The 2014 Dakar Rally is finally done, after two weeks of hard racing across Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile. Despite a slow start to this year’s Dakar, KTM’s Marc Coma took his fourth career win of the iconic rally raid race, aboard KTM’s all new KTM 450 Rally race bike.
Finishing almost two hours clear of his nearest competitor, teammate Jordi Viladoms, Coma took the lead on Stage Five and never looked back. The Spaniard’s fourth Dakar win came primarily from consistent riding, which saw Coma slowly rise in the rankings as Despres and Barreda made mistakes and encountered technical difficulties with their machinery.
“Without the right people behind me it would have been impossible to win,” said Coma. “We have worked very well throughout the race and also before. Last year I went through a very difficult situation not being able to compete because of injury and I came back to win the race. I think this says a lot about the people I have around me. I am very proud of this victory. What was key to winning the Dakar was not to make any mistakes.”
Marc Coma dedicated his win to his late teammate Kurt Caselli, who tragically died during the 2013 SCORE Baja 1000. Caselli filled in for Coma in the 2013 rally, earning himself great praise for his assention in the ranks, and two stage wins. Coma’s victory is a fitting tribute to the American rider.
For Cyril Despres, the Frenchman has to be wondering about the mistakes he made on Stage Four and Stage Five, which saw the factory Yamaha rider first encounter an electrical short, and cost him 40 minutes in time.
The very next day, Despres wasted 45 minutes look for a waypoint, and upon realizing he was low on fuel, had to abandon his pursuit, and take a one-hour penalty. Without those mistakes Despres surely would have been on the podium, and could very well have found himself his sixth Dakar Rally victory.
Also a victim to the grueling race that is The Dakar, HRC’s Joan Barreda found himself out of podium contention when his Honda CRF450 Rally suffered an electrical issue on Stage Twelve. Barreda won five of the stages in the 2014 Dakar Rally, and right away was a favorite to win the rally.
Both riders can take solace in the fact that their efforts proved that Yamaha and Honda can compete against KTM in the Dakar Rally. The Austrian company took its 13th consecutive win in this year’s Dakar, though with the defection of Despres, the rise of Barreda, and the increased competitiveness amongst the other OEMs has made predicting next year’s rally very difficult.
With the car class mired in a horrible affair of team orders, it is great to see the motorcycle class providing great racing for Dakar fans.
A&R would also like to give a special shout-outs to Laia Sanz, for being the fastest girl in the 2014 Dakar Rally, as she finished 16th overall on her KTM, and to Mike Johnson, the sole American competitor in the 2014 Dakar Rally, who finished 74th on his Honda.
Final Results of the Motorcycle Class for the 2014 Dakar Rally:
|25||GUASCH||ESP||GAS – GAS||65:37:12||10:46:19||00:01:00|
|36||OLIVERAS CARRERAS||ESP||GAS – GAS||69:35:14||14:44:21||01:00:00|
|59||DEL ZOTTO||ARG||GAS – GAS||80:57:11||26:06:18||02:15:00|
|70||PUERTAS HERRERA||ESP||GAS – GAS||91:26:57||36:36:04||03:00:00|
|72||BATALLA||ESP||GAS – GAS||91:44:32||36:53:39||03:00:00|
|73||CID DE LA PAZ||ARG||YAMAHA||91:51:46||37:00:53||03:55:00|
Source: Dakar; Photos: © 2014 Maragni M. / KTM Images — All Rights Reserved