Monday, 23 December 2013

Dakar fever

The Dakar 2014 is nearly here! All the drama of arguably the biggest off-road race in the world is almost upon us, and as usual, I can't wait.

We've got some talented British riders in the entry again this year they'll do us proud. Good luck to Sam Sunderland, Paul Jay, Jamie Smith and any other Brits.

I suppose the question most people are asking is how competitive is Cyril Despres going to be on his new Yamaha? He'll be on form, you can be sure of that, but KTM and Honda HRC have been busy recruiting too and they have some big names in their line-ups.

KTM: Marc Coma, Jordi Viladoms, Chaleco Lopez, Ruben Faria, David Casteu
Yamaha: Cyril Despres, Olivier Pain, Frans Verhoeven
Honda HRC: Joan Barreda Bort, Helder Rodrigues, Paulo Goncalves, Javier Pizzolito, Sam Sunderland

No doubt Coma and Despres will spend most of their time in each other's pockets out at the front, but they'll need to be on their toes. Faria, Lopez, Sunderland and Casteu are all very consistent (not that the others aren't of course) and Barreda Bort is a speed merchant!

My prediction (and hope) is that Sam Sunderland makes the podium, he won the Merzouga Rally in Morocco this year and has been looking right at home on his new Honda.

It's all very exciting, not to mention all the other classes - Quads, Cars and Trucks. Will Mr Dakar - St├ęphane Peterhansel add yet another win to his (bike and car) haul in the car category, will the Patronelli brothers continue their dominance of the Quad category, and will de Rooy be able to return to the top step in the Truck category?

Who knows, but bring on the 5th of January!

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