Although it’s great for Toby to get a stage win this early, the fact remains he will have to lead out tomorrow, which is new territory for him. At first glance, tomorrow’s stage appears to be fast and shouldn’t be too difficult in terms of navigation. In the big picture, the overall time gap is still relatively small with only 15min separating the top 30 riders. I guess we will see how things shake out over the next few days, but I don’t expect to see any major drama until after Stage 4 (the first of two marathon stages).

The Americans

It looks like a pretty solid day for our boys with Ricky Brabec finishing 21st overall, just 10:50 behind the leader and 3:49 behind Laia Sanz ;). Ian Blythe ended up 47th, Alexander Smith 76th, Scott Bright 85th, and C.R. Gittere 110th. I’m still waiting to hear some of their reports and hopefully I can share some war stories in the next few days.


Pos. No. Name Make Time Variation
1 3 PRICE (AUS) KTM 003:46:24
2 8 FARIA (PRT) HUSQVARNA 003:46:44 0:00:20
3 5 SVITKO (SVK) KTM 003:47:52 0:01:28
4 20 DUCLOS (FRA) SHERCO TVS 003:48:15 0:01:51
5 14 WALKNER (AUT) KTM 003:48:24 0:02:00
6 2 GONCALVES (PRT) HONDA 003:49:02 0:02:38
7 6 BARREDA BORT (ESP) HONDA 003:49:46 0:03:22
8 47 BENAVIDES (ARG) HONDA 003:50:00 0:03:36
9 17 PEDRERO GARCIA (ESP) SHERCO TVS 003:50:49 0:04:25
10 4 QUINTANILLA (CHL) HUSQVARNA 003:50:56 0:04:32
11 16 JAKES (SVK) KTM 003:51:33 0:05:09
12 18 BOTTURI (ITA) YAMAHA 003:52:53 0:06:29
13 9 CASTEU (FRA) KTM 003:53:28 0:07:04
14 12 SANZ (ESP) KTM 003:53:33 0:07:09
15 52 CERVANTES MONTERO (ESP) KTM 003:53:36 0:07:12
16 7 RODRIGUES (PRT) YAMAHA 003:53:57 0:07:33
17 19 METGE (FRA) HONDA 003:54:16 0:07:52
18 23 FARRES GUELL (ESP) KTM 003:54:34 0:08:10
19 27 ARANA (ESP) HUSQVARNA 003:55:45 0:09:21
20 33 GYENES (ROU) KTM 003:57:00 0:10:36
21 48 BRABEC (USA) HONDA 003:57:14 0:10:50


Pos. No. Name Make Time Variation
47 106 BLYTHE (USA) KTM 004:11:53 0:25:29
76 103 SMITH (USA) HUSQVARNA 004:29:18 0:42:54
85 105 BRIGHT (USA) KTM 004:34:05 0:47:41
110 145 GITTERE (USA) HUSQVARNA 004:52:40 1:06:16