Ricky Brabec Bursts Through For His First Dakar Victory In 2017

Ricky Brabec, Dakar 2017Courtesy of Monster Energy

Resumption of the 2017 Dakar Rally saw an excellent day of pace and progress for the Monster Energy Honda Team and a memorable maiden victory for American Ricky Brabec with his CRF450 Rally. The surviving squads in the current edition of the world’s toughest race enjoyed a brief respite with the rest day in Bolivia and the unexpected cancellation of stage six due to bad weather. Brabec and co revved up for the revival of the rally and the first half of the marathon stage to kick of the second week with much of the original route being modified because of the poor climate.

Brabec led teammate Paulo Goncalves to the end of the 160km special, which featured mainly off-road challenges and some watery difficulties. “Today was good,” Ricky said after clocking the best time by almost two minutes from the Portuguese and giving the HRC crew their second win of the competition in what is only his second attempt at the South American trek. “It was the first day of the marathon after the rest day. The track was good and the navigating went well. There was more off-road than on-road, which is more my style. I’m happy to be here at the finish-line in spite of my slide out in the grass where I went swimming. These bikes are pretty slippery in the mud. I’m happy to come away in one piece, healthy and ready to go tomorrow.”

‘9’ sits fourteenth in the general standings. Honda saw all four of their riders classify in the top six after Stage Seven with Joan Barreda in fourth and Michael Metge sixth. Barreda and Goncalves are ninth and eighth in the overall rally ranking respectively and need to find an hour of time to Britain’s Sam Sunderland who sets the pace. Almost 900km face the riders in the gruelling Stage Eight to come as the Dakar rushes towards Argentina.