20 Luglio 2024
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The fourth day finally brought what you can expect from the Dakar. A
technical, challenging special which had everything to offer.
Navigation was tricky from time to time. Faultless navigation got you
further than riding at a high pace. Even the top riders regularly made
mistakes; already there have been many changes in the top ten.
Spaniard Marc Coma kept his coolness, and won the stage. He remains in
the lead comfortably.

All Dakarsport/Team Honda Europe riders made it to the bivouac. Mick
Extance was 31st in the stage, and sneaked into the top 30. He’s now
26th overall. Mirjam Pol (57th in the special, 43rd in the stage)
enjoyed today, except for the last 30 kilometer. ,, It was the first
day I rode good technically. It was a bit of everything. After 150
kilometers Jurgen passed me, closely followed by Christopher Jarmuz
and Seel. I tried to follow them for 10 kilometers, but totally lost
my rhythm. I decided to let them go. It took another 10 kilometers to
get it back. The last 30 km were off-track. A kind of camelgrass but
than worse. After that we followed a dry riverbed. On the sides were
thousands of people cheering us on, how great! When I arrived at the
finished, somebody asked how it was. I asked what the others thought.
‘Others? Which others?’ was the reply. Turned out I caught all my
teammates again haha”.

Jurgen van den Goorbergh (69th in the special, 54th overall) too had a
good day, although his ranking of today doesn’t show this. ,, My
mission today was to get a good result, so that I can start a bit more
up to the front the next day. This worked out fine until cp1, where I
had already caught 15 riders. I tried a different set of tyres today,
which gave a lot more grip. I was quite pleased with that. With two
difficult sections, I couldn’t find the right passage, and I lost a
lot of time. In the end I went 20 minutes backward instead of moving
forward. A pitty, because I tried to push today and lost a lot of
energy, without getting a result.” Kees Koolen (107th in the special,
74th overall) went through a lot today. Or maybe better: saw a lot
happening today. Like when at cp1 where three bikes arrived. An
official walked to them, while at the same time a fourth rider rode
straight into them and hit them all to the ground. At the fuel stop a
bike fell over, with the fuel cap off. A girl of the organization got
covered in fuel, and when somebody nearby started his bike it was
panic all over. Kees Koolen: ,, I’ve seen many bikes standing along
the route. Either with technical problems, or after a crash. I think a
lot of competitors went out today. I crashed once myself too. A
Belgium guy decided to make a u-turn without looking. I decided to let
the bike fall to avoid a big crash. Luckily the Belgium guy had more
damage than me. Navigation went well, also my hand was o.k.. I really
enjoyed it, I even stopped a few times to make a few
pictures.”

Vadim Pritulyak (114th in the special, 107th overall) ,, I felt really
strong today. I love these extreme conditions. And extreme it was,
because I was right between all the trucks. What a dust, crazy! Today
it was a day of celebration for the Orthodox Church, I asked God for
help. That I made it was a small wonder. At the finish I said to
people that I just came from hell. What really breaks my heart is to
see all these bikers in trouble. I stopped to help a KTM rider. His
bike was lying in the middle of the track, while the first cars where
coming. I waved to slow them down, luckily they responded. I dragged
his bike to the side of the track, where also the bike was laying. I
activated his emergency beacon, stayed with him for another while and
then I went on. These are the worst things to experience in the Dakar.
” Christopher Jarmuz (59th in the special, 42nd overall) got lost
both in the beginning and in the end of the special. “I rode some
extra 15 kilometers. It was a tough special, and we have another one
coming tomorrow of 500 kilometers. I feel strong, so bring it on.” At
the moment of writing this message, it’s not clear how many bikes
still have to come to the bivouac. Or how many are out after today.
Tomorrow another tough stage with a length of 506 km. The first dunes
are coming, and again a lot of off-track kilometers. The day starts
with a liaison of 178 km, and ends with a liaison of 84 km. At this
moment, Buenos Aires is still very far away…


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

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