20 Luglio 2024


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Three days are behind us, and the competitors had the chance to get
into their rhythm. Slowly everybody’s riding in the position where
they should be riding. Until now the stages were fast and technically
not so difficult. The big 690’s were the ones to profit most of the
fast stretches, the lighter 450’s haven’t been in the picture that
much, although Frenchmen Fretigne is doing very well with a second
place overall on a Yamaha 450. Also today, 350 km. out of the 550 km
long special could be ridden with the throttle full open. Kees Koolen
(99th in the special, 72nd overall): ,,It’s frustrating; the bikes you
don’t see in the technical stuff are flying by just as easy moments
later. It was a nice day, although I rode badly. Mainly thanks to my
wrist, which is quite painful at the moment. Tonight we’ll have a look
together with Wolter (the team’s physiotherapist) to see if I should
be wearing a brace tomorrow. I missed a speeding zone, I was doing 79
instead of 50. It’s going to cost me.”

Mirjam Pol (62nd in the special, 48th overall) lost some time on her
rival Anne Seel. She had difficulties finding her pace: ,, After
yesterday’s crash things weren’t running smoothly in the beginning of
the stage. I missed my breaking points a couple of times. After CP2
things went better. It was the most varied stage so far, it reminded
me of Morocco. A sandy track of about 100 kilometers with a lot of
rocks was a real pleasure to drive.”

Jurgen van den Goorbergh (65th in the special, 58th overall) was
punished with a fine of 50 euro’s for making a wheelie for all the
fans along the road. He was doing 57 instead of 50. These fines are
cashed from the competitors the next day. Which can run up to a big
amount easily, as Dutchmen Evert Kroon also learned today when he
received a huge fine. The speeding violations also mean time
penalties. Dutchman Frans Verhoeven made a free fall from 2nd place to
18th overall when the time was added to his total….. But that’s also

Jurgen: ,,When my front wheel was in the air, I already heard the
signal on the gps. ‘Yep, there it is’ I said to myself. Oh well, it’s
50 euro’s well spend, the crowd loved it. Today was o.k., the
technical stuff was a bit like the Knock Out Beach Race, but then only
straight ahead.”

Mick Extance (33rd in the special, 32nd overall) ,,This was the worst
special ever! I didn’t like these fast stretches at all. At some point
I almost went flying when I missed a bump at 130 km. an hour. Luckily
I got away with it.”

Christopher Jarmuz (60th in the special, 44th overall) had a trouble
less day. I lost a lot of time thanks to the hard wind. The big bikes
were flying by all the time. Tomorrow should suit our 450’s better.
The bike was good today, is was a long day without worries.”

Vadim Pritulyak had a scary moment around kilometer 100. A biker was
coming towards him from the opposite direction! He had to get out of
the way and crashed hard. Rider o.k., the bike slightly damaged. But
this tough guy from Kazachstan is a hard nut to crack. He finished the
Shamrock rally with several broken ribs in 2007.

Apart from Ebert Dollevoet who’s out of the race, things are going
according to plan for the team. The teamspirit is fine, cooperation is
good. The goal was (and remains) to get through the first week with as
little damage as possible, and so far this is working out fine. With
all riders (except Pritulyak) within the first 100 in the general
ranking, teammanager Henk Hellegers is satisfied. Off course the rally
is only three days under way, and things could be totally different
just like that, but that’s a worry for tomorrow.

Day 5: Jacobacci – Neuquen Liaison 4 km I Special 459 km I liaison 25 km
Day 5 the competitors get to see a lot of sand, and the first long
off-track sections. Caution is required. Time for the favorites to
show themselves.

Team Honda Europe – http://www.honda-dakar-rally.com/

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