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Paolo Goncalves at the 2017 Baja Inka Paracas 1000

HRC triumph in Peru as Van Beveren also catches up

Sep 192017

Monster Energy HRC continue to roam the corners of South America at speed and racked-up another competition accolade last week with Paulo Gonçalves celebrating success in the Baja Inka Paracas 1000 and Yamaha’s Adrien Van Beveren filling the second step of the podium ahead of another HRC athlete, Desafio Ruta 40 winner Kevin Benavides.

The four-day 1000km trek through Peru and across large expanses of desert terrain and dunes was an important test event with a view towards the 2018 Dakar Rally; now just over three months away. After the heat of racing mileage in Argentina, Nevada and Chile, HRC elected to use the (mostly) sandy element of the Baja Inka Paracas 1000 to further work on the CRF450 Rally and their navigation skills and found willing participants in Gonçalves, Benavides and Michael Metge.

“In this race, the priority was to get used to the desert here in Peru, to get some mileage under the belt and have a good rally,” Gonçalves said. “It all turned out pretty well, I felt very comfortable throughout the race, and I always had options to win the rally. It has been a tough test in terms of riding, with 800 kilometres of timed stages and with more than 700 km of dunes. The Honda CRF450 RALLY performed extremely well.”

Benavides grabbed two stage wins and Gonçalves claimed the last: his consistency pulling him to the top of the standings. The veteran narrowly beat Yamaha’s Adrien Van Beveren. The youngster is on the path back to full confidence and race fitness after his recent injury problems and the Frenchman’s sand acumen saw him running at the front of the Peru affair and snaring a second stage win.

“A small mistake in the special stage saw me ride an extra 800 metres to find the correct route and I think that must have cost me almost 40 seconds,” he said. “Without that mistake, the overall win would be ours. As an athlete, I might always be pushing for the win, but a closer look at my performance here in Peru shows that we've made some big progress. My speed is good now and I can also navigate the hardest off-piste and dunes tracks. I'm really happy we decided to come here in Peru and race this event.”


In three weeks time Gonçalves will attempt to place his hands on the 2017 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship with the final round of five taking place across the diverse Moroccan landscape. The Portuguese is currently second in the standings. All thoughts will then turn to Dakar.