Monitor days are winding down, the brand new machines for subsequent yr have already been revealed, and the chilly of winter is upon us. For the motorbike business, that is the low-point of the season.
There’s something to stay up for within the low season, nonetheless, and it’s the Dakar Rally.
In nearly one month’s time, the world’s prime off-road racers will participate in what is known as probably the most grueling motorbike race on the planet.
The 2018 Dakar Rally is the 40th version of the enduring rally raid, and as soon as once more it is going to happen removed from its namesake, with rivals racing via Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina.
This yr’s route will take racers to the Pacific Ocean, via the Huacachina sand dunes, and past, till they end in Córdoba.
For the motorcyclists, 2018 can be an attention-grabbing yr within the Dakar narrative. KTM can be searching for its 17th-straight Dakar Rally victory, however every year Honda will get nearer and nearer to disrupting that successful streak.
That’s to not say that Sam Sunderland (final yr’s race-winner) and Toby Value (the 2016 race winner) received’t make it straightforward to subplant KTM from the highest podium step, however Honda reveals extra promise and potential with every passing version.
Whenever you issue how shut Honda was to KTM after final yr’s disputed mistake on Stage 4, which noticed all of HRC’s riders levied with one-hour penalties for an improper gasoline cease, Honda can be trying to make-up for that setback – difficult KTM each on and off the course for supremacy.
Joan Barreda and the remainder of the HRC squad have proven nice progress lately, and so they actually can be giving KTM a run for its cash within the 40th version of the Dakar. With Barreda successful probably the most phases in 2017, all that’s lacking from the Spaniard’s racing program is consistency.
As for Yamaha and Husqvarna, each squads are additionally catching as much as the likes of KTM and Honda. Will they be race contenders in 2018? In all probability not. However might they glean some stage victories from the front-runners? Virtually actually.
The perfect factor in regards to the Dakar Rally although, moreover the superb pictures, is that really something can occur in the course of the 14-day competitors. Nothing is a given, nobody is a presumed winner, and by no means underestimate the situations. All of it makes for glorious racing.
Images from the 2017 Dakar Rally: