A crazy Dakar ends with 2 Hondas on the podium and many very strong riders out of the race and the others fighting to the end for the victory.
Kevin Benavides, the Argentine rider of the official Monster Honda Team, manages to close the stage without difficulty, who instead met the opponents who followed him, first of all Sam Sunderland, the only KTM to fear.
While the awards are in progress, we can only honor our legendary too Franco Picco, which closes this great further undertaking in 43st place behind an equally good Cesare Zacchetti ending in 38st place. Thanks guys, we are all proud of you.
Kevin Benavidez: “It was absolutely insane. I started third and after fifty kilometers I was in front of opening the stage. I felt that everything was complicated, because Ricky started catching up with me. I started pushing a lot all day and stayed focused. I went to one hundred and ten percent, but now it's true: I won the Dakar Rally! I sure made mistakes. I think it is impossible to do a perfect Dakar. The important thing is to always keep going, stay calm and focused day after day and work hard. In the fifth stage I was worried, because I fell badly, hit my head and ankle and felt a lot of pain. That day I thought that maybe the Dakar was over for me. But I kept pushing. Now I still have some pain, but at the moment I am happier than in pain. I think where I won the race was today, in the last few kilometers! You couldn't think of winning during this Dakar, you had to stay focused. You don't think, you just focus on the action and nothing else, because everything can change in a second. I am really proud to be the first South American winner. My dream was also to make history and now I am the first South American boy to win the Dakar. We certainly did a great job throughout the Dakar, even with our teammates ”.
Unfortunately the day was also clouded by the news of the death of Pierre Cherpin, the French pilot victim of a very bad crash in the 7th stage, from Ha'il to Sakaka on January 10th. The pilot crashed at km 178, around 13:00. Doctors found him unconscious when they reached him by helicopter. Taken to Sakaka hospital, he underwent an emergency operation in the neurosurgery ward, and has since been kept in an induced coma. His condition had remained stable in the last few days but during the air transfer to the Lille hospital his physique gave up.
Oscar Polli's comment
Oscar Polli: “An incredibly beautiful Dakar, kept us in suspense until the last stage. A Dakar that returns to the past but with increasingly captivating technology and social networks. Sand, dunes, continuous variety of routes, navigation, strategies, off-piste with cap, and with the first two riders at the top of the standings with motorcycle Honda, the Argentinian 2021 winner Kevin Benavides and Riky Brabec winner of the Dakar 2020, hadn't happened since 1987. An Argentine and an American pilots born in the South American Dakar who have demonstrated a combination of skills of harmony, navigation and speed. An interest in this Dakar that has attracted many people even not close to the off-road motorcycle world. Long live the Dakar that thrills us and makes us dream about adventures By motorbike".