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Dakar 2009: Day 11-Honda Motorcycles Report

14
January
2009
  Posted at 08:42:04 AM
  File under  Dakar Race Honda
  Author: Honda Press Release
  Location: Normandy, France

Dakar 2009 logo
Honda logo
Waypoint 32: troublemaker!

A thick fog this morning caused the start to be delayed for almost 3 hours. Only when the helicopters were able to take off, the start was given free. All that time the bikers were waiting at the start. The stage was very fast. Fast mountain tracks which could be ridden full throttle. After the last fuel stop the route changed to sand dunes. 70 tough kilometers long. Just before the finish there was a waypoint which wasn’t mentioned in the roadbook. To find it you really had to get off the route. A number of competitors noticed it in time and turned back. To get to the waypoint, you had to go over a really big dune with big rocks, which was quite a challenge. A number of competitors found out at the finish, but wasn’t allowed by the organization to turn back. It’s not allowed (and not very smart) to ride back in the wrong direction into the traffic, especially with the risk of racecars coming your way.

Big question now is what is going to happen. Who missed the waypoint, and who didn’t? Possibly also the Volkswagens have missed it. A missed waypoint means a penalty of 4 hours! So this incident could have big consequences for the overall ranking. But what if so many missed the waypoint, and the roadbook wasn’t correct, what then? A smaller penalty? No penalty at all?

Dakar 2009 Mirjam Pol
Mirjam Pol       © Honda

For Mirjam Pol (48th in the special, 46th overall) there’s a lot at stake. She has a 3.23 hour lead over Annie Seel. Mirjam missed the waypoint, contrary to Seel. If Mirjam get’s the full penalty, it would turn things upside down. Pol: "This can’t be true. We arrived with three at the finish, independent from each other. Not one of us had the waypoint. With all the alterations in the roadbook this must be a mistake. I rode fast today; I came in before Anne Seel did. (Pol was 12 minutes faster) This special suited me. The dunes were good to ride. High though, but not difficult. "

Dakar 2009 Jurgen van den Goorbergh
Jurgen van den Goorbergh       © Honda

Jurgen van den Goorbergh (21st in the special, 24th overall) was riding in 14th position for a while today, he keeps improving himself. Van den Goorbergh: "It were high speed tracks today. I was continuously in 4th and 5th gear. The delay at the start was not good for me; I was getting hungry at the end. Just before the 2nd fuel stop, the bike started to hold back. No fuel! By blowing into the fuel tank, riding downhill, I was able to make it to the fuel stop using the last fume of fuel. I had the finish in sight, when I noticed I missed a waypoint. I turned and ‘plop’, the arrow on my gps appeared! We had to go up a big dune. Full throttle in second gear I managed to get to the top, the bike really had to work for it. All in all it took me an extra 10 minutes, but I’m happy I got the waypoint. Not bad for a newcomer, right?"

Mick Extance has been fighting all rally to make it into the top 20. And from today he is 20st overall. But for how long, as he missed the waypoint. Mick: "The special was doable. My roadbook holder broke, I got lost too many times. I followed Frenchman Bethys, but noticed right away he didn’t know where he was going either. After the fuelstop it was 70 km of hard dunes. Great to ride, I caught up with a number of riders. Now I can only hope I will not get the penalty."

Dakar 2009 Christopher Jarmuz
Christopher Jarmuz       © Honda

Christopher Jarmuz was very pleased about the fact he had found waypoint no.32. Off course he does hope everybody who didn’t find it will be penalized, because that would mean he can move some places forward. Jarmuz: "It took me 20 to 30 minutes to make it to the waypoint. My hands were a bit sore today. The last 20 km in the dunes I had to zigzag my way to the top."

Tomorrow is the first day of the marathonstage. That means there’s no assistance for the riders. A box and a set of wheels transported by the organization is all they get. Because many cars and trucks still have to come out of the special, the stage of tomorrow is cancelled! The riders just have liaison to do. The rally returns back to Argentina tomorrow. The special was to be ridden in Chili. With so many people still in trouble, the risk for the organization that again competitors will be very late tomorrow is too big. That could cause many problems at the border crossing.

Dakar 2009 Bivouac
Bivouac       © Honda

Teammanager Henk Hellegers: "With this loop around Copiapio many teams thought they were able to do a last good service before the marathonstage. I already saw it coming. This hard (and delayed) special will make good service impossible for many teams. This means the marathonstage in fact already has begun. I’m please our riders were in the bivouac in time, everybody can start with a fresh serviced bike."

At this moment it’s a bit uncertain what will happen. Rumors are the stage of today will be cancelled from checkpoint 7, which means no missed waypoint 32 and no penalties. Who is going out tonight? The answers will follow tomorrow. All the service trucks and cars go directly to La Rioja. The competitors have their own bivouac, in Fiambala. They will come to La Rioja the day after tomorrow. From there it’s only two more days to Buenos Aires…..

Via: Honda Dakar



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