Category AM (moped) – minimum age 16
Category A1 – minimum age 17
Category A2 – minimum age 19
After a fortnight competing in the world’s toughest race, Monster Energy Honda Team’s campaign ends with a positive scorecard. Throughout the ten disputed stages, the team have clearly shown all the necessary requisites to triumph in the Dakar. The battle goes on.
Joan Barreda, the Monster Energy Honda Team ace, comes away from the Dakar having clinched four stages. Not only has he proven to be the fastest and most complete all-round rider of the 144 bike category participants who set off from Paraguay, but he also displayed superior navigation skills and made fewer mistakes. Once again Barreda scooped more stage wins than anyone, taking the tally to eighteen and overtaking the previous record-holder Italian Edi Orioli, who won with Honda in 1988. A harsh one-hour penalty for different interpretations of the refuelling guidelines effectively stole the bronze Tuareg from the Spaniard’s hands. Rally’s most promising rider had to accept fifth when the curtain came down on the event in Buenos Aires.
It was no mean feat for the squad to keep a cool, clear head after the hammer-blow in just the fourth stage. Nevertheless, the four Monster Energy Honda Team showed much resolve and were immediately back in the fray as the great challenge moved onto Bolivian soil. Besides Barreda, Paulo Gonçalves displayed great consistency over the course of the competition. The Portuguese rider on the Honda CRF450 RALLY came sixth overall, who like his team-mate, would have finished in second place without the sanction.
Michael Metge revelled in his supporting role and constantly shadowed the team’s two main riders Joan Barreda and Paulo Gonçalves. The Frenchman offered his team-mates a sense of security which allowed them to give the maximum on the track. American Ricky Brabec will forever remember the Dakar 2017 after snatching his first Dakar stage win. Ricky was unable to finish after a crash damaged the bike. Ricky, however, has shown excellent progress and maturity as a rider of cross-country rallies.
The Honda CRF450 RALLY gave a noteworthy display of reliability, finishing the Dakar without the slightest mechanical hitch. The machine displayed great handling, resistance, power and has proved itself to be the bike of the Dakar.
As the HRC Chairman Yoshishige Nomura put it yesterday from the podium in Buenos Aires: the team fought to the last to try and win the rally and will continue to battle hard to raise the trophy as the Rally Dakar winner.