Sonora Rally 2017 | Stage 1 Recap

The first stage is in the books with some surprises

Ricky Brabec at Stage 1 Sonora Rally
Ricky Brabec took on the first stage of the Sonora Rally and nabbed the win.Photo by Harry Wagner

The first stage of the 2017 Sonora Rally is in the books, but it was not without some surprises along the way. “I made a couple small navigation errors,” admitted Stage One winner Ricky Brabec, “but I still managed to open the entire course. Everything went well today.” The Honda/Monster Energy factory team rider is a Dakar Rally veteran who has already committed to racing Dakar in 2018, but six of the 21 bike field are competing in the Dakar Challenge for a free entry in the largest rally raid event in the world. Mark Samuels finished second to Brabec and is the early leader in the Dakar Challenge, but three more challenging stages remain.

Todd and Kyle Jergensen jumped out to an early lead in the car category. “We learned so much at this event last year,” Todd confessed. “This year we came prepared and better organized.” The Jergensen family is more familiar with the desert races of Baja, where unlimited prerunning and GPS navigation allow familiarization with the course. Neither GPS or prerunning is allowed at the Sonora Rally, instead rally notes are the only source of navigation.

Brabec navigation issues at Stage 1 of Sonora Rally
Although Brabec had a couple snags as far as navigation went he still managed to take the first stage win.Photo by Harry Wagner

In UTVs, Jake Povey and Pete Mortensen jumped out to an early lead ahead of Chad Ragland. The duo is representing Menzies Motorsports after Bryce Menzies had to pull out of the Sonora Rally due to an unscheduled surgery. “We were easy on the RZR, easy on the BFGoodrich tires,” Povey shared. “The goal is to get Pete more navigation experience in preparation for future rally raid events with Bryce.”

Stage Two returns to Puerto Penasco on a new route that promises to deliver more tests for the riders and teams at the 2017 Sonora Rally. “Our goal is for everyone to enjoy their experience,” explained event coordinator Darren Skilton. “The beauty of the Sonoran Desert and the amazing food and culture of this region are consistent themes in the rally, but the challenges on the course increase each day.”