The curtain rose today on the 2021 Dakar Rally with a short prologue. The curtain-raiser, which was held in the vicinity of Jeddah, proved to be a tough one in terms of navigation, on a route that took in some mountainous tracks as well as more open, faster stretches.
Some riders opted for more prudent tactics, waiting to make their mark in tomorrow’s first full stage, however current Dakar Rally title holder, American Ricky Brabec wasn’t holding back in his first contact with the Saudi desert. Brabec set the best time of the 101 motorcycle participants in this edition of the Dakar to become the first leader of the race. The prologue had a factor 4 (time x 4) for the general standings of the race.
Behind him, Monster Energy Honda Team squad-mate, Joan Barreda, was the first of the team’s four riders, notching up an excellent time, some six seconds shy of Brabec.
Former supercross star Andrew Short was sixth. For the Brits, Jamie McCanney was 11th on his Yamaha, Sam Sunderland 26th, David Knight 46th and Neil Hawker 58th.
Tomorrow, Sunday, sees the first stage of the Dakar 2021, which will be contested entirely on-track between Jeddah and Bisha. Competitors can expect 277 kilometres of special timed out of a 622-kilometre total trek. The route will pass through several valleys with several sections requiring deft roadbook reading skills. Some of the stony sections could prove detrimental to the tyres.