Hero and TVS have a solid Dakar run-up

Both In­dian out­fits have solid per­for­mances at the 2017 PanAfrica and OiLibya ral­lies

Evo India - - REPORT -

THE OILIBYA RALLY OF Morocco just con­cluded with the last leg held on Oc­to­ber 10. Matthias Walkner from the KTM Fac­tory team fin­ished first, fol­lowed by Kevin Be­na­vides and Ricky Brabec from the Honda fac­tory team trail­ing be­hind. Three months ahead of the gru­elling Dakar Rally, the OiLibya Rally of Morocco is the last round of the FIM Cross Coun­try Rally World Cham­pi­onship and is one of the tough­est ral­lies in the world. Ear­lier a part of the Paris-Dakar rally, the Oilibya Rally is now an in­de­pen­dent rally com­prised of some of the tough­est rid­ing ter­rain and in­hos­pitable weather in the world. The Oilibya Rally has been re­garded for a while now as some­thing syn­ony­mous to a rite of pas­sage to the Rally Dakar.

The two In­dian fac­tory teams Sherco TVS and Hero Mo­toS­ports fin­ished strongly at the PanAfrica Rally. Joan Pe­drero won the rally, hand­ing the team their first win aboard the RTR 450. Pe­drero had to ride hard as the chal­lenge came from team­mate Adrien Metge and Hero’s Joaquim Ro­drigues. J-Rod was lead­ing dur­ing the ini­tial stages. How­ever, a me­chan­i­cal is­sue dropped him down the or­der, mak­ing it a straight bat­tle for the win be­tween the Sherco TVS rid­ers. Metge ul­ti­mately fin­ished 3 min­utes 30 sec­onds be­hind Pe­drero. J-Rod fin­ished seventh, an­other top 10 per­for­mance from the Hero rider.

C S San­tosh’s re­cov­ery to full strength is on the right path as he fin­ished the gru­elling rally, two spots be­hind team­mate Ro­drigues. San­tosh, who had suf­fered a back in­jury at the 2017 Desert Storm, is feel­ing bet­ter on the new ver­sion of the Speed­brain 450.

Aravind K P ended the rally in twelfth po­si­tion. He was able to se­cure such a high fin­ish de­spite in­cur­ring a 35-minute time penalty on the fourth stage. Aravind has been un­der­go­ing ex­ten­sive train­ing ses­sions on rally rid­ing and is on a gru­elling phys­i­cal fit­ness regime to be ready for his sec­ond Dakar at­tempt.

Hero gave Spa­niard Oriol Mena a ride for the rally. Mena comes from a back­ground of mo­tocross rac­ing and the event was his maiden rally. Con­sid­er­ing that, he per­formed well – com­ing home in 30th po­si­tion. Hope­fully, he should get more sad­dle time be­tween now and Dakar to be in a bet­ter po­si­tion to tackle the tough­est rally on the planet.

Mov­ing on to the OiLibya rally, the first three stages of the rally were in­cred­i­bly tricky, with high speed rac­ing on treach­er­ous ter­rain. The first stage of the rally was 270 kilo­me­tres long and the sec­ond stage was 350 kilo­me­tres. The first stage of the OiLibya Rally Morocco proved to be an ex­tremely tough chal­lenge for the rid­ers on their way from Fez to Er­foud as they dealt with a rocky route in­clud­ing val­leys, stony sec­tions and river beds. The long­est spe­cial stage of the race also promised to of­fer a highly com­pli­cated track due to heavy amounts of rain. In the end the pro­ceed­ings had to be cut

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