Joan Barreda’s latest scar shows a bumpy, meaty set of lines on his left wrist; a consequence of the surgery carried out in Barcelona a few weeks after the 2018 Dakar Rally. The 34 year old Spaniard and Monster Energy Honda Team rider made it through ten of fourteen stages – around 6000 kilometres at almost full throttle on the HRC machine - before the rigours of the trek and the agony from both the wrist and ripped left knee ligaments forced him gingerly away from the saddle.
Is there something slightly unhinged about Rally racers? They are frequently tackling surfaces and paths and trails used by people, vehicles and animals and then also veer into expanses of unknown, all the while knowing hesitation with their right hand will not cause the same deliberation from a ticking clock. Rally-ers are often hurtling at speed into the abyss, only a scroll of symbols and codes on their dashboard mounted ‘road book’ providing any semblance of guidance or warning.