Series stage seven gossip

The best sealant in the world! The BMW X-Raid teal lost one of its rapid assistance trucks during the race. Having suffered from serious problems during special stage 6, Guerlain Chicherit found a particularly crafty solution thanks to some of...

The best sealant in the world!

The BMW X-Raid teal lost one of its rapid assistance trucks during the race. Having suffered from serious problems during special stage 6, Guerlain Chicherit found a particularly crafty solution thanks to some of the Argentine spectators. With a big hole in the radiator of his X3, repaired in a hurry using the team's sealant, Chicherit was initially forced to stop every 500 m to refill his tank with water, carrying on like this for almost a hundred kilometers until a fortuitous encounter changed the outlook for the crew. "A spectator gave some sort of weird product and told me to soak it in water and then block the whole with it. With Mathieu, we thought, 'there's no way we're putting that on our car', but we tried it out and in the end, it held fast for the last 100 kilometers. He saved our race, and I don't even know his name! He's a great mechanic!"

Mendoza: the land of 'futebal'

Although the results of Sportivo Godoy Cruz, the province of Mendoza's only representative in the Argentine first division, are nothing to get excited about (12th position in the last championship), Mendoza is nonetheless a place crazy about football. The competitors of the Dakar found this out on arriving at the bivouac where a big sign reminds passers-by that in 1978 some of the World Cup matches took place here. In fact, the bivouac is only a few hundred meters away from the Estadio Mendoza stadium. For the record, it was in this arena that the 1000th World Cup goal was scored, by Robert Rensenbrink during Holland's 3-2 victory over Scotland.

The Argentine version of the Alpe d'Huez

The contestants and followers of the Dakar were already surprised by the unthinkably big crowds around the podium at the start in Buenos Aires, and once again the scenes of joy on arrival at the bivouac in Mendoza surprised and delighted those involved in the rally. As the crowds parted in front of the bikes, thoughts immediately went to the Tour de France and the mythical climb up the Alpe d'Huez (so dear to Lance Armstrong's heart), all in total respect of the Dakar's heroes. For sure, it was more like the Le Touquet endurance race. "It's even worse, but it's great," according to Thierry Bethys, winner of the famous event in northern France. Patrice Carillon enjoyed the moment, revving the engine of his KTM to the absolute delight of the aficionados. "I've never seen so many people before in Mendoza," explained Ramon, 20 years old, with his camera hanging around his neck and an Argentine flag in hand. Menuda fiesta!

The torrid tales of Willy Jobard

In the tiny village of La Junta, Willy Jobard had to push his bike over the finishing line of the special stage: "I divided the petrol between the front and rear tanks, and I didn't make the switch at the right moment, so 100 m from the finishing line, there was nothing left. My calculations were ok, to within 100 meters..." This mishap was without serious consequences this time, but several days earlier, the biker lost several hours racing time. It was only thanks to the help of an Argentine spectator that Willy was able to avoid abandoning prematurely: "My rear tire was shredded and suddenly a spectator came up to me and said he had a bike at home. I asked 'What type of bike?', and he replied, 'A Honda 600 XR', so I told him, 'Well you might just be able to help me'". One and a half hours later, the Good Samaritan returned with the famous bike in question, which hadn't seen the road for a long time. In spite of this, they manage to repair Willy's bike and he was able to set off again on the long journey to the finishing line: "During the link stage, the tire was so old that the cleats were coming off one after another. Finally, I manage to make it, and during the evening I met my savior again. I wanted to pay him for it or offer him a pair of wheels, but he didn't want a thing, he was just happy to have helped me".

-credit: aso

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Series Dakar