13 Giugno 2024

JURGEN VAN DE GOORBERGH: 18TH IN THE STAGE!

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Although in this phase of the rally the stages are the toughest ones,
they are also the most beautiful ones. The landscape around Copiapio
is breathtaking. The first bike left La Serena at 05.25 hours. The
special started at 07.00 hours. As always just at the first light,
starting in the dark is not allowed according to the regulations. The
glare of the rising sun was dazzling the first riders on the track.
Next to that there was a lot of fog, which caused another problem as
condense came onto the goggles of the riders, and with a lot of dust
in the air this is no fun. Dutchmen Henk Knuiman (11th overall)
crashed after just 5 minutes after he started because it was so
difficult to see properly.

During last night’s briefing the organization had already warned for
something many bikers fear: rocks. The first part of the special
included a lot of off-track riding, straight over hills with many,
many rocks. The sand and dunes which were feared today, were good to
ride.

Jurgen van den Goorbergh (18th in the special, 27th overall) seems to
be getting faster by the day. Slowly he’s making his way up to the top
20. Jurgen: This is what I came for. It was the most difficult and
most beautiful stage at the same time. When I took off I felt right
away I was on the pace. My speed was higher than the guys directly in
front of me. Navigation was very important. And if I ever had the
chance to learn it, it was today. So I did everything on my own.
Ullevalsetter (the very experienced Norwegian) past me about 4 times,
but at the finish I was still in front of him. This result gives me
confidence for the next two days. Hitting the burms, but with my own
plan. And then results will follow.”

Mick Extance(27th in the stage, 21st overall) ” That sun this morning
was crazy! It annoyed me in the beginning, but for the rest it was a
nice stage. Christopher came up from behind, and I followed him for a
while, but lost him later on. My engine wasn’t running 100%, I think
the carburetor needs some adjusting.”

Christopher Jarmuz (31st in the stage, 47th overall) was pushing hard
today. The mechanics could tell by looking at his bike, which suffered
more than usual. A flattened exhaust pipe, headlight broken, some
loose spokes, those kind of things. The always relaxed Polish man
makes a very fit impression, and was eager to finish before Jurgen van
den Goorbergh. But Jurgen could not be caught by Christopher today.

Mirjam Pol (81st in the stage, 47th overall) lost some time on rival
Annie Seel for the first time this rally. The difference was 35
minutes in Seel’s advantage. Still she was enthusiastic about today.
Pol: ,,Great day, but those rocks!” The first part was where I lost
some time. After a waypoint I wasn’t too sure about the route. We were
riding together, Gerard Rond, Snijders, List, van den Broek and some
other people as well. Gerard and i stooped, looked at each other and
decided to go back. We were about 60 meters from the right track. The
dunes went well today, I was quite late today so there were clear
tracks through them. Still it was heavy for the bike, with a lot of
loose surface and riverbeds.

Kees Koolen (68th in the stage, 69 overall) has enjoyed the 9th stage.
He took quite a lot of painkillers for his wrist. As there are a lot
of stones on the track he needed them. “But what a nice special! I
rally enjoyed it. And I took several very nice images on the route,
loosing ten minutes for that doesn’t matter for me. Eventually the
stage was quite ok. I didn’t want to make any mistakes, and that
worked out. The navigation was really tricky today, and the dunes
rather steep. On severall occassions I thought “hmm well” when I was
riding downhill.

On tuesday the competitors ride from and to Copiapo. It is the longest
and most difficult stage in the rally. More than 100 kilometers of
dunes mark the end of today, more ‘mountains of sand’ than dunes
anyway. The heat might play a big role as well – if the weather
changes. Today it was very pleasant in Copiapo, with a little rain to
comfort the riders and assistance in the hottest desert on earth.

Tuesday 13 january: Leg 10: Copiapo-Copiapo
Liaison 20 km | special 670 km | liaison 0 km

Roadbook alteration: the special shortened with 200 km. ASO says it
has done so to give everybody a good chance to enjoy this beautifull
day. Interesting reason, especially in Dakar. Would it otherwise be
too heavy for the competitors?

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

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