Benavides inherits the crown

The Argentine wins the Dakar, the first South American to do so on a motorcycle, and continues with Honda's reign. Great sixth final for Santolino.


It took them no less than 31 years to regain the throne and they weren't going to let go so easily ... Honda has clearly been the strongest team on the Dakar in motorcycles since the start of the competition, you could see it amidst the continuous comings and goings of drivers in qualifying, and it was clear once the race stabilized. His own were always among the best and, although they lost two of their soldiers before the final battle (Barreda and Cornejo), their army was strong enough to emerge victorious. And so they did with Kevin Benavides at the helm.

The Argentine was proclaimed Dakar champion for the first time in his life, in his fifth participation, and achieved a historic milestone by being the first South American to win it on two wheels. He had everything going for him thanks to the four-minute lead he had when going to the last special, because it was the shortest, even more than expected (202 kilometers, 20 less due to heavy rain), and because his closest rival, Sunderland, opened the track with the KTM after winning the previous stage. Thanks to this, the Briton got very close, but he also paid the price of going first.

Sam left no less than 13 minutes in the attempt and was able to bring his brand back to glory, which will have to wait another year. The other threat to Benavides was none other than his Honda teammate and former champion, Brabec. The Californian was seven minutes behind Kevin in the general classification and surpassed him on the last day, in fact, he did it taking the victory to finish with a triplet, but he could barely scratch the Argentine for two minutes. So he had no choice but to take his crown and give it to the new champion.

His consolation is that at least his house continues to reign, that he finishes second and that Honda achieves his first one-two since 1987 after once again defeating his rival, KTM, who remains resigned to third place in Sunderland. And we say rival and not its greatest rival, because the Japanese had no other, since the one who was supposed to be the third in contention, Yamaha, did not stop suffering with its engines until the last day. Van Beveren, the only survivor they had left, left after 30 minutes of the race with a broken engine, and that changed it recently ... 444 444

In Spain, we stayed for another edition without taking the greatest joy of all. It was like this after seeing the sad end that Barreda had in the penultimate stage when he abandoned when he ran out of gas for skipping a refueling point. But that does not mean that there is nothing to put in our mouths, because Santolino's sixth place finish leaves a very pleasant taste. He manages to finish the Dakar in third place and he does so among the best with a Sherco, the first to break the oligopoly of Honda and KTM. Too bad that in a day to celebrate, the death of the French Cherpin prevents it. That's why it was raining ...

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