In the world of off-road racing, the Dakar Rally is the king
In every sport, there is one event that clearly outshines the rest in terms of spectators, difficulty and uniqueness. It’s that one challenge which takes the participants to the top of their physical and mental powers – the World Cup for football, the Tour de France for cyclists or the Isle of Man TT.In the world of off-road racing, the Dakar Rally is the king.
For most people who are not fans of the Dakar Rally, saying that the event will take place in South America sounds very weird. After the cancellation of the 2008 tour due to security threats in Mauritania, the great race was moved to South America starting in 2009.
In the 2017 motorcycle season, the Dakar Rally added another country (Paraguay) to its already classic list featuring Bolivia and Argentina, for a whopping 5,500 mile ride, divided into 12 stages (or days). If you don’t have time to watch the entire rally, at least look for stage nine – a 600-mile journey from Salta to Chilecito, Argentina. Paraguay has thus become the 29th country which had a Dakar Rally event inside its borders, as well as the fifth from the South American continent.
This year, 146 motorcycles have entered the classic Dakar Rally, from classic producers like Yamaha, Honda or Sherco. None of these companies come even close to the performances of KTM, which has won the latest 15 Dakar Rallies – the last company besides KTM to win the great race was BMW in 2000. This doesn’t make the race any less interesting, since there will be tons of KTM riders fighting for 1st place, including last year’s winner Toby Price – from Red Bull KTM.
The difficulties of the 2017 Dakar Rally are both classic (like physical and mental fatigue, the great length of the race or hard terrain) as well as new. For the first time, the riders will spend 6 days above 3,000 meters, which will surely take a toll on their bodies.
KTM’s Price With #1 Plate
The Dakar Rally was designed so that nobody can be sure of victory until the very last day. While this is a rather stressful event for the riders, us neutrals will surely enjoy it thoroughly. For a more in-depth look , here are the Top 15 starters of this year’s Dakar Rally:
2017 Dakar Rally Motorcycles Preview: Top 15 Starters
* Those missing (7 and 13) are not starting the 2017 Dakar Rally
1. Toby Price, Australia: Red Bull KTM
2. Stefan Svitko, Slovakia, Slovanaft Rally Team KTM
3. Pablo Quintanilla, Chile, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna
4. Kevin Benavides, Argentina, Monster Energy Honda
5. Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team
6. Adrien Van Beveran, France, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team
8. Gerard Farres Guell, Spain, Himoinska Dakar Team KTM
9. Ricky Brabec, USA, Monster Energy Honda
10. Armand Monleon, Spain, Duust Rally Team KTM
11. Joan Barreda Bort, Spain, Monster Energy Honda
12. Juan Pedereo Garcia, Spain, Sherco TVS Rally Factory
14. Matthias Walkner, Austria, Red Bull Factory KTM
15. Michael Metge, France, Monster Energy Honda
16. Sam Sunderland, Great Britain, Red Bull Factory KTM
17. Paulo Goncalves, Portugal, Monster Energy Honda
2017 Dakar Rally Motorcycles Preview: Race Schedule
Stage 1, Monday, January 2: Asunción to Resistencia | SS: 24 miles | Total: 282 miles
Stage 2, Tuesday, January 3: Resistencia to San Miguel de Tucumán | SS: 171 miles | Total: 499 miles
Stage 3, Wednesday, January 4:San Miguel de Tucumán to San Salvador de Jujuy | SS: 226 miles | Total: 485 miles
Stage 5, Thursday, January 5: San Salvador de Jujuy to Tupiza | SS: 258 miles | Total: 324 miles
Stage 5, Friday, January 6: Tupiza to Oruro | SS: 278 miles | Total: 430 miles
Stage 6, Saturday, January 7: Oruro to La Paz | SS: 327 miles | Total: 488 miles
Rest Day, Sunday, January 8
Stage 7, Monday, January 9: La Paz to Uyuni | SS: 200 miles | Total: 386 miles
Stage 8, Tuesday, January 10: Uyuni Salta | SS: 306 miles | Total: 554 miles
Stage 9, Wednesday, January 11: Salta to Chilecito | SS: 252 miles | Total: 608 miles
Stage 10, Thursday, January 12: Chilecito to San Juan | SS: 279 miles | Total: 467 miles
Stage 11, Friday, January 13: San Juan to Río Cuarto | SS: 179 miles | Total: 469 miles
Stage 12, Saturday, January 14: Río Cuarto to Buenos Aires | SS: 40 miles | Total: 488 miles