The route for the 2021 Dakar Rally has been announced, as the iconic race once again traverses the country of Saudi Arabia.
There had been hope that this year would see The Dakar leaving the Saudi Kingdom, but with COVID-19 restrictions, opening borders is not a viable option at this time.
That is okay, because the Arabian country has more than enough terrain to challenge the Dakar competitors, and this year we see roughly 3,000 miles of special timed stages being used.
Awaiting them on the Saudi Arabian course is no shortage of sandy dunes, rocky trails, and mountain slopes.
On Stage 9 there is a rest day, which will be useful since, Stage 10 starts the marathon portion of the race, where the teams will not be able to help the competitors with their maintenance work, as they enter into Stage 11.
In the motorcycle category, all eyes will be on Ricky Brabec and his Honda CRF450 Rally, to see whether the young American can defend his victory from last year, and if Honda can continue to spoil KTM’s dominance in this race.
Of course, the orange bikes hope to correct the wrong from last year, which up-ended an 18-year streak at the Dakar Rally for the Austrian motorcycle manufacturer. With Yamaha and Husqvarna looking strong as well, KTM will have no easy task in that regard.
A quick table of the 2021 Dakar Rally stages are below, but for a full description, you should read the summaries on the Dakar Rally website.
|Stage||Date||Start & Finish||Distance|
|Total | Special|
|P||Saturday, January 2, 2021||Jeddah > Jeddah||11 km | 11 km|
|1||Sunday, January 3, 2021||Jeddah > Bisha||622 km | 277 km|
|2||Monday, January 4, 2021||Bisha > Wadi Al Dawasir||685 km | 457 km|
|3||Tuesday, January 5, 2021||Wadi Al Dawasir > Wadi Al Dawasir||630 km | 403 km|
|4||Wednesday, January 6, 2021||Wadi Al Dawasir > Riyadh||813 km | 337 km|
|5||Thursday, January 7, 2021||Riyadh > Buraydah||625 km | 419 km|
|6||Friday, January 8, 2021||Buraydah > Ha’il||655 km | 485 km|
|REST||Saturday, January 9, 2021||Jeddah|
|7||Sunday, January 10, 2021||Ha’il > Sakaka (marathon)||737 km | 471 km|
|8||Monday, January 11, 2021||Sakaka > Neom||709 km | 375 km|
|9||Tuesday, January 12, 2021||Neom > Neom||579 km | 465 km|
|10||Wednesday, January 13, 2021||Neom > Al-`Ula||583 km | 342 km|
|11||Thursday, January 14, 2021||Al-`Ula > Yanbu||557 km | 511 km|
|12||Friday, January 15, 2021||Yanbu > Jeddah||452 km | 225 km|
Source: Dakar Rally