Dakar 2007: Honda Press Release 06Jan
File under Dakar Race Honda
Author: Honda Press Release
Location: Normandy, France
Dakar Rally 2007 Stage 1: January 6th, Lisbon - Portimão
Liaison : 115 km - Special : 120 km - Liaison : 260 km
Total : 495 km
THIERRY BETHYS IN HIS ELEMENT !
This morning, the competitors left Lisbon after crossing the podium and reached the start of the opening stage after a 115km liaison section.
Crowds of spectators woke early this morning and turned out in large numbers to witness the action. They were out in force all along the route of the special stage to see the competitors in the 29th Dakar Rally.
The first special stage followed a sandy track and wound its way through the pine trees. It was an ideal opener for Thierry Bethys, three-time winner of the Le Touquet enduro race. He was classified third in the 450 cc class and fifth in the overall motorcycle category after the section.
Team Honda Europe riders reached the assistance park, situated by the side of the sea in Portimao, and used the time to make any vital adjustments and repairs to their bikes before they were required to enter Parc Ferme.
THIERRY BETHYS (FRANCE) N°85 : «It was superb! I like the sand and it suits me. Except for two times, when I left the track, I was able to ride quickly. I just missed the corner, but riding was really a pleasure for me ! My Honda 450 CRFX was perfect ! »
HENK KNUIMAN (BELGIUM) N°11 : « Not bad for a first special. It was a good sandy track, like Holland or the north of Belgium. I like a lot the bike, which develops power in all the rev range. I made one small error in braking behind a driver and I had a small accident, but nothing too serious and I am very happy with my ride on the bike.»
MICK EXTANCE (ENGLAND) N°29 : «This is it. We are on the Dakar. Trying to overtake a competitor, I had a small crash, but nothing too serious. I was amused by all the sandy tracks ! »
PAULO CONCALVEZ (PORTUGAL) N°33 : « I fell at the start of the special stage and I have some pain in the neck and the head. I continued slowly to finish the stage, but it was a bad stage for me. »
FRANCISCO ‘CHALECO’ LOPEZ
FRANCISCO ‘CHALECO’ LOPEZ (CHILE) N°34 : « There was a lot of sand in this first stage on the track and the surface was very slippery. I rode cautiously in my Dakar rhythm. I did not want to take any pointless risks because the route to Dakar is long. The bike is perfect and from a navigation point of view there is nothing to say. »
TEUS VISSER (HOLLAND) N°82 : « I was amused in the sand. It was really difficult. This is my first Dakar and I have to remain calm. That is not easy because several riders overtook me. I was guarding my self-discipline and not running too fast. »
GREGOIRE BLONDEL (FRANCE) N°83 : « I am from Picardie and, so, the sandy terrain suited me perfectly. It was beautiful, a superb passage of 110 km in the sand and I am very happy ! »
EVERT KROON (HOLLAND) N° 208 : « Everything is under control. It was a good start, the bike is perfect and there was only one small problem with a lack of fuel at the finish, because I rode too quickly. »
THOMAS DE BOIS
THOMAS DE BOIS (HOLLAND) N°173 : « It was a very sandy stage and very heavy, but not too difficult on the bike. I rode cautiously because this race lasts for 15 days and I already saw many riders stopped or not running well… »
ERIC PALANTE (BELGIUM) N°122 : « It was very hard, a good start this morning. I was not expecting a difficult stage on the first day. It was muscular… ! »
ALLAN ROBBIE (SCOTLAND) N°129 : “ It is the hardest day of my life but I am here… ! »
450CC CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE ONE : (PROVISIONAL)
1.FARIA (POR) YAMAHA 1h22’07
2.RODRIGUES (POR) YAMAHA 1h22’23
3. BETHYS (FRA) HONDA 1h27’17
6. KNUIMAN (HOL) HONDA 1h30’42
17. EXTANCE (UK) HONDA 1h37’19
19. CONCALVEZ (POR) HONDA 1h37’46
20. LOPEZ (CHILE) HONDA 1h38’13
25.VISSER (HOL) HONDA 1h 41’41
35.BLONDEL (FR) HONDA 1h52’57
37.KROON (HOL) HONDA 1h53’58
46.DE BOIS (HOL) HONDA 1h58’32
54.PALANTE (BEL) HONDA 2h06’07
81.ROBBIE (SCO) HONDA 2h47’32