“So easy to break stuff today”
At the daily briefing at 21h local time, there were more cars out on the track than in the bivouac. It was total mayhem today, but even then all the drivers were thrilled about the stage. “One of the toughest stages I ever drove,” said the experienced driver Tomas Ourednicek. Javier Herrador drove his Buggy to the win.
Javier Herrador (355): “Exhausted and two flats”
He was too exhausted to stop, so Javier Herrador took his Herrador Buggy to the finish line with two flat tyres. The Spaniard had to be helped out of his car in the bivouac of Bouj Biramane and then took at least half an hour to get by. “It was hot and heavy,” he says. “The last 20 kilometers I was so wasted, I couldn’t even get out of the car to change my tyres.”
After a medical check Herrador was diagnosed with dehydration. “There were parts where I couldn’t go 50 km/h. So many rocks and such a difficult navigation. But the roadbooks were perfect and my navigator did a brilliant job. And then the heat ! Never have i been through a lot in my career, but i have seldom raced in these kind of conditions. I just cannot believe that I won. I’m happy i’m still alive.”
Bikes were struggling in stage 1
The first stage in the Morocco Desert Challenge – 391 kilometers between Plage Blanche en Icht, was a tough one. Several bikes didn’t make it to the finish because of technical failure or crashes. The start on the beach was spectacular – the first group of 5 riders took off with a wheelie – but soon after that it got harder, more technical and a real challenge for high-skilled navigators. Belgian rider Kim De Rycker won the stage.
Kim de Rycker (103): “Satisfied despite the difficult beginning”
It has been a while since Kim De Rycker started a desert rally. The Belgian needed some time to get into the rhythm. “On the beach, it was full gas for 40 kilometers. After that I was struggling to find the right pace. I had to learn to know the bike. Because it was cloudy, I couldn’t see what was in front of me very well. Stones and rocks made it hard to navigate. As a result I had to go back and forth several times, for about 12 kilometers I guess. But you know, these are the race conditions for everyone. I lost less time then the others, so I won the stage. I couldn’t be happier. »
Pedro Bianchi Prata (102): “Knacked by a bottle of water”
Stoppen four times after refueling made Pedro Bianchi Prata lose serious time. He lost over an hour to winner Kim De Rycker. “I drank a bottle of water and felt kind of sick immediately. I don’t really know what happened, but i had to stop four times to throw up. I lost so much fluids that I didn’t have any power left. As a result I lost a lot of time. Too bad, because it was a beautiful stage with some high-skilled navigating.”