20 Luglio 2024

Dakar halfway, rest day in Valparaiso, Chile

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The last competitors are still battling to make it to the bivouac in
time. Arriving too late means you’re out, the rest day cannot be used
make a late arrival. All Team Honda Europe riders are in, except Vadim
Pritulyak, who’s still underway in the 400 km long liaison to
Valparaiso. (Which is partially off-road)

Making it to the rest day is little bit like making it to the finish.
Just taking a moment to relax, and not dive right away with your nose
in the roadbook and preparing your stuff for the next day. As Jurgen
van den Goorbergh (29th in the stage, 36th overall) put it: “it’s
mainly between your ears. But if someone told me I have to get on my
bike tomorrow to ride a special, I’m taking the plane home right
now!”

Vadim Pritulyak is having a very long day for the third time in a row.
Yesterday a little seal from the oil filter was causing problems, and
he was losing oil rapidly on his way to the start. At the start of the
special he noticed there was almost no oil left in his engine.
Pritulyak managed to find 6 liters of oil in a village nearby, and he
went into the special. He made it to the finish, but used all of the 6
liters of oil. From his Russian friend Kabirov (Kamaz) he got another
2 liters, and in his last kilometers to the bivouac some locals also
gave him oil. At 2.00 a.m. he was finally in the bivouac… The
special of today he finished in 139th position. It took him almost 13
hours while fastest rider of the day local hero Chaleco Lopez did it
in just over 2 hours…. It was a special day for the Chilean KTM
rider, who was anxious to be the first to enter his home soil.

Kees Koolen (73rd in the special, 70th overall) literally dragged his
friend Johan van der Laan (Husqvarna 450 / Dutch Team Dakar) behind
his Honda for more than 200 kilometers. Just when they crossed the
border between Argentina and Chili the engine of van der Laan died. By
using a rope of one meter and a half (!) Kees was pulling van der Laan
all the way to the bivouac. Teammanager Henk Hellegers:,,We were
riding behind them and couldn’t bear to watch these two. Kees was
waving at all the fans, going at 100 km per hour. And Johan right
behind him trying not to crash into all these fans. Luckily it all
ended well. ”Off course you don’t leave your friends behind” was the
comment of Kees Koolen. Hilarious!

Mick Extance remains strong. Again he moved one place up in the
general ranking. (32rd in the special, 22nd overall) ,,It was the most
beautiful stage of the rally. In the liaison I stopped to have a good
look at the mountains and let it all sink in. It was fantastic. My
arms were a bit sore today, the rally is taking its toll. The special
suited the 450’s quite well. I saw more 450’s today around me than
normally this week. Tomorrow Steve will change the engine (all bikes
get a new engine out of precaution) and I’m going to take care of my
riding equipment and do some laundry.’

Christopher Jarmuz had an easy day without incidents. ”I’m going to
sleep all day tomorrow. The next few days are going to be tough,
although they say Monday should be easy. But Tuesday and Wednesday are
going to be extremely difficult, so I’m a bit concerned about that.
I’m pleased with my ranking sofar, hopefully the coming week I will be
able to look up a bit more.”

Mirjam Pol keeps her pace and managed to finish as 48 in the special,
taking her to place 47 overall.

Tomorrow we look back at the first week, and look ahead to the second.
We talk to Jurgen van den Goorbergh, Mirjam Pol, teammanager Henk
Hellegers and mecanics Gerben Vruggink and Steve Bowyer. And the
latest news from the team!

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

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