20 Luglio 2024

STAGE 5 NEUTRALIZED, BUT WHERE IS VADIM PRITULYAK?

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After a tough fourth day only 150 of the original 270 bikes and quads
could continue their race. And even less will have survived the fifth
day. What was feared from the fifth stage turned out to be true, as
again for many is was a struggle to finish today.

After a very fast first part of the stage the terrain and the
navigation changes. Only after the second tankstop this changed, as
the last kilometers were very tough. Frans Verhoeven, who has fought
back from 18th to place 4 in the general rankings expected this kind
of ending for the amateur teams when he arrived in the bivac at night.
“It was a nice stager, but it will be a struggle to finish for
everyone!” As we write all members of Dakasport / Team Honda Europe
have reached the bivac, exept for Vadim Pritulyak! The last 20
kilometers were the hardest part, throught difficult sand dunes. We
hope our Kazach manages to get through and find the bivac. Today also
the first Bowler Nemesis has broken down, with Tim and Tom Coronel out
of the race. Due to the neutralization, they did get a starting time
for the sixth stage though..

Mick Extance was the best rider of the team, with a 21th ranking in
this special, making him 24th overall. Mick duelled with Watts today,
making it into a race. “In the dunes we rode full speed, and after I
jumped over a dune I did not dare to look back. Luckily I didn’t have
too much other adventures today”.

Jurgen van den Goorbergh rode his best special so far, ranking 32th
place! He had a fright when a big white horse suddenly decided to
cross the tracks. “I was riding 130 kmh and almost hit it! Somewhere
in the mountians it was, and I could not believe it. The first part of
the special didn’t work for me. The front suspension couldn’t cope,
but after I’d found out what was wrong I managed to fix it and could
ride with more confidence. At the last part of the stage we follwoed a
riverbed, and Gordon passed me in his Hummer at full speed. What
sight, and I was first row!” Also for Jurgen the last part of the race
was tough, but he was happy to get through. “The dunes in the last 20
km were reallly steep, the sand a bit harder then what I’ve seen in
Morocco. The tip of the dunes was softer, loose sand. Today I did
everything myself, the riding, navigation. Luckily today all the bits
fell together.”

Christoper Jarmuz, 33th in the special and 32th overall. The first 250
km were fast with a lot of curves and stones. Exactly what I prefer. I
managed to overtake about 15 others there. Afther cp2 it became tough,
and after 440km the dunes started. I had to go back several times to
make more speed and reach the top of the dunes. There, I also managed
to overtake some bikes and cars. And of course I tried to overtake
Mick, but he was too fast for me today!

Mirjam Pol wasn’t too happy after the special. “It is no fun riding
these Pampa bushes and the loose sand. After cp1 I rode with Evert
Kroon and Gerard Rond. When we left the riverbed, I almost kick Evert
off his bike. At my side of the riverbed was big overhanging branch
which I hit and I moved to the right – exactly where he was riding!
Luckily he managed to keep clear. The first 10 km in the dunes were
easy. Everywhere you could see bikes and stranded competitors though.
The last part was really difficult, I had to work hard. The first cars
passed me and I has to find another route. Then I managed to park my
bike in the loose sand, almost at the top of a dune. The front wheel
was over the dune, but the engine wasn’t, and the bike was stuck. I
didn’t want to go back so with a lot of digging and hard work I
managed to get it out and over the top of the dune. Also, I saw Annie
Seel at the side of the road today. I would like to know what happend
to her as well.

Kees Koolen had to deal with the thunderstorm during the last part of
the route, and was soaking wet. “For a large part of the route, I
could not drive over 50kmh due to the dust. It was crazy, and I
thought “what am I doing here?”. Of course you go on, and in the
second part of the race it became more fun and I could overtake some
of the people that passed me earlier that day.

The latest news is that stage 5 is neutralized. That would mean for
Vadim that when he reaches the bivac he can start tomorrow. The
special of tomorrow is shortened, with a finish at cp2. Due to the
rain a part of the route has become too tough, and ASO need more time
to regroup all the competitors. Bikes start one hour later than
planned.

Thursday 8 January Stage 8 San Rafaël – Mendoza
Liaison 75 km I special 232 km I Liaison to Mendoza over a changed route.

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

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