Well I caught up, only a few pages, the race is taking it's toll on here as well
Gotta comment on Kurt's post-Special interview, I am impressed, he looks really calm, understated, and most important, loved leading the race and is willing to navigate. Smart guy, he has a true "hard coded" racer's brain.
Was talking to a friend who raced the ISDEs with him in both Chile '07 and Greece '08 and basically underlined what everyone else already said, he is freaky smooth and freaky fast, on every
kind of terrain. If anyone has not seen the youtube video of the heli footage from Chile (I think Ned pointed it out first), do yourself a favor:
So Kurt opens up today, I will be rooting for him again. KTM need a different passport on their "A" teams, and Kurt has found himself at the right place at the right time. I just hope they can support him an a couple of more FIM rounds before the next Dakar. I would love to see him in Sardignia, the pace of navigation there is just crazy. Gonk, Despres, Pedrero and Chaleco follow. Chaleco is interesting for me, so much potential some times and yet loses out majorly on others. Contesting 3rd place on the podium with Jakes is going to be a cliff hanger this year hopefully. Botturi in 5th overall is not that far behind, and he is old-school enduro-tough. Banged up little finger is annoying him, he may just ask a doctor to amputate it
KTMs 1-4, with a Husky in 5th, although the Yamahas of Pain & Verhoeven are now an hour to an hour-fifteen in 7th and 8th. First HRCs are 9th and 10th with Helder & Pizzolito. At least they are in front of the privateer bikes
Sorry to hear of Barreda's shoulder, he looked in quite a lot of pain at the finish yesterday,unless he was just sand bagging and disappointed he lost so much time after opening the course. Remember that 1.15 difference on stage 10, when Cyril opened and Barreda played catch up? Well, yesterday while the tables were reversed, Joan lost 4.30 to Cyril
On HRC, there is so much controversy and spin that I can't really pass judgement on their tactics. We know for a fact that Helder is fast, the bike just doesn't seem to play along. OK it's their first year, but does anyone not think that he would have been (much) better placed this year on his Yam? For a rider, that's all that counts. Loose wires, fuel issues, pumps, excuses, excuses can wreak havoc on a racer's morale. Where has the biggest smile (with Casteu) of the bivouac gone? The bottom line is that HRC are not performing as expected. I just hope they are smart enough to stick with the riders they've got and keep pushing for results as a team instead of making a knee-jerk reaction and changing their line up. It's obvious that their problems are elsewhere.
Fiambala to Copiapo!! Kurt opens on mainly On Piste stuff... bring on today