Difficult day for Grabham during Stage 3 of Dakar
Barreda leads for HRC as Despres and Coma make charge.
Just a day after logging his best ever result in the famous Dakar Rally, Australian KTM ace Ben Grabham has tumbled down the order in the fallout of a simple navigation error on day three of the race, between San Rafael and San Juan, Argentina.
Grabham was poised to again eclipse his best result in the first hour of the competitive stage after speeding into an incredible third place at Checkpoint One, 57 kilometres in.
However two hours later Grabham and three others including yesterday’s winner Sam Sunderland followed one of the lead riders in the wrong direction, causing a domino effect that would result in Grabham entering tonight’s Marathon Stage bivouac in 72nd place.
“Myself, the two Honda guys Sam and Paulo [Goncalves], Juan Pedrero on the Sherco and Ruben Faria all went down the wrong mountain,” said Grabham. “In the first 20 meters we knew it was wrong but it was just way to steep to get back. We tried for about an hour but it was damaging the bike too much.”
Next, KTM Factory team rider Faria crashed heavily and required airlifting, so the Aussie, Sunderland and Goncalves waited with him for the helicopter to arrive.
“Then to get out of where we were was quite a mission,” said Grabham. “All of us had to help each other lift our bikes down rock ledges and that took us a lot of time and energy. I’m not happy about it but there’s not much I can do about it.”
The day’s result sees Grabham drop to 33rd in overall motorcycle classification, and as he is away from his team in the Marathon Stage bivouac it is not yet known whether he and the other riders will be credited any time for their assistance of the injured Faria.
Tomorrow, Grabham must nurse his bike and tyres a further 550 kilometres, including 352 kilometres of special stage in order to complete the Marathon Stage.
Yamaha rider Shane Diener sits 44th overall, Allan Roberts 58th and Troy O’Connor 60th in a positive outing for the trio, however Mark Davidson and Peter Jacobsen are yet to register in the stage’s rankings.
Team HRC rider Joan Barreda won the stage and holds the overall lead, from Dakar legends Cyril Despres (Yamaha) and Marc Coma (Red Bull KTM), who both started their charge up the order during today’s running.
2014 Dakar Rally
Stage 3 results:
1. Joan Barreda 3h47m03
2. Cyril Despres +4m41
3. Marc Coma +6m56
4. Alain Duclos +10m51
5. David Casteu +11m17
6. Francisco Lopez +16m36
7. Gerard Farres Guell +16m50
8. Stefan Svitko +19m06
9. Jakub Przygonski +20m12
10. Olivier Pain +20m34
Overall standings (after Stage 3):
1. Joan Barreda 9h56m44
2. Cyril Despres +13m04
3. Marc Coma +13m56
4. Alain Duclos +16m38
5. Francisco Lopez +18m39
6. David Casteu +22m16
7. Jordi Viladoms +34m33
8. Olivier Pain +36m33
9. Jakub Przygonski +37m54
10. Stefan Svitko +40m09