In case you haven’t been following every day of the Dakar Rally – held this year for the first time in Saudi Arabia – you might want to keep your eyes on this iconic off-road racing tonight/tomorrow.
This is because American rider Ricky Brabec is on the verge of winning The Dakar, as he holds nearly a 14-minute lead over his next-closest competitor, Pablo Quintanilla.
A win from Brabec would be a huge disruption to the order of things, for several reasons.
For starters, an American has never won the Dakar Rally (aside from Toby Price, only European riders have won this difficult race).
Secondly, Ricky Brabec is racing for the Monster Energy Honda Team – the factory squad from the Japanese manufacturer. The last time Honda won at Dakar was in 1989, after a streak of winning five editions of the Dakar Rally throughout the 1980s.
But, the real headline tomorrow could be Brabec ending an 18-year winning streak by KTM, as the Austrian brand has dominated the modern running of the Dakar Rally, both in Africa and in South America.
As you can see on a number of levels, a win from Ricky Brabec would certainly mark a moment in time for the Dakar Rally, for Honda, and for Brabec – who would be catapulted into Dakar history and rally raid rankings.
Before we take the champagne off ice though, Brabec still has Stage 12 of the Dakar Rally to contend with, and it offers just over 100 miles of timed course, and as loyal fans of the Dakar Rally can tell you, anything can happen in this race.
Brabec surely knows this fact all too well, as the Honda rider saw his lead cut in half during today’s racing, as Stage 11 offered a grueling 235 miles of timed course, which overall second-place rider Pablo Quintanilla won in dominant form.
“There’s one stage left. The team is working well. I’m pretty excited. I can’t get my hopes up right now,” said Ricky Brabec in a team press release. “Stage 11 here in the dunes was pretty tough.”
“Starting up front due to the cancellation of the second part. So it was really hard to judge the time. Tomorrow there is one stage left and I’m in a good starting position. I’m confident to be focused and make it to the finish line.”
Of note, Ricky Brabec has led the 2020 Dakar Rally since Stage 3. We wish America’s son the best of luck on Friday’s stage between Haradh and Qiddiya.
Overall Results from the 2020 Dakar Rally thru Stage 11:
|1||BRABEC Ricky||9||USA||Monster Energy Honda Team||38:33’28|
|2||QUINTANILLA Pablo||5||CHI||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||+13’56|
|3||PRICE Toby||1||AUS||KTM Factory Racing Team||+22’34|
|4||WALKNER Matthias||2||AUT||KTM Factory Racing Team||+29’53|
|5||BARREDA Joan||12||SPA||Monster Energy Honda Team||+30’09|
|6||CORNEJO José Ignacio||17||CHI||Monster Energy Honda Team||+32’36|
|7||BENAVIDES Luciano||16||ARG||KTM Factory Racing Team||+35’18|
|8||CAIMI Franco||22||ARG||Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team||+01:39’14|
|9||HOWES Skyler||59||USA||Klymciw Racing||+01:59’29|
|10||SHORT Andrew||6||USA||Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing||+02:06’36|
Source: ASO; Photo: HRC