A dangerous day
The 6th stage was fast en dangerous. A true desertspecial through the Atacama desert. It has almost cost Italian rider Manca his life, after a crash at high speed. He is in Santiago now, and slowly getting better. Manca rode with the top and lost a lot of time giving his rear wheel to Coma in the 5th stage. He must have tried to make up for this right from the start yesterday.
Yesterday was easily confused for a boring special. Long and fast tracks, where danger was always lurking from the roadside. Also a lot of fes fes which caused incredible dust. Mirjam Pol went flying at 370km. She might have missed a hole or a stone, but could not remember what had happened. After her back injury on the 5th stage again a serious blow for Pol. She has bruses and a painfull back. Pictures have been made by the doctors but as there was nothing to see she can continue the race. Teamdoctor Wolter van Tarel has checked Mirjam today, and will keep an eye on her. The 7th stage will be tough for her, that is for certain.
Gerben Vruggink (46 stage, 45 overall) wasn't that enthousiastic about this stage. "This special was just as boring as the 5th stage was diverse and technical", he said. "After the fuelstop we had 60 kilometers of fes fes! Once we entered the dunes you could clearly see most riders follow the tracks. I rode to the top of a dune, and met someone with a cross-shirt from Jopa/Sluis. I almost fell off from the surprise!"
Christopher Jarmuz (52 stage, 36 overall) had tough day. "The waypoint at km19 was difficult to find, we spend some time with a group searching for it. It cost me 10-15 minutes. The fast stretches are not my kind of riding, I like it better when the terrain is more difficult. The dunes were good fun though. My hopes are for next week."
Patrick Trahan (54 stage, 65 overall) took off too fast from the start. A handstand on the handlebars was a fair warning to ride slower. "Others passed me, and I let them. I fell once in the fes fes, and had a trouble-free day. I navigated using the compass rahter then the roadbook. While going downhill on the last dune (4 km long), the helicopter flew with me. I hope to see some nice footage when I get home."
Tonny Krabbenborg (96 in the stage, 94 overall) and Aloys Ressing (99 in the stage and 88 overall) used the full day to reach the finishline. They took their time, and didn't car about people overtaking or riding faster. "We had our own speed. Fast if possible, slower on dangerous tracks. We spend some time looking for the same waypoint as Christopher. At km 113 we saw a Volkswagen with the rubber facing upwards, and took some pictures. The co-driver was quite unhappy with us doing so. But frankly, we did not care." When cars overtook as un the fes fes we had zero sight. In the dunes it was difficult to find waypoint 29, and we met Tasmin Jones (130) who had lost her way. She was very happy that she could ride with us, but we lost her. At waypoint 30 we found her again, and she was happy to stay with us as she seemed to be exhausted. Downhill she went head-first into the sand, but got back on her bike right away. We loved going downhill with the sunset. Beautifull. And we had finished before dark, our goal today!"
Friday januari 8th, Iquique - Antofagasta connection 37 km | special 600 km | connection 4 km
The longest and most varied special of this Dakar. Sanddunes in the first part, followed by pistes. Also a passage of big salt lakes. Then to Antofagasta a lot of open terrain and fast tracks. Finish is untill 18h on the resting day..
-source: team honda eu