A Historic Finish to the 2020 Dakar Rally - Adventure Motorcycle Magazine
It was a rollercoaster couple of weeks, but the 42nd running of the Dakar Rally has come to a close. Ricky Brabec will now go down in history as the first American to win Dakar, but he was far from the only American to excel this year. Riders Skyler Howes and Andrew Short punched in performances in the top 10 and SSV (Side by Side Vehicle) driver Casey Currie, with co-driver Sean Berriman, won his class and is noted as the second American winner in the books. Here at ADVMoto, we couldn’t be more proud of our rider Kyle McCoy who finished in a strong 60th in his rookie appearance at the race. Laia Sanz came in 18th overall in her 10th consecutive Dakar finish.
Brabec behind the bars of Honda’s CRF450 Rally has ended KTM’s 18 year winning streak and put themselves back on the top for the first time in 31 years. Despite dominating from 1986 to 1989 with the NXR750 Africa Twin, Honda did not compete in the Dakar between 1990 and 2012. The past eight years have had mixed results but with only two podium 2nd place finishes by Paulo Gonçalves and Kevin Benavides in 2015 and 2018, respectively.
This year’s Dakar also proved itself once again as one of the most brutal and unforgiving races on the planet. Stage 8 of the race was cancelled for bikes and quads to allow riders to mourn the loss of one of the most respected riders in the bivouac, Paulo Gonçalves; whom succumbed to injuries after a crash in stage 7. The rest of the HERO MotoSports team, retired from the race after the stage. Stickers of Paulo with the phrase “A HERO FOREVER” are worn proudly by riders and members of all teams in photos of the closing celebrations.
Yamaha, another team vying to dethrone KTM, suffered the loss of two key riders in stage 3 and 4; their best finisher was Franco Caimi in 8th.
Many of the racers would not have completed their stages without assistance from other riders. Stage 6 saw Andrew Short graciously give Toby Price his rear tire after Price’s tire disintegrated. Price was able to finish the stage in 11th, Short miraculously finished the stage 24th and only 35 minutes behind the leaders.
With the melted rubber of victory burnouts still cooling, we can look forward to the next one. What will 2021’s Dakar hold? Will Honda begin a new winning streak? Will KTM come back stronger and faster? Will Yamaha recover to take their first win since 1998? All we really know is we’ll be eagerly waiting to find out and pass the news on to you.
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