Dakar Rally


Finishing in 4th place, it turns out that Yamaha’s end to the 2022 Dakar Rally was disappointing in more than one way, as the Japanese brand has made it clear that this year’s edition of the iconic off-road race will be its last as a factory two-wheeled effort.

Announcing that it will cease its Dakar Rally and other rally-raid motorcycle racing programs in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, Yamaha is effectively ending a 40-year involvement of racing motorcycles in the Dakar Rally.

Episode 260 of the Paddock Pass Podcast is out, and this one is a special show as we gear up for the 2022 MotoGP Championship season.

On the mics, we have David Emmett, Neil Morrison, and Adam Wheeler, and they are joined by a special guest, ex-MotoGP rider Danilo Petrucci.

The Italian called into the show while driving, so we apologize for the connection, which drops in quality from time to time, but we think you will find what he has to say to be very interesting.

Sam Sunderland can call himself a two-time Dakar Rally winner after today’s final stage of the iconic race.

The Brit finished third in Friday’s Stage 12 timed section, which was enough to clear him by almost four-minutes from his next competitor, Pablo Quintanilla.

The day marks a bit of history as well, as Sunderland’s result gives GasGas its first Dakar Rally, though the machine is largely a rebadged KTM 450 Rally motorcycle. For those who are unaware, GasGas became part of KTM’s business group in 2019.

Toby Price, you are a damn legend. Anyone who wins a Dakar Rally is truly worthy of such praise, but this year Price really earned the mantle.

After a rest day on Saturday, Sunday’s Stage 7 was always going to be a tough one, as it is what the Dakar Rally calls a “marathon” stage.

On top of the usual difficulty one finds racing in The Dakar, competitors are left at the end of the day to fix their own machines – their mechanics cannot help them. 

Today marks Stage 2 of the 2021 Dakar Rally, which means that the field is starting to separate a bit through the timed special stages. The day was a fruitful expedition for the Honda boys, with Joan Barreda leading the pack, with Ricky Brabec in close pursuit. 

That’s good news for HRC, as the Japanese brand hopes to defend its historic #1 plate from last year, which Brabec won by upsetting KTM’s 18-year winning streak at the iconic rally-raid.

Helping Brabec & Co. challenge for victory is the 2021 Honda CRF450 Rally – an off-road racing platform that has evolved over multiple years of development into a proper dirt bike weapon.

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.