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Paulo Goncalves at the 2019 Dakar HRC Shoot

Stopwatches primed for Dakar #41!

Jan 082019

In a matter of days the 41st Dakar Rally will soon be thundering across the (mostly) sandy and daunting landscape of Peru for a spectacle that is shorter in length but promising to be more intense than any previous edition of the famous race.

Over 160 motorcycles and quads will set off from Lima on January 6th with the Monster Energy HRC Team and Yamaha stars like Adrien Van Beveren expected to lead the pack and plough though ten days of heart-pumping competition. Apparently ‘70%’ of the chase – that will also include a ‘marathon’ stage and almost 3000km of timed specials where the clock will be harshly felt – takes place in the Peruvian sand: draining, disorientating and bewildering.

HRC are thirsty for the #1 spot. The powerful squad have been close to the top plinth of the podium in the last few incarnations of the Rally; most notably with Spaniard Joan Barreda scoring multiple stage victories and only being restricted by injury, and Argentine Kevin Benavides classifying as runner-up twelve months ago while maturing into a hardcore Dakar favourite. Both are back in red for 2019 and are joined by the experience of Portugal’s Paulo Gonçalves, the force of America’s Ricky Brabec and the raw potential of Chilean Nacho Cornejo.



On the other side of the bivouac Van Beveren is rubbing his hands at the prospect of resuming his Dakar education for just his fourth attempt. The Frenchman was leading the 2018 chase until a vicious and desperately unlucky crash on stage ten of fourteen prematurely curtailed his date with destiny. ‘AVB’ will be another contender in the quest to topple reigning champs KTM.


Combining four wheels and two and the gnarliest racers both male and female, the Dakar is unique, and encapsulates much of what is extreme and captivating about motorsport. And it all starts again in a matter of hours in the depths of South America.