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The HIMOINSA Team shines bright and stands tall

  • The five HIMOINSA Team riders have managed to complete the first half of the toughest Dakar ever disputed in South America, with the full team safe and sound in La Paz, looking to keep up the fight.
  • Gerard Farrés anchors his position in the Top 10 in a very competitive and entertaining edition at the head of the race.
  • Dani Oliveras, after two memorable days, tackles the Bolivian stages already within the best 20, making a surge as the clear revelation rider.
  • Marc Solà stays consistent and gains positions coming out of the Peruvian desert, looking to compete for a spot in the Top 25.
  • Iván Cervantes overcomes a tough few days due to sickness, increasing his pace as he recovers physical shape.
  • Rosa Romero hangs on after a devastating week from a physical and mental standpiont, staying on the gas and making no mistakes.

January 12th, 2018La Paz (Bolivia). The toughest Dakar of the last decade enjoys a well-deserved day of rest this Friday in the capital of Bolivia, where the five HIMOINSA Team riders take the opportunity to get their bodies and motorbikes ready to face the second week of the race.

Considering what happened during the first six stages of the 40th edition of this Dakar, the Spanish team’s performance can only be described as outstanding. Of the 337 participants who took the start in Lima, the Peruvian desert has claimed none less than 88 victims from all categories (26.1% of withdrawals), many of them among the favorites for victory. More specifically, in the category of motorcycles, of the 167 riders who started, already 29 (17.3%) have been forced to abandon, with stages as complicated as the second one (Pisco-Pisco) in which there were up to 11 casualties in this category.

Keeping this in mind, it is remarkable that the HIMOINSA Team has managed to keep its five riders in the race, when the statistics dictate that at this point they could have had one or two withdrawals easily, which makes them the best private team of the event. This speaks volumes about the work ethic, the planning, the experience and the team spirit within the structure directed by Miguel Puertas.

But not only has it been a matter of battling against the ruthlessness of Dakar 2018, but the members of the Spanish team are also competing at the highest level to re-write history and fight for the honorary positions of the race, as they did in 2017

Gerard Farrés is firmly installed within the Top 10 despite the intense battle that is being waged at the head of the race, where there have already been four stage winners and four different overall leaders in the first six days. Farreti has been one of the most consistent in all conditions, and this puts him in a perfect position for the second week of the rally.

Gerard Farrés (@gerardfarres): “It is clear that we are back in the ideal position to face the second week of the race. Considering what we have seen for now, many things are still going to happen, and the key is to stay consistent and wait for our moment to attack.”

Dani Oliveras is already considered to be the great surprise of this Dakar 2018. The HIMOINSA Team rider is demonstrating all that he is capable of in his fourth participation in the race. Oliveras has achieved his best results, with a sixth (stage 5) and especially, the fifth place achieved in the sixth stage, when he rode in second position for a good portion of the day. A showing of potential for the Spanish rider, who made clear his intentions and his aptitudes to fight against the official bikes in any terrain.

Dani Oliveras (@danioliveras_21): “What we have achieved so far is amazing, both as a team and on a personal level. I felt good coming in, but I did not expect to be strong enough to fight hand in hand with the factory bikes. If it had not been for some small navigation errors in the first days and the oil leak that I had the fifth, I have shown that I have the pace to be in the top 10 with an inferior bike than the favorites. So, we’re going to fight for it in this second part of the race.”

The team’s rookie, Marc Solà, has also weathered the storm from this first week of Dakar. Overcoming the dunes and the heat of the Peruvian desert, Marc Solà is already lurking around the Top 25 of the classification.

Marc Solà (@marcsola34): “I tried to get better progressively, avoiding mistakes and, above all, ensuring the arrival to the finish line every day. The conditions have shown that anyone could end the day in a hospital, and it is something that I clearly could not allow in this first week. Now it’s time to change the mindset and also the riding style. Just a bit more gas and we will be climbing positions in the overall.”

Iván Cervantes started the race with a 39-degree fever, which proved to be a huge handicap during the very hard stages in the dunes, where the physical factor and navigation played a fundamental role. However, the five-time World Enduro Champion has been able to manage this difficult situation to reach La Paz, gathering strength to face the second part of the race in better conditions and on possibly more favorable terrain.

Iván Cervantes (@IvanCervantes25): “It has been a very hard first week. I started sick and with the strong pace of the race and the little rest we have had, I have not been fully 100% at any moment. Now comes Bolivia, with the height and the cold and it will not be easy either, but little by little I am getting better and after having managed to overcome this first week in the desert, I think the change of terrain will be good for me to start to show my teeth.”

Rosa Romero (@rosaromerofont): “It’s been a very hard week. The Peruvian desert has been a brutal test and for those of us who ride in the back groups, surrounded by cars and trucks, even more complicated. In the first days I had some mechanical problems that, fortunately, I was able to solve, and then Nani’s accident came, which will inevitably affect you emotionally, although luckily everything was OK. Then I had a couple of days with some fever and antibiotics, but despite all the difficulties, I am very happy because I felt well in all the stages and we have already overcome one of the most difficult parts of the race. Now, some well-deserved rest.”

General Classification after 6 stages

1st K. Benavides (16: 33.20)

2nd A. Van Beveren (+01.57)

3rd M. Walkner (+03: 50)

9th Gerard Farrés (+18.08)

15th Dani Oliveras (+1: 06.05)

29th Marc Solà (+2: 24.04)

37th Iván Cervantes (+2: 59.33)

70th Rose Romero (+8: 35.27)

Next stage: La Paz – Uyuni