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Kevin Benavides at the 2017 Atacama Rally

Monster Energy HRC firing strong on two continents

Aug 182017

Dispersed across the two Americas, Monster Energy Honda are again protagonists in two major international rally events: Kevin Benvides and Paolo Goncalves have just finished second and third overall after five hard and gnarly days in Chile for the Atacama Rally and the third round of the 2017 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship and Joan Barreda and Ricky Brabec are poised to gun the CRF450 Rally 860km (540 miles) across the Nevada desert in the Vegas to Reno iconic race; a dash which Catalan Barreda conquered twelve months ago.

While the Dakar star and his American team-mate get ready for the high temperatures in the western United States, their fellow racers are packing up and shipping over to Argentina after a week of tough competition further south.

Benavides was one of the bright lights of the third round of five (the next events involve challenges in Argentina this month and then Libya in October) and the Argentine claimed two of the five stages and headed the standings before the last dash to Iquique on Friday. The 28 year old was one of the pace-setters in a chase that was mired by some adverse weather conditions, an inconsistent roadbook and some sketchy terrain that forced riders to exercise caution with the throttle.


Kevin, who missed the 2017 Dakar due to a broken arm, was still in good form and only lost the top step of the podium to Pablo Quintanilla on the final stage. “I won this fourth stage and it is my second victory so far in this Atacama Rally,” he said on Thursday evening. “Of the 375 kilometres of special, 300 were very, very dangerous but in the final 70 km we went into the dunes in Iquique, before ending up in this beautiful city. I felt great on the bike.”

Elsewhere Yamaha’s Adrien Van Beveren sealed eighth overall in his comeback to top flite rally competition after injury. “Our goal here in Chile has been to improve on navigation and get back up to speed and I'm happy to say we've achieved both. The feeling is good at the moment. The Atacama Rally has been a tough challenge and I'm glad I experienced it."


The Desafio Ruta 40 is the penultimate fixture of the Cross-Country Rallies series and will bring the field together to tackle the diverse topography of Argentina next week…around the time the Vegas/Reno run will be long in the dust.