The third stage of the Dakar was something everybody had been looking forward to. The stage that would lead from Termas de Rio Hondo to Jujuy would be especially exciting as it would give the quicker riders a chance to let loose finally. And if there’s a quick rider amongst the current crop at the Dakar, it is one Joan Barreda Bort. The Honda rider gave it his all over the shortened stage, and took his fourteenth Dakar stage win. This catapulted him to the head of the overall motorcycle standings.
The good news for the Honda team continued when their rider Kevin Benavides from Argentina finished second in the stage. Third place for Stage 3 also went to a Honda rider, with Portugal’s Paulo Goncalves finishing third. In the Overall standings for the motorcycle class, it is KTM rider Stefan Svitko who is second behind Barreda Bort. Third place after three stages goes to Benavides.
Toby Price, who set the pace for KTM during the second stage of the rally, didn’t fare very well during Stage 3. The Australian rider who set out first, was overtaken at the first Check Point of the Day by the three Hondas, after which he wasn’t able to recover. He ended the stage 37th, which puts him 10th overall in the motorcycle class after three stages.
Husqvarna’s Ruben Faria also had a tough day. The Spaniard ended the third stage 26th, which puts him eighth in the overall standings.
CS Santosh ranked 82nd overall in the motorcycle class
CS Santosh’s tough run in the Dakar continued. The Indian rider, astride a Suzuki 450 Rally, ended up 62nd on the third stage of the event. This put him 82nd overall in the motorcycle class. Chunchunguppe Shivashankar, as he is known in the official Dakar start list and on the timing sheets, had complained of struggling for pace during Stage 2 of the rally. But, despite niggling motorcycle issues, he’s determined to press on and hopefully better his performance from last year, finishing higher than 36th this time around. As Santosh had told OVERDRIVE, he is aiming to finish in the twenties this year.
Sherco TVS continues strong showing
Alain Duclos made an impressive start to the Dakar, and he continued his strong performance, finishing ninth in the third stage. This meant that the French rider for the Sherco TVS team managed to stay in fifth position in the overall standings of the Dakar's motorcycle class. His team-mate Juan Garcia Pedrero is currently ninth in the overall standings in the motorcycle category. Florent Vayssade, the team’s third rider, is currently ranked 25th in the overall standings in the motorcycle class.
Casale leads Quads overall, though Baragwanath wins Stage 3
The battle in the quad category fell between Chilean pilot Ignacio Casale and South African rider Brian Baragwanath. While it was Baragwanath who won the stage, with Casale finishing second and Marcelo Medeiros third, the overall standings are a little different. Casale leads the Quad class by 3min 56sec from Baragwanath, while Medeiros retains third overall.