Team Honda Europe stage 11 report

Patrick Trahan: I like my Dakar like this! A hot day in San Juan is the setting for our bivouac. Some competitors enjoy succes, others are just happy to be in the race. Gerben Vruggink described today as "a day that needed be done". On their way...

Patrick Trahan: I like my Dakar like this!

A hot day in San Juan is the setting for our bivouac. Some competitors enjoy succes, others are just happy to be in the race. Gerben Vruggink described today as "a day that needed be done". On their way to Buenos Aires, for the competitors each day is important. Early in the morning the rally spend 200 km on a connection, in the cold at a height of 3500m. As the sun warmed the land, this special started. The special was not as fast and much more technical than the previous stage. After 50 kilometers the tracks went straight down. A lot of dust and some fast kilometers led to the last 60 km with dry riverbeds and the ever present stones. But there was also a riverbed with a river running through it, which accompanied the riders on their way to lower ground.

Christopher Jarmuz (25 in the stage, 30 overall) rode with a smile today. "I went through the stage like do at home, without pushing. Immediately I was able to overtake 10 to 15 others. I think I know my mistake from the last days. Tomorrow will be a though day. ASO came to tell that everyone needs to carry enough water and that it will be checked. A long and hot day, with 100 km sand at the end of it.

Gerben Vruggink (50 in the stage, 46 overall) had a more difficult day. "It had to be done. Right from the start it was cold, I had heightsickness and could not concentrate very well. The first 10 km, I took it easy, but when I felt I could go to the limit again I took off. I am very happy with a 50th place in the ranking today!

Patrick Trahan (61 in the stage, 60 overall) had a much better time today. "I love stages like this! Not too fast, a lot of difficult stuff. I could overtake ten other riders easily but I held back when I remembered the finish. I fell only once without damage, the bike was in perfect shape today!"

Tonny Krabbenborg (66 in the special, 85 overall) crashed at km 158. "In a riverbed, I hit a big rock and there I went. During my fall I thought 'hmm, this will hurt', and it does. My knee, hand and elbow are sore. It wasn't my day, very cold at the start and difficult terrain for me to ride. Tomorrow we'll have a long one, with almost 500 km in the special. We are not there yet."

Aloys Ressing (74 stage, 82 overall): "And again a few riders out. It was risky today. I rode a little too fast, and when I met Tonny I decided to slow down a bit. In the fes fes I fell and lost my GPS. Somewhere in the dust.. I crawled on my knees to find the thing, and immediately the first cars showed up. The last 30 minutes I simply made sure I could reach the finishline."

The last three stages have arrived, and it will be long days. Tomorrow is the longest day of the rally, but most of that is connection. The last stretch of the special is sand-only, with a lot of jumps and probably sore arms for the riders. Together with the heat it means the battle for Buenos Aires is still on.

-source: team honda eu

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Series Dakar