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Dakar Rally

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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.

The airbag revolution continues in the motorcycle industry, as Alpinestars has just released its Tech-Air Off-Road airbag system to professional rally-raid racers.

Used by Alpinestars-supported riders since 2018, the new consumer-facing version is being offered to all professional racers now, just ahead of the Dakar Rally mandating airbags for all of its entrants.

That the Honda CB650R and its ilk make for excellent custom motorcycles should be an established fact by this point in time. Honda Motor Europe has prove this point extensively with its bevy of customs over the years.

So, it does not surprise us to see that the Japanese brand’s operations on the Iberian peninsula are using the CB as the basis for a custom bike build competition. What does surprise us though are some of the entries, as they are truly unique.

Take for instance this example, dubbed the Honda CB650R Rally. It’s done by Honda Wingmotor in Lisbon, Portugal, and as the name implies, it is a rally raid interpretation of the venerable street bike.

Episode 29 of the Brap Talk podcast is now out for your two-wheeled audio pleasure, and as always, it is packed with some interesting motorcycle discussions.

This show has a bit of racing commentary, as we discuss the 2020 Dakar Rally, which was still taking place at the time of recording, as well as the ongoing saga with Andrea Iannone’s doping problems.

We also give some discussion to the pricing for the Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP, which we now know will cost $28,500 in the United States.

Episode 28 of the Brap Talk podcast is now out for your two-wheeled audio pleasure, and as always, it is packed with some interesting motorcycle discussions…and some strong opinions.

Our show starts with news from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), where we saw the new Alpinestars Tech-Air 5 airbag vest, and the electric superbike from Damon Motorcycles.

The latter provides quite a bit of fodder for a frank conversation about this motorcycle debut, and the lofty promises the Canadian company is making about its product.

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.