DAKAR 2015

 

DAKAR - 2015

 

 

The adventure began back in 1977, when Thierry Sabine got lost on his motorbike in the Libyan desert during the Abidjan-Nice Rally. Saved from the sands in extremis, he returned to France still in thrall to this landscape and promising himself he would share his fascination with as many people as possible. He proceeded to come up with a route starting in Europe, continuing to Algiers and crossing Agadez before eventually finishing at Dakar. The founder coined a motto for his inspiration: "A challenge for those who go. A dream for those who stay behind." Courtesy of his great conviction and that modicum of madness peculiar to all great ideas, the plan quickly became a reality. Since then, the Paris-Dakar, a unique event sparked by the spirit of adventure, open to all riders and carrying a message of friendship between all men, has never failed to challenge, surprise and excite. Over the course of almost thirty years, it has generated innumerable sporting and human stories.

 

TOYOTA IMPERIAL

 

04 January 2015

TOYOTA IMPERIAL SA DAKAR TEAM SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETES PRE-RACE CHECKS FOR DAKAR 2015

 

BUENOS AIRES - With the start of Dakar 2015 now just hours away, the Toyota Imperial South African Dakar Team was pleased and somewhat relieved when all pre-race checks were completed successfully early on Saturday, 3 January. All that remained before the start of racing was the ceremonial start podium, which took place early in the evening of the same day.

 

"We are very pleased that every member of the team has successfully completed all the pre-race checks, which are quite significant," said Team Principal Glyn Hall on Saturday. "More importantly, both our Toyota Imperial Hilux race vehicles have also passed through scrutineering without a hitch, essentially allowing us to take part in the race."

 

The administrative checks and vehicle scrutineering on The Dakar are notoriously stringent, but in the world's toughest motorsport event safety comes first, and as such it is necessary for the organisers to make sure that every person taking part in the event conforms to certain safety standards. This includes customs, medical and environmental declarations, equipment checks, briefings on the route and much more.

 

Clearing the checks can take a top team, such as the Toyota Imperial South African Dakar Team several days, as not only the two race vehicles but also each and every support vehicle and staff member needs to complete the checks. For the race crews - Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz in the Toyota Imperial Hilux #303 and Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie in #327 - the checks are even more intense, and also brings home the seriousness of this mammoth event.

 

With the checks completed it was time to take part in the ceremonial start of the race. This consisted of each crew driving their motorcycle, quad bike, truck or production race vehicle over a ramp and around a short parade route - with nearly a million Argentine fans looking on. It is one of the spectacles of the world's toughest motor race, and it took several hours for the 414 competitors to complete the ceremony.

 

Dakar 2015 itself gets under way on Sunday January 4th, with a short liaison from the start in Buenos Aires, to the start of a 170 km long stage. This is followed by a long liaison of 519 km, which sees the crews overnight at the race's first bivouac at the Argentine town of Villa Carlos Paz. Stage 1 consists of fast tracks with sharp bends, more akin to traditional rally stages than the spectacular open vistas of the Dakar.

 

"Our biggest competition is still sure to come from the MINIs," said driver Giniel de Villiers before the start of the first day. "Nasser Al-Attiyah, Nani Roma and Orlando Terranova are all fast drivers, and we've seen how strong those cars are at high altitude. With that said, this is a new year and we have a new, more powerful and lighter Toyota Imperial Hilux - so let's wait and see what happens on the first stage."

 

For Leeroy Poulter, in the second Toyota Imperial Hilux, Dakar 2015 offers a chance to improve on his 33rd position at the end of the 2014 event. The Johannesburg-based driver has completed a full season in the Donaldson Cross-Country Championship back home, and is confident that the extra hours in the race vehicle, together with navigator Rob Howie, will make a massive difference.

 

"Not only that," continued Poulter, "but we've also done a Dakar together now. So my entire mental state and outlook on the race is better now than last year. I have a much clearer picture of what to do, and can't wait to get out there now."

 

The team is fielding two brand new Toyota Hilux race vehicles, which feature a redesigned exterior, slightly larger air restrictor (37mm vs 36mm in 2014), new suspension setup, lower overall weight and many other significant changes. The vehicle was built in response to changes in the FIA's regulations for the race, and may result in a more level playing field between the normally aspirated V8 petrol engines of the Toyota Imperial Hilux, and the turbo-charged diesel engines of the MINI team.

 

"The Dakar is not an easy event to win," said Hall. "There are many, many people trying. But we are confident that our new race vehicle is better than ever, and this may just be our best shot yet."

 

Toyota Motorsport South Africa Acknowledges Its Dakar Sponsors, Specialist Official Suppliers and Technical Partners:

 

Hallspeed, TFM, Castrol, SKF, Spanjaard, Robor, 4x4 Megaworld, NGK, Donaldson, Mastercraft, Sat4Rent, Oakley, Edgecam, Supreme Springs, FreeM, Bosch, Smiths Manufacturing and Shatterprufe. Also Duxbury Netgear, Innovation, Toyota Financial Services, SAA Cargo, Toyota and Imperial Toyota.

 

Note to editors:

 

Difference between Cross-Country, Off-Road and Rally racing: The Dakar is a cross-country race where vehicles race between GPS waypoints as opposed to existing roads. In a rally (a la WRC) the cars race along closed roads. In an off-road race the competitors follow routes not suitable for cars, but they still have a set route to follow.

 

For the purpose of The Dakar, the event is called a rally (The Dakar Rally), though it doesn't conform to the definition of a traditional rally. It has timed race (stages) and liaison (open road) sections where they do not race against the clock, but still have to depart at certain predetermined times and clock in before a given deadline to avoid time penalties.

 

In a rally, competitors race in similar fashion, but use multiple short stages (up to 25-35km each; around 5 or 6 special stages per day; 2-3 days per event).

 

In off-road racing an event consists of one long stage on a single day only, and an event is usually run over 2 days.

 

The Dakar lasts 14 days and covers 4,752 race kilometres and 9,295 km in total (combination of stages and liaisons). The event is split by a rest day at the halfway mark. It is officially the longest motorsport event in the world (distance and time).

 

 

 

 

 

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05 January 2015

 

TOYOTA IMPERIAL SA DAKAR TEAM IN SATISFACTORY POSITION AFTER STAGE ONE OF DAKAR 2015

 

VILLA CARLOS PAZ - Both Toyota Imperial South African Dakar Team crews sighed in relief, as they successfully completed Stage 1 of the 2015 Dakar Rally. Not only that, but car #303 - driven by Giniel de Villiers and German navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz - recorded the fourth-fastest time of the day. Leeroy Poulter and navigator Rob Howie, in the second Toyota Imperial Hilux (#327) finished 14th overall, after starting in the 27th position.

 

Stage 1 of the 2015 Dakar Rally saw competitors complete a relatively short stage of 170 km, which started just 144 km north of the Argentine captial, Buenos Aires. The short stage featured long straights with sharp turns and junctions on smooth surfaces, more akin to traditional rally routes than the vast open stages associated with the Dakar.

 

"We had a fairly good, clean run today," said Giniel de Villiers after arriving at the first bivouac of the 2015 race. "The Hilux ran absolutely perfectly, and we didn't take any risks so early on."

 

De Villiers/Von Zitzetwiz is only 01:12 behind early leader Nasser Al-Attiyah (MINI). Arengentine Orlando Terranova (MINI) is in second place, with the USA's Robbie Gordon (Gordini Buggy) slotting into third, just eight seconds ahead of De Villiers.

 

Poulter and Howie, meanwhile, started at a blistering pace (2nd at the first checkpoint). However, they quickly caught up with one of the slower competitors ahead of them and got stuck in their dust for more than 140 km. As a result the pair recorded only the 14th-fastest time, though they have clearly shown that they are capable of significantly more.

 

"It was very frustrating today," said Poulter at a road-side check after the stage. "We were so much faster than the guy ahead of us, but there was nowhere to go past him. So we just had to sit there in the dust. With that said, we did improve significantly on our starting position."

 

The pair pulled away in 27th position at the start of the stage, but by posting a time just 4:40 slower than that of Al-Attiyah they moved up to 14th at the end of the day. The biggest news of the day was the early demise of defending champion Nani Roma (MINI), who was spotted being towed to the bivouac after suffering oil pressure problems on the stage. It remains to be seen if he will make the start for Stage 2.

 

"I am relativly pleased with our performance on Day 1," said Team Principal Glyn Hall from the first bivouac of the race. "Both Toyota Imperial Hilux race vehicles ran well today, and it's good to have the first stage behind us. Leeroy demonstrated maturity today by being patient behind the slow buggy, which is encouraging. I did expect us to be faster at this, the lowest altitude stage of the rally. Although we have had some relief in the FIA's engine regulations (1mm larger restrictor), it's clearly not enough: From here the altitude goes up and our power will decrease in relation to that of the turbo-charged cars, which is still a concern for us."

 

Next up is the longest special stage of Dakar 2015, which sees crews tackle 518 km of varied terrain after a short liaison of 26 km. Stage 2 starts just outside the town of Villa Carlos Paz, and features hard packed dirt and rock tracks at the start, with long dusty sections in the middle. The monster stage ends with a long sandy stretch, leaving the crews with just an 81 km liaison to the next bivouac at San Juan.

 

Toyota Motorsport South Africa Acknowledges Its Dakar Sponsors, Specialist Official Suppliers and Technical Partners:

 

Hallspeed, TFM, Castrol, SKF, Spanjaard, Robor, 4x4 Megaworld, NGK, Donaldson, Mastercraft, Sat4Rent, Oakley, Edgecam, Supreme Springs, FreeM, Bosch, Smiths Manufacturing and Shatterprufe. Also Duxbury Netgear, Innovation, Toyota Financial Services, SAA Cargo, Toyota and Imperial Toyota.

 

 

 

 

 

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05 January 2015

 

POULTER IMPRESSES EARLY ON STAGE TWO OF DAKAR 2015

 

SAN JUAN - The longest single stage of Dakar 2015 - 518 km of rocks, sand and dust. That's what the crews faced on the leg from the riverside town of Villa Carlos Paz to the arid San Juan, near the foothills of the Andes. And for a period shortly after the start of the stage, it was the name of Leeroy Poulter that was on everybody's lips, as he went fastest of all at one checkpoint after the other. Together with navigator Rob Howie, the Toyota Imperial Hilux driver looked like a strong contender to win the stage, but in the end had to settle for 11th position on the day.

 

"We started the stage at a fast pace," said Poulter from the bivouac at San Juan. "and the car felt fantastic. But towards the end of the stage we caught up to the crews ahead of us, and that put a stop to our progress. Overall it was a good day for us, though we would have liked to have finished as strong as we started this morning."

 

During most of the morning it had appeared as if Poulter/Howie (#327) were setting the pace, but in reality it was Nasser Al-Attiyah (MINI) who had been going fastest. Al-Attiyah's car had suffered a transponder problem, and as a result his times were not showing on the Dakar's system until he exited the mammoth stage.

 

Stage 2 started with Orlando Terranova (MINI) in the lead of the race, after early leader Al-Attiyah was penalised for speeding in a controlled zone on Day 1. This moved the MINI driver down to seventh, and promoted Toyota Imperial driver Giniel de Villiers and navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz to third overall - with the American showman Robbie Gordon in between. But Gordon had trouble early in Stage 2, leaving De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz to duke it out with the Argentine MINI driver Terranova ahead of them.

 

"We had another solid day today, and conquering this long stage is a relief," said De Villiers after arriving in San Juan. "Terranova and Nasser both drove well today, but we are happy to be in second place at this stage."

 

Terranova demonstrated just how easy it is to lose time on the Dakar, when he went off piste after leading the rally for most of Stage 2. The incident cost him twenty minutes just kilometers from the end of the stage, losing the lead of the rally and missing out on the stage win in the process.

 

Tomorrow's stage is 284 km in length, and starts just 26 km from the bivouac at San Juan. The route meanders through some of the most spectacular scenery in Argentina, with towering red peaks and stunning sandy gullies, before ending some 232 km from the town of Chilecito, where the next bivouac is located.

 

"We had hoped to be in the lead at this point of the race," said Team Principal Glyn Hall after Stage 2. "Building a buffer early on is imperative for us, as the race moves to higher altitudes tomorrow. Peaking at 3,000 m Stage 3 may not be the highest point on the 2015 Dakar, but it certainly won't help our cause. With that said, we can't be disappointed, with Giniel and Dirk in second, and Leeroy now in 11th. And there's still a lot of racing to come."

 

In the mean time, Dutch driver Bernhard ten Brinke and Belgian navigator Tom Colsoul in a Toyota Hilux posted the third-fastest time on Stage 2, and moved up to third overall as a result. This means that two Toyota Hilux race vehicles are now in the top three of Dakar 2015.

 

 

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06 January 2015

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07 January 2015

 

DAKAR 2015, STAGE 4: POULTER IMPROVES IN STANDINGS, WHILE DE VILLIERS HOLDS STEADY

 

COPIAPO - It was a day of big moves on the Dakar, as the entire race relocated to Chile by traversing the spectacular Andes mountain range before the start of the stage. But for the Toyota Imperial South African Dakar Team, it was the fleet-footed Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie (#327) that made most of the moves, when the pair improved from 21st overall after stage 3, to 14th after arriving in the town of Copiapo.

 

Stage 4 saw the teams complete a monster liaison of 594 km, from the Argentine town of Chilecito, across the Chilean border and down from more than 4,600 m above sea level to the mining town of Copiapo. While the town itself may be more famous for the miners who were epically rescued there in 2010, to motorsport fans the world over it is synonymous with the massive dune that sees crews descend from the Andes and almost straight into the bivouac.

 

"For us it was a great stage," said Poulter after completing the 315 km-long special. "We were fastest through the first couple of checkpoints, but then the big dunes started. We got stuck twice near the end, but still managed the 9th fastest time on the day."

 

For Poulter/Howie it was a day of recovery, after they lost nearly an hour on Stage 3. Still, the pair battled on and called upon their so-called 'joker', which allows them to improve their start time once during the event. As such they pulled away 19th on the road, despite recording only the 40th-fastest time on Stage 3. This allowed them to work their way through the field, reclaiming nine positions in the process.

 

"We are very pleased with Leeroy and Rob's progress," said Team Principal Glyn Hall after the stage. "They have shown patience and maturity on this event so far, and I firmly believe it will pay off in the long run. Giniel and Dirk, in the meantime, did exactly what we expected of them."

 

Giniel de Villiers and German navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz (#303) posted another great stage time, despite having to open most of the route after the demise of MINI driver Orlando Terranova. The Argentine driver, who won Stage 3 of the event, lost a mass of time after contact with a rock took out the rear suspension of his race vehicle.

 

The Toyota Imperial Hilux pair completed the stage in third position, behind leader Nasser Al-Attiyah (MINI) and Nani Roma (MINI), losing 2:57 to the overall Al-Attiyah in the process. This places them 8:15 behind Al-Attiyah in the overall standings, with Saudi debutant Yazeed Alrajhi (Toyota Hilux) more than 15 minutes behind them in third.

 

"We had another good stage today, and we've just got to stay focussed," said De Villiers from the bivouac at Copiapo. "The Hilux ran like clockwork, and we are looking forward to another Chilean stage tomorrow."

 

Stage 5 starts near Copiapo and sees the crews end the day in a bivouac at the town of Antofagasta. Inbetween lie 174 km of road section, followed by 458 km of special stage, before a 65 km liaison to the bivouac. The ultra-fine fesh-fesh dust is sure to play a role on the stage, but that is all part of the odyssey that is Dakar 2015.

 

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08 January 2015

 

TOYOTA:       DE VILLIERS/VON ZITZEWITZ SECOND ON STAGE 6 OF DAKAR 2015

 

IQUIQUE - Stage 6 of Dakar 2015 took place between the towns of Antofagasta and Iquique, and saw Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzetwitz (#303) post the second-fastest stage time in their Toyota Imperial Hilux. The pair finished just 37 seconds behind the stage winner and overall race leader, Nasser Al-Attiyah (MINI), after 255 km of cross-country racing.

 

TOYOTA:  DE VILLIERS/VON ZITZEWITZ SECOND ON STAGE 7 OF DAKAR 2015, AS POULTER CONSOLIDATES

 

UYUNI - As if the Dakar Rally isn't tough enough, the crews had to go off into Bolivia on their own for Stage 7 - without the support of their service crews at the end of the day. For Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz, in the Toyota Imperial Hilux, however, it was a fantastic stage that saw the crew post the sixth-fastest time on the stage, and taking three minutes out of rally leader Nasser Al-Attiyah (MINI) in the process.

 

TOYOTA IMPERIAL SA DAKAR TEAM IN STRONG POSITION AT DAKAR REST DAY; TOYOTA CLAIMS FIRST STAGE WIN

 

IQUIQUE - A fantastic drive on the second day of the so-called marathon stage (stages without service assistance) saw Giniel de Villiers and German navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz post the 4th-fastest time, 2:49 off the winner, and 13 seconds behind overall rally leader Nasser Al-Attiyah (MINI). This places them solidly in 2nd position overall after eight stages of the 2015 Dakar Rally, just 8:27 behind Al-Attiyah.

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12 January 2015

 

DE VILLIERS/VON ZITZEWITZ MAINTAIN SECOND POSITION, DESPITE NAVIGATIONAL CHALLENGES ON STAGE 9

 

CALAMA - Dakar 2015 served up a curveball for the race crews on Stage 9, with not only a challenging route from Iquique to Calama, but also a particularly hard-to-find waypoint that had many crews scrambling around, searching for the elusive beacon in the Atacama dust. While some crews lost significant amounts of time, the Toyota Imperial Dakar Team's Giniel de Villiers and German navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz managed to restrict their loss to only 15 minutes.

 

"We knew we had to try something special today," said a disappointed De Villiers from the bivouac at Calama. "Dirk identified a slightly shorter route for us, and if it came off we would have taken a fair bit of time from Nasser (Al-Attiyah, rally leader). As it turned out, it wasn't the right decision, and the entire situation was made worse when we couldn't find one of the waypoints in the choking dust."

"In a race like this, it is important to focus on the positives," said Team Principal Glyn Hall from Calama. "Giniel and Dirk tried to do something extraordinary today, but it simply didn't go entirely to plan. Had they pulled it off, we may have been right on Nasser's tail or even leading the Dakar. Giniel really pushed hard today and was set on taking time from Nasser. He lead for a large part of the stage, but then they had the problem with the waypoint. As it stands we lost some time to the lead, but at the same time we increased our lead over third-placed Alrahji. So all in all, a good result despite the elusive waypoint."

 

For Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie, in the second Toyota Imperial Hilux, the waypoint in question also presented difficulties.

"By the time we reached that point, the ground had been churned up a lot. It is also an area filled with fine fesh-fesh dust, and the crews ahead of us were milling around trying to find the waypoint. As a result we couldn't see much, and it took us more than an hour to pin down the spot before we could move on," said Poulter after the stage.

 

The pair posted the 27th fastest time on today's stage, but due to the other crews also losing time in the thick dust, they maintained their 18th position overall. This means they will have to start 27th on the road for Stage 10, which places them in the midst of slower crews, together with the resulting dust.

 

"We've still got four stages to go, so there's plenty of racing to come," continued Hall. "But the reality is that, after today, we probably can't catch Nasser on outright pace. Then again, anything can happen on the Dakar, and it often does. So we'll just keep pushing as hard as we can, and see which way the chips fall come Buenos Aires on 17 January."

 

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14 January 2015

 

TOYOTA:  POULTER/HOWIE IMPRESSES, AS DE VILLIERS/VON ZITZEWITZ CONSOLIDATES

SALTA - Another day on the Dakar, another crossing of the Andes... Stage 10 saw the crews move from the dustbowl of Calama in Chile, across the Andes and down to the lush forests of Salta in Argentina. Along the way they also competed in a testing, 358 km special stage - one that will remain etched in the memory of Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie for a very long time.

 

The Toyota Imperial Hilux pairing started the day in 18th position overall, and pulled away as the 37th car on the stage (starting positions are determined by the results of the previous stage, not overall rally standings). This placed them behind not only a mass of other competitors in the car categories, but also behind five massive racing trucks, which are notoriously difficult to pass.

 

"It was a good day all round for the team," said Team Principal Glyn Hall after the stage. "Leeroy and Rob drove an amazing stage to go fourth-fastest, and Giniel and Dirk did enough to keep some pressure on Nasser, despite difficulties of their own."

 

The pair arrived at the start of the stage without any problems, but when Giniel fastened his racing harness he found that one of the locating pins had misaligned. He managed to fasten the belts okay, but had a nagging worry about the integrity of his belts throughout the stage.

 

"Today's stage was long and tricky, with many traps to catch you out," explained De Villiers after completing Stage 10. "To take it on while worrying about your own safety just makes it so much harder, and I couldn't shake that feeling."

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15 January 2015

 

TOYOTA:  SOLID STAGE FOR DE VILLIERS/VON ZITZEWITZ, AS TEAM ORDERS HOLD BACK POULTER/HOWIE

 

TERMAS DE RIO HONDO - Stage 11 of the 2015 Dakar was marked by yet another solid performance by the Toyota Imperial SA Dakar Team's 'mister consistency', Giniel de Villiers. Partnered by long-standing German navigator the Dakar veteran from Paarl posted the 3rd-fastest time on the stage, finishing just 39 seconds behind the stage winner and overall rally leader, Nasser Al-Attiyah. They remain in second place, 29:01 back from the lead.

 

"It was a good stage for us, but it was just too short to make up any time on Nasser," said De Villiers from the riverside town of Termas de Rio Hondo. "And with only two stages to go, we just have to make sure we don't take any risks. At this point we can't catch Nasser on pure pace - all we can do is consolidate and with a bit of luck, the win might still come our way."

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17January 2015

 

TOYOTA:  ELATION AS DE VILLIERS/VON ZITZEWITZ FINISH ON DAKAR PODIUM

 

BUENOS AIRES - There was pure elation in Buenos Aires after the finish of Stage 13 - final stage of the 2015 Dakar - when South Africa's Giniel de Villiers and German navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz drove onto the podium to accept their trophies for second place overall. The pair finished 35:34 behind Qatari driver Nasser Al-Attiyah (MINI), who claimed his second overall victory on the event.

 

"It was a great Dakar for us," said a smiling De Villiers from the final podium in the Argentine capital. "We were right there, in the thick of the fight. Our Toyota Imperial Hilux ran without missing a beat, and we have shown everybody that we are more than capable of taking on the biggest names out there."

 

After more than 9,000 km in Argentina, Chile and Bolivia, both Toyota Imperial Hilux bakkies completed the world's most grueling motor race. De Villiers and Von Zitzewitz brought the Toyota Imperial Hilux (#303) home just under one hour ahead of the man in third place, Krzysztof Holowczyc (MINI) from Poland.

 

For the Toyota Imperial South African Dakar Team this is the third podium finish in four years - third in 2012, second in 2013 and now second again in 2015. In 2014 De Villiers and Von Zitzewitz missed out on the podium, but still brought the Toyota Imperial Hilux home in fourth place overall.

 

"For us Dakar 2015 was a fantastic experience," concluded Hall. "And another podium finish just serves to underscore how competitive we have been since entering this amazing race. All credit goes to the team that has worked tirelessly to develop, build and test the magnificent machines we have been privileged to race - without them, there would simply not have been a Toyota Imperial SA Dakar Team."

 

 

 

 

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KTM RALLY TEAM

4 January 2015

 

STAGE 1:          BUENOS AIRES – VILLA CARLOS PAZ

 

Liaison Sections: 663 km

Racing Stage: 175 Km

Total Distance: 838 Km

 

It was an early start for the team, leaving the hotel in Buenos Aires for the 5:15am start at the Tecnopolis which is where the parc ferme was. Riders loaded the first Dakar road books and donned jackets for the first liaison section of 144 Km’s. The 175Km special started at 7:50am and it was to be Red Bull Factory KTM’s Marc Coma, that set off first. Marc won the 2014 Dakar as well as the 2014 World Rally championship, so he is definitely the man with the target on his back. KTM has 13 successive wins at the Dakar and all other manufacturers are hungry for a win.

 

It was a long and dusty stage, absolutely flat out! The route ran mostly between farms with long straights and sharp corners, pretty much like road racing on dirt. Red Bull KTM Factory rider Sam Sunderland took the win covering the 175Km special in a staggering 1 hour 18 minutes. Broadlink’s Riaan van Niekerk made his way on time to 12th overall before a 90 degree bend in the road sent him through a barb wire fence and into a hole, where spectators had to pull his bike out. He emerged relatively unscathed, with some bruises, but got back on track to finish the day in 22nd.

 

Times are tight up front with Gonzalves in second, Coma third, Barreda fourth and Duclos fifth. Walkner is in 8th, Faria in 10th, Toby Price in 11th and viladoms in 14th.

 

What’s happening tomorrow:

 

Tomorrow will be the longest stage of the rally, a whopping 518 Km’s. This will be a rude awakening and the first real test of the 2015 Dakar. The stage starts off with hard terrain in the beginning, followed by dusty sections in the middle and sandy stretches to the end. Those that haven’t done their homework will be going home early!

 

 

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05 January 2015

 

STAGE 2:       VILLA CARLOS PAZ – SAN JUAN

 

Liaison Sections: 107 km

Racing Stage: 518 Km

Total Distance: 625 Km

 

What happened Sunday 4th Jan:

 

It was a long and dusty stage, absolutely flat out! The route ran mostly between farms with long straights and sharp corners, pretty much like road racing on dirt. Red Bull KTM Factory rider Sam Sunderland took the win covering the 175Km special in a staggering 1 hour 18 minutes. Broadlink’s Riaan van Niekerk went off the road and crashed heavily. He emerged relatively unscathed, with some bruises, but got back on track to finish the day in 22nd. Gonzalves picked up a 7 minute penalty for speeding.

 

Yesterday’s stage:

 

A staggering 518 Km’s, the longest single special in the rally, proved to be a really tough day for most, with soaring temperatures of up to 42 degrees celcius. The stage started out with some some twisty mountain road stages, then the route turned into more sandy, desert kind of terrain. Some wide open roads followed with lots of dust, Riaan topped his 450 KTM out at 175 Km/h, it was absolutely flat out until refuel two. From there on the route was more challenging with lots of fesh fesh, with ruts and narrow winding tracks between the bushes, then sandy whooped out sections of around 60 Km’s in total to the finish.

It was a Honda one two today with Barreda winning the stage ahead of Paulo Gonzalves. Red Bull Factory KTM riders were 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th (Ruben Faria followed by Viladoms, Price and Walkner, Marc Comas mousse collapsed about 50 Km’s from the end of the stage and he limped home losing 12 minutes. Sam Sunderland opened the stage and got completely lost losing 2 hours and 20 in the process.

Broadlink’s Riaan van Niekerk had a steady day finishing in 12th on the stage, putting him in 15th overall.

 

 

What’s happening today:

 

A slight breather after yesterdays 518 Km racing stage, the longest of the rally. The pressure will be off for now on the road to Chilecito. The shorter and less intense stage will allow them to enjoy their spectacular surroundings. The red earth tracks, overlooking steep peaks and plunging down into canyons, will take the Dakar through some of the most beautiful regions of Argentina. The bikers especially should not be too comfortable though, as they will still face some grueling sections with thousands of stones to be avoided, it will only take one to ruin the day !

 

 

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6 January 2015

 

STAGE 3:       SAN JUAN - CHILECITO     

 

Liaison Sections: 437 km

Racing Stage: 220 Km

Total Distance: 657 Km

 

What happened Monday 5th Jan:

 

Monday was the longest single special in the rally, proved to be a really tough day for most, with soaring temperatures of up to 42 degrees celcius. The route was challenging with lots of fesh fesh, with ruts and narrow winding tracks between the bushes, then sandy whooped out sections of around 60 Km’s in total to the finish.

It was a Honda one two with Barreda winning the stage ahead of Paulo Gonzalves. Red Bull Factory KTM riders were 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th (Ruben Faria followed by Viladoms, Price and Walkner, Marc Comas mousse collapsed about 50 Km’s from the end of the stage and he limped home losing 12 minutes. Sam Sunderland opened the stage and got completely lost losing 2 hours and 20 in the process.

Broadlink’s Riaan van Niekerk had a steady day finishing in 12th on the stage, putting him in 15th overall.

 

Yesterday’s stage:

 

A long liaison of 282 Km’s led riders out of San Juan to the start of the 220Km special. It would be their first taste of high altitude peaking at 3500 metres. It was another fast stage, Broadlink’s Riaan van Niekerk had a trouble free day and stayed out of trouble, finishing 20th on the stage. Struggling in the dust, Riaan played caution to the wind as there were some 90 degree bends and he did not need another close encounter like his day one off! He is not particularly looking forward to the Chilean stages as they are more dangerous and will be difficult to navigate.

Matthias Walkner set a blistering pace today to take the stage win ahead of Marc coma. Marc was able to pull back some time on Barreda and is looking forward to the Chilean stages and will continue to claw back time. Barreda finished third on the stage, Toby Price was fourth.

 

 

What’s happening today:

 

It’s into Chile we go! A very early start and a climb to 4800m will precede the border crossing on the San Francisco pass, a gradual warm up will follow on mining tracks, before riders are faced with the reality of the Atacama desert. The route becomes open and sandy, over the last 40 Km’s, the giant dunes and basins of Copiapo will have to be tackled to reach the bivouac, many will spend their night there.

 

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7 January 2015

 

STAGE 4:       CHILECITO - COPIAPO     

 

Liaison Sections: 594 km

Racing Stage: 315 Km

Total Distance: 909 Km

 

What happened Tuesday 6th Jan:

 

Broadlink’s Riaan van Niekerk had a trouble free day and stayed out of trouble, finishing 20th on the stage. Matthias Walkner set a blistering pace today to take the stage win ahead of Marc coma. Marc was able to pull back some time on Barreda and is looking forward to the Chilean stages. Barreda finished third on the stage, Toby Price was fourth.

 

Yesterday’s stage:

 

The traditional crossing of the Andes via the San Francisco pass was taxing although it wasn’t as cold as normal. Riders were overdressed as ominous weather got them packing on extra layers for the 4:30am departure from Chilecito.

 

Temperatures over the 5000m crossing didnt go much below 8 degrees, never the less there was a chill in the air. After a 594 Km liaison section, it was straight into the 315 Km special and competitors first glimpse this year of the Atacama.

 

Navigation would be the order of the day and Tuesdays winner Matthias Walkner soon slotted in behind Marc Coma. Toby Price was the first to get lost losing around 20 minutes early in the morning, Sam Sunderland’s bike stopped at Km 67.

 

Riaan van Niekerk had a trouble free day with a steady ride into 14th place at the end of the day. The first 100 kays was absolutely flat out, Sam Sunderland crashed out early in the morning on the really slippery roads and is out. Riaan then passed David Casteu and they rode together until the refuel, when Chilean rider Gouet joined them. A short while later Helder Rodrigues and Pizzalito joined the fray and the four of them rode to the finish together. All in all it was a steady day with no real drama for Riaan and the Broadlink crew.

 

Joan Barreda took the stage win today gaining 2 minutes on Marc Coma. Both young guns Matthias Walkner and Toby Price made navigation errors today and paid the price.

 

 

What’s happening today:

 

This is one of the few special stages of the rally where all categories follow the same route. The tracks will be really fast in the early stages, allowing those that wish to overtake, the advantage to move up the overall standings. This will be at their own risk though, as competitors should be aware of the pockets of fesh- fesh where absolute self control is the only real measure of success.

 

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08 January 2015

 

STAGE 7:       IQUIQUE - UYUNI

 

There was a fun atmosphere in the air in the Broadlink KTM / Red Bull Factory KTM pits as we caught up with all the South African supporters that came through to the rest day. Some washing was done and Riaan caught up with some much needed sleep.

 

Yesterday’s stage:

Broadlink KTM’s Riaan van Niekerk, had his best day yet with a tenth overall, moving him to 12th in the overall rankings. Consistency has been the name of the game for Riaan, a clever rider who will be sure to take good care of his bike and tyre, in order to survive the marathon stage.

 

What’s happening today:

Onto the Salar (salt pans) The weather will determine which route will be taken from Uyuni, if it’s dry, the start will be on the salt pans of Uyuni, with a 100Km dash across them on a salt road, it will be balls to the wall absolutely flat out before it slows down abruptly as it heads into a technical mountain section. The day will end with a 40Km dune section, taking them down the famous descent into the bivouac in Iquique. This will be the first time in the history of the Dakar that all three categories will be run as three separate races.

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12 January 2015

STAGE 8:       UYUNI - IQUIQUE

Liaison Sections: 24 km

Racing Stage: 781 Km

Total Distance: 805 Km

 

What happened Sunday 11th Jan:

Broadlink KTM’s Riaan van Niekerk, had his best day yet with a tenth overall, moving him to 12th in the overall rankings.

 

Paulo Gonzalves took the stage win, just 14 seconds ahead of Marc Coma, moving to within ten minutes of race leader Joan Barreda, who crashed on the stage breaking his handlebar. He rode for 120Km with one hand and conceded 6 minutes of his 12 minute lead over Red bull Factory KTM’s Marc Coma. Matthias Walkner had another great day finishing in third just a few seconds behind Coma, fourth was Quantanilla and then Toby Price.

 

Yesterday’s stage:

Stage 8 would prove to be a disastrous one knocking most of the top bike contenders out of the rally, including Broadlink’s Riaan van Niekerk. Riaan’s race ended at Kilometer 365 after crossing the salt pan earlier in the morning.

 

After heavy rains overnight, the decision was made by the ASO to still have the mass start across the 135 Km salt pan early in the morning. The crossing would have disastrous consequences for many riders like Riaan, who at first experienced electrical difficulties, all the fuel injection lights lit up on his dashboard as the salt water found its way into the electrical system, at the first refuel most of the bikes couldn’t start on their own and had to be push started. Radiators clogged up and bikes overheated, running out of coolant and losing oil, riders tried by any means to unclog the radiators and in Riaan’s case salt got into the airbox and the results for him were terminal. Matthias Walkner also experienced electrical problems costing him several hours. Jordi Viladoms was next, destroying his engine and coming to a grinding halt. Botturi, Metge and many others did also not make it to the end of the stage. Race leader Joan Barreda also faced electrical issues and lost 3 hours on the leader today, he rode to the finish with Israel and Rodrigues.

 

Marc Coma has regained the lead and is now just 9 minutes 11 seconds ahead of Paulo Gonzalves. Toby Price has moved into fourth overall, he just made it to the bivouac with a bike desperately in need of repair. The bikes are being stripped down to bare frames and completely rebuilt for tomorrow morning’s start.

 

 

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14 January 2015

 

STAGE 10:       CALAMA - SALTA 

 

Liaison Sections: 520 km

Racing Stage: 371 Km

Total Distance: 891 Km

 

What happened Tuesday 13th Jan:

 

Another demanding stage of 451 Km’s, Marc coma had a faultless run and finished 3rd on the stage. He said the navigation was tricky and he made a few mistakes but is happy with the day. Toby price got lost looking for waypoint 9, at the 365 Km mark, losing around 20 minutes on the stage. Toby finished 8th on the stage and retains his fourth overall.

 

Helder Rodrigues won the stage ahead of Paulo Goncalves who gained 3 minutes 43 on Marc Coma reducing Coma’s lead to just 5 minutes 28.

 

Matthias Walkner had a small crash and burst his camelback, leaving him a bit dehydrated as he had no water for the last 150Km’s. He felt comfortable on the bike and is getting to grips with the rally style of racing.

 

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15 January 2015

 

STAGE 11:       SALTA – TERMAS DE RIO HONDO

Liaison Sections: 161 km

Racing Stage: 351 Km

Total Distance: 512 Km

 

What happened Wednesday 14th Jan:

 

It was the start of the second marathon stage of the rally, Matthias Walkner retired with stomach issues and dehydration. The crossing of the Andes for the second time was bitterly cold with temperatures reaching minus 11.

 

Marc Coma retained his lead, finishing 1 minute 39 seconds behind stage winner Joan Barreda, increasing his overall lead to 7 minutes 35 over Paulo Goncalves who finished fifth on the stage. Ruben Faria was third and Toby Price fourth.

 

In the overall standings, Toby is now in fourth overall, just 24 seconds behind Quantanilla on his KTM, this will be the race to watch.

 

The riders slept in Cachi just a few kilometers out of Salta.

 

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17 January 2015

 

Liaison Sections: 219 km

Racing Stage: 174 Km

Total Distance: 393 Km

 

What happened Friday 16th Jan:

Toby Price won the stage, increasing his 3rd place lead to 11 minutes 39, taking the pressure off.

 

The overall leader Marc Coma continued to control the race and is set for his 5th Dakar victory. Second man Paulo Goncalves took 3 minutes 23 seconds out of Coma, but still sits 17 minutes 49 behind the race leader. Ruben Faria was the sacrificial lamb and waited 6 minutes for Marc Coma to pass after the start, just in case there were any problems on the stage.

 

Quintanilla is in fourth, followed by Svitko rounding out the top 5. Unbelievably Laia Sainz holds on to her best ever Dakar, eighth overall.

 

Bring on Dakar 2016 ! 

 

 

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TEAM RHIDE SA

 

 

THE SOUTH AFRICAN QUAD TEAM : TEAM RHIDE SA : #275 BRIAN BARAGWANATH / #286 HANNES SAAIJMAN

QUADS : YAMAHA RAPTOR 700

2015 DAKAR RALLY : 9000 KILOMETRES, 14 DAYS

 

TOUGH START TO 2015 DAKAR RALLY FOR SOUTH AFRICA’S QUAD COMPETITORS

The first day of the 2015 Dakar Rally presented South Africa’s two quad competitors, Brian Baragwanath and Hannes Saaijman (Team Rhide SA Yamaha), with a huge scare and a massive learning curve when mechanical issues resulted in them dropping to the back of the field.

 

After successfully completing documentation and scrutineering before their first ‘Dakar’ attempt in Buenos Aires (South America), Baragwanath (26) and Saaijman (32) tackled the first day’s 838 kilometres of the 2015 Dakar Rally on Sunday (4 January). Baragwanath experienced engine problems during the 175 kilometre racing stage and his team-mate (Saaijman) towed him to the end of the racing stage as well as another 518 kilometres to the overnight bivouac where the crew set out to replace the Yamaha Raptor 700 engine.

 

The crew (Baragwanath’s father, Clive and two young and experienced technicians from Namibia, Philipie Baard who is also a former South African National Off-road Quad Champion and Frank Steyn) did also not have time to ease into their first Dakar Rally experience as they worked late into the night to attend to both quads.

 

It might not have been an easy start for Team Rhide SA (the name Rhide is derived from ‘rhino’ as the team races to create awareness for the plight of the rhino), but the team showed from the start of this gigantic 37th Dakar Rally that they are standing together and working as a team in support of South Africa’s first quad team who is attempting the race for the first time in a decade.

 

Stage two (Monday, 5 January) will present another challenge for Team Rhide SA’s Baragwanath and Saaijman who will tackle the longest stage of the race – a massive 518 kilometre racing stage with 107 kilometres of ‘connection’ sections (26 kilometres to get to the start of the stage and 81 kilometres to get to the overnight bivouac after they have completed the stage). This means another 625 kilometres for the two national off-road quad champions before their overnight stop at San Juan tonight.

 

Today’s stage is being described by the organisers (ASO) as a stage where varied conditions can unsettle even the most experienced riders. Competitors can expect hard terrain at the start of the race that will be followed by dusty sections – not ideal for Baragwanath and Saaijman who will be starting towards the back of the field of 45 quads – in the middle of the day and a sandy stretch to finish. ‘This is the first real test which can only be successfully overcome through constant vigilance,’ according to www.dakar.com

 

Follow Team Rhide SA’S progress on Facebook (Team Rhide SA) and Twitter (@TeamrhideSA) / teamrhidesa.com

 

 

BRIAN BARAGWANATH (26)

From: Polokwane (lives in Pretoria)

Occupation: Director at BB Motorsport

Racing experience: 15 years

Major achievements:

2014: Won all 6 rounds of the National Off-road Quad Championship;

Won the quad category overall;

Won Q1 Class Champion title

Finished 3rd overall at Namaqua African Rally;

Won Dakar Challenge at Botswana 1000

2013: Won Botswana Desert Race National Off-road

2010: 13th in AMA ATVA Nationals (USA)

2008: National Off-road Quad Champion

HANNES SAAIJMAN (32)

From: Centurion, Pretoria

Occupation: Business Owner (EMD Racing and Insane DirtParts)

Racing experience: 18 years

 

Major achievements:

2014:

Won National Q2 Off-road Class

Finished 3rd overall (quad category)

2012:

2nd overall in Desert Race (Botswana)

 

 

 

2015 DAKAR RALLY

        The 37th Dakar Rally: Three countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile) – fourteen days – 9 000 kilometres...

        Start: 4 January 2015 at Buenos Aires (Argentina)

        Finish: 17 January 2015 at Buenos Aires (Argentina)

        Total quads: 45

        Race number Brian Baragwanath: #275

        Race number Hannes Saaijman: #286

 

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07 January 2015

 

TEAM RHIDE SA AT DAKAR RALLY 2015 – NEWS SO FAR...

Summary : Brian Baragwanath suffered engine problems on Stage 1 and Hannes Saaijman towed him for more than 700 kilometres. After an engine change, Brian was flying on Stage 2 posting times between the front runners, but was forced to withdraw after struggling with two rear flat tyres and no spares and no way to move forward...
Hannes is soldiering on and is now 19th overall in the quad category after completing four stages. He is also leading the First Timers Class.
Rest day is Saturday, 10 January.

HANGING IN THERE - HANNES SAAIJMAN STAGE 4
After riding his quad for 594km from Argentina to Chile on the tar road and giving his supporters a fright by initially not appearing on the results (must be the website and/or tracking system), Team Rhide SA's race his Yamaha Raptor 700 for 5hours 55 minutes to complete Stage 4 in the 22nd position in the QUAD category - despite having four flat tyres!
He has now moved into the top 20 and is 19th overall, but wait, that's not all: Hannes is leading the category for First Timers!
Well done Hannes - and the crew at #Dakar2015 AND the supporters/families at home...

STAGE 3 (6 Jan)
Despite Team Rhide SA's Brian Baragwanath now unfortunately out of the#Dakar2015 due to rear tyre problems during Stage 2 (yesterday), Hannes Saaijman is going full steam ahead.
Saaijman was 20th after Stage 2 and is now shown as 20th on the overall standings in the Quad Category, 2:33,23 behind the leader. He also struggled with 2x flat tyres, but had a spare front wheel and could use the wheel at the rear with a specially designed adapter plate.
TODAY: 282km Liaison / 220km Special / 155km Liaison (total: 657km)
The pressure which competitors faced the day before, (and late into the night for some of them) will partly ease off on the road to Chilecito.
The shorter and less intense stage will allow them to enjoy their majestic surroundings. The red earth tracks, overlooking steep peaks and plunging down into canyons, will take the Dakar through one of the most beautiful regions of Argentina.
But no-one should be tempted to sit back and enjoy the view, particularly on the motorcycle and quad bike routes which include some gruelling sections. With thousands of stones to be avoided, it will only take one to ruin this magnificent day!

THIS is how it happened - message from Brian Baragwanath:
"Thx guys. Hannes was there to support with the spare. Just after I checked the tire for major damage I told Hannes to go ahead. 2 sec later a sidewall cut burst open and revealed itself just too late for me to call him again. Good lessons learnt. All is looking great with Hannes - hopefully all the gremlins are out! Thx every one for the support"

From South America...
Here is a photo of Willem/Hannes donating some gasoline to Mauro Almeida in front of our tent the middle of the dunes in San Juan in stage 2. Earlier in the day he was seen towing another quad in Cordoba. I am sorry we could not return the hose because we stayed in the dunes until very late; do not forget to replace it!

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08 January 2015

 

SOUTH AFRICA’S HANNES SAAIJMAN IS STEADILY MOVING UP IN QUAD CLASS AT DAKAR RALLY

 

After racing for almost a week and completing just over 4 400 kilometres, South Africa’s off-road quad rider, Hannes Saaijman (Team Rhide SA), has reached the Rest Day of the 2015 Dakar Rally at Iquique in Chile in South America. The 37th Dakar Rally started on 4 January at Buenos Aires (Argentina) and will finish there on 17 January after motorcycle and quad competitors have had completed a total of just over 9 500 kilometres through the toughest terrains in the world.

 

Team Rhide SA’s debut Dakar Rally did not start too well for Saaijman and his team-mate, Brian Baragwanath, with Baragwanath, who won his entry into the 2015 event by winning the 2014 Dakar Challenge event in Botswana, experiencing engine problems during the very first day. This meant that Saaijman had to tow him for 620 kilometres – 100 kilometres in the special racing stage and more than 500 kilometres on the road to the overnight bivouac where the service crew changed the engine on Baragwanath’s Yamaha Raptor. Both riders lost a lot of time and dropped down the starting order of a field of about 200 motorcycle and quad competitors.

 

They pushed hard to make up for lost time and Baragwanath was posting times on par with those of the top three fastest quad competitors at the first few waypoints. Both riders were slowed down by flat rear tyres. Baragwanath did his best racing with two flat rear tyres at one stage, but he was eventually forced to call it a day after he could not get over the dunes. Saaijman was carrying a spare tyre and had to make use it after he also had four flat wheels. He completed the day’s tough 685 kilometres.

 

Like Saaijman, who owns EMD Racing in Centurion, Baragwanath also runs his own workshop (BB Motorsport) in Centurion and he immediately became part of the back-up crew to support Saaijman for the rest of the race. Saaijman tackled the third stage and admitted that he was trying to make up lost time. This resulted in him again getting flat tyres, but he reached the finish to keep his 21st place overall.

 

At Stage Four, Saaijman was running in the second half of the quad field (33 of the 45 quad competitors who started the race, had reached Day Four), but he was leading the First Timers Class and he is still in the lead in this category.

 

Saaijman, who competed in 34 races during 2014 including two weeklong rally-raid events (the Namaqua African Rally and the Amageza Rally – he did this event on a motorcycle) as well as the Roof of Africa which he completed on his motorcycle, decided to change his strategy.

“The terrain is extremely rough and the dust is very, very bad,” he said from the Iquique bivouac in Chile. “The Dakar is not like racing anything we know back in South Africa and you have to approach it differently. That is what I decided to do,” the tough 32-year old Pretoria businessman said.

 

His strategy seemed to pay off as he finished Stage Four, the first stage in Chile, in 22nd place (he lost time due to electrical problems caused by the kill-switch wire that chafed through. He was now placed 19th in the quad category.

Early morning starts and long hours in the saddle did not hold him back and he posted the 13th fastest time of the quads after Stage Five’s 458 kilometres to move up to 16th place in this class.

Stage Six was the last stage before the Rest Day at Iquique in Chile and riders had to travel 322 kilometres on their motorcycles and quads to get to the start of the 318 kilometre special stage where a 50 kilometre dune section again formed part of the stage. “Stage Six was fast and rough,” Saaijman said afterwards. “At some places over the pans you could not hold on to the handlebars. It was also extremely dusty and the fesh-fesh* got into everything. My quad died again and I lost time looking for the problem. It was the ignition switch that was damaged by the dust,” he explained.

 

He still managed to post the ninth fastest time and this pushed him to the 11th place on the overall standings. At the Rest Day almost half the field has been eliminated and only 24 quads are still in the running. The Polish rider and former winner, Rafal Sonik, leads the quad category on his Yamaha Raptor.

 

During the Rest Day, Saaijman and his crew decided not to change engines as he was still satisfied with the quality of the current engine. They changed the axle (it was bent during the last stage); did an oil change and also replaced the chain and sprockets while they put new axle bearings, front hub bearings and seals on the Raptor.

 

The next two days will be a major test for Saaijman and the rest of the motorcycle and quad competitors as they will cross the border to Bolivia to tackle the **Marathon Stage. According to the race organisers, numerous difficulties will mark the first part of the Bolivian marathon stage. The long liaison section (396 kilometres) will mean an early start and will be followed by a gradual climb to a height of more than 3 500m. Once on the high plateau, the special stage will begin with instructions to follow the road book with great care in light of the large number of junctions on the route. One of the challenges of the day could be wear and tear on tyres. Once riders have arrived in Uyuni, the competitors will only have completed half the marathon stage.

 

There will be no service crews at the end of today’s seventh stage (Sunday, 11 January) and each rider will have to service and prepare his quad with the tools and parts he has with him. Working and preparing his own quad will be nothing new to Saaijman is usually his own ‘mechanic’ when racing in South Africa. He will be carrying a spare front wheel (this wheel can be used at the rear with a special adaptor) as well as a spare filter and the necessary tools to make sure his Yamaha Raptor is race-ready again for tomorrow.

 

Competitors will still have to do just over 5 100 kilometres in total of which about 3 000 kilometres will be special racing stages.

 

*Fesh-fesh: Very fine, powdery dust that gets into everything and blocks your vision if you are behind another competitor

**Marathon Stage: No service crew or back-up at the end of the stage and riders have to prepare their motorcycles and quads with the equipment, tools and parts they have with them.

 

Follow Team Rhide SA’S progress on Facebook (Team Rhide SA) and Twitter (@TeamrhideSA) / teamrhidesa.com

 

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17 January 2015

 

TEAM RHIDE SA:  CLASS VICTORY, A STAGE WIN AND TOP 10 RESULT FOR TEAM RHIDE SA AT DAKAR RALLY

 

South Africa’s Team Rhide SA, who made their debut in the quad category of the 2015 Dakar Rally, claimed exceptional results with Hannes Saaijman winning the First Timers Class and finishing in the top ten (quads) while he was also the only South African competitor to win a stage!

 

The team consisted of two of South Africa’s most experienced off-road quad champions, Brian Baragwanath and Hannes Saaijman, who tackled the Dakar Rally as Team Rhide SA, a name that was derived from the word ‘rhino’ as the team competed to create awareness for the plight of the rhino. At the Dakar Rally, the team had to deal with an early disappointment when Baragwanath experienced engine problems during the first day (Saaijman towed him for 620 kilometres to the overnight bivouac) and had to call it a day during the second stage with two flat rear tyres that later disintegrated.

 

Saaijman (32), who broke his right hand 10 days before the start of the Dakar Rally, soldiered on despite also experiencing numerous flat tyres (he carried a spare wheel on his quad) and other mechanical problems caused by the long hours of racing and riding under extremely tough conditions. The Pretoria businessman reached his goal to finish the Dakar Rally and completed more than 9 000 kilometres during the two weeks with his Yamaha Raptor 700.

He finished ninth in the quad category (45 quads started the race and 18 made it to the finish) while he won the First Timers Class. He was also the only South African competitor (a total of 10 South African competitors started the Dakar Rally on January 4th in the quads, motorcycle, car and truck categories) to win a stage when he claimed the stage victory in the quad category on the final day in extremely muddy conditions.

 

“The Dakar is not a race,” Saaijman said afterwards. “It is survival! The terrain is extremely rough and the dust is very, very bad,” he said at the halfway mark in Chile. “It is not like any race we know in South Africa and you have to approach it differently. That is what I decided to do after starting the race a bit too fast and making mistakes,” he explained.

 

The team entered the Dakar Rally with the aim to finish the race and win it. They admitted that although they were quite well prepared for a ‘rookie’ team attending this huge race for the first time and doing so with an extremely limited budget, they still learnt a lot.

 

Team Rhide SA has made a name for themselves at their first ‘Dakar’ and will return to South Africa on Wednesday with a class victory and a stage win as well as a top ten result in the bag.

 

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