Originally Posted by too old
Thanks Troy, I think we all agree with that and even Sam can back off when the opportunity is thre - he can find it a little difficult though as it's not natural to him.
Essentially he needs to find himself not having to chase the pace in the rally - at the start of the last Dakar, he picked a 30 sec penalty, said he took it easy and still finished 7th, so the base is there
He is getting a lot of tactical guidance from Henk and the team at Honda Europe, so let's see what the rest of the year and of course Jan brings
Mxmum and myself are his unofficial PR managers
, so we will give you the inside track when and as far as we can
With the two of you as his PR managers, he can only do well!
Sam reminds me quite a bit of Zé Helio who won the Dos Sertoes 6 times, and was expected to do very well in the Dakar, but he crashed out twice in a row, and crashed out in the 2010 Dos Sertoes too. He is super fast and skilled, but maintaining insane speed for 10-14 days is going to put you anyone at risk. One thing I have noticed while editing the Dakar video footage over the years is that the aliens actually do ride to the road conditions; there are times when you can see they are riding at a reasonable pace at certain points versus at full gas.
Having watched Zé ride really closely, his speed seemed recklessly fast to me. His speed made him the favorite rookie in 2011, but he DNF, because he was simply too fast. Maybe I'm not used to it but it certainly seemed like he was riding at 100% all the times, which increases the risk of things going wrong. Comparing that to, say, Coma who is insane fast when he needs to be, but even then appears to be riding smooth and in control.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that slower is actually faster on a rally like this, and I believe if Sam rode at a sustained 80% of his ability he would firstly finish more easily and secondly get a good placing because his 80% could get him into the top 20 - Not a bad result at all!
Interestingly, there are 55 elite riders on the list this year.
Kinda puts into perspective the level of skills required to get a top 50 placing.