Team Honda Europe stage 13 report

"Don't worry, we'll make it to the finishline." The atmosphere in the bivouac is relaxed. The end is near. Tomorrow we will sleep in an hotel, with a hot shower and a bed. Everywhere people are sleeping in the shade. Two weeks of Dakar are ...

"Don't worry, we'll make it to the finishline."

The atmosphere in the bivouac is relaxed. The end is near. Tomorrow we will sleep in an hotel, with a hot shower and a bed. Everywhere people are sleeping in the shade. Two weeks of Dakar are exhausting. Not just for the riders, but also for the servicecrew. When the participants have finished, their race starts. After the dunes the first part of the special was fast. Ullevalseter finally won a stage this Dakar, after 8 second places. It means he is at place 2 in the overall ranking, will certainly try to keep it during the last stage today. Within the VW team Sainz and Al-Attiyah are battleing for the first and second place. Sainz cannot make a mistake today. Team Honda Europe had five riders at the start of the last special.

Christopher Jarmuz (42 stage, 27 overall): I ws fast in the dunes but made a mistake with the roadbook. I lost 5 to 8 minutes there! After the dunes the special was fast, really fast. It was more suited to heavier bikes, that have more stability. Still I am satisfied, and I climbed a few places in the ranking as well. The liaison was 140 km offroad, with a lot of fes fes. Zero sight, the works. Today I did not mind, as we are so close to the finish now!

Gerben Vruggink (51 stage, 44 overall) thought it would not be a really tough day. He was wrong. "It started with dust and difficult terrain. Then into the dunes, which at first were not that easy but later on very beautifull. After the dunes we rode on a hard very fast track, for quite some time. After the special it turned out the connection was even more difficult! I had hoped to get a pizza somewhere, but no luck. Back on the road it was just a long straight line. No villages, no gasstations."

Patrick Trahan (52 stage, 54 overall) is at the brink of his first Dakar finish, after two earlier attempts. "I felt at home in the dunes this morning. A lot of riders got stuck. I could overtake at least 20 of them. On the fast track I took it easy. The bike was a bit wobbly there. Even the idea of crashing now got me stressed up. After the special we had the connection, which was dangerous with cars overtaking us without using the sentinel.

Tonny Krabbenborg (63 stage, 76 overall) en Alois Ressing (77 stage, 77 overall) psuhed their bikes into the bivouac. 140 km before the finish on the connection Tonny's engine gave up with a blow. After a while Aloys came by and pulled Tonny. Alomost at the finish of the connection the engine of Aloys also gave up, probably overheated. Both pushing their bikes, totally exhausted but cheered by a huge crowd of spectators they managed to reach the finish. They made it! The mechanics replaced both their engines, to make sure they can finish Dakar 2010. Respect for the spirit and energy of Tonny and Aloys!

Teamdoctor Wolter van Tarel had an easy start of Dakar, but that changed during the rally. It is his second Dakar. "I am much more familiar with the race now. The routes are much nicer than last year, and the team is smaller. I like these changes and the atmosphere is good. Both the riders and mechanics visit me frequently. They notice it helps if I loosen their sore muscles. I have put a lot of work in keeping Mirjam on her bike, and perhaps we should have stopped at an earlier point. But it is the responsibility of the rider to make that decision. A lot of people from other teams visit Wolter as well. Those in the car usually have lower back problems. Motorbike riders frequently get sore shoulders and arms." Wolter is in the press car of the team. "It is fun i the car, and I get to drive a lot myself as well"

The last day! From Santa Rosa to Buenos Aires. At the finish the bikes go into Parc Ferme at La Rural, just like at the start. Then the finish follows on sunday, and Dakar 2010 is over. But we are not yet in Buenos Aires. The stage starts with 166 km connection, follows by a special of 202 km, which will be very fast. At the finish of the special a party is held for the participants, which for most is the true finish of the race.

-source: team honda eu

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Series Dakar