The 2013 Dakar is forcing the racers to concentrate until the very end of the race, as stage twelve proves as taxing in the liaison as the special stage.
The race crossed the Andes for the second time in 2013 as the racers trudged dirt road to infamous stage of Copiapo. The now legendary rally town has provided drama for many racers over the years, including Simon who has twice fallen fowl of the sands.
2013 was to prove less dramatic than previous years as many riders showed that their previous experiences have left scars. Simon was amongst those who gave the stage special respect, as he gave his engine a gentle ride to the finish.
The stage provided a large variety of terrain, mixing fast sand roads, technical sand and long riverbeds. On top of this the racers were confronted with confusing navigation caused by the criss-crossing tracks of local riders. Despite being gentle to his engine, Simon climbed again in the overall standing to 61st overall with a 58th place finish on stage.
– “Today has been long and I’m glad it’s behind me. The liaison was hard work, climbing the mountains this morning was cold and we had another really early start. We left at 4:30 and it was hard to stay awake whilst riding.
The special stage was a great though; it was a lot of fun. It was very varied, some of it was a little fast for my taste and with my history in the Copiapo stages I was really gentle on my engine. It was easy to sit at 130 to 140km/h today but I was scared to push the bike that hard, it felt like it was straining in the sand a bit.
A lot of the stage was that type of riding, but we also had some great dune sections that were huge and a fun dry river at the end of the special. In the more technical sections I pushed pretty hard, I rode everything well and was picking good lines, it was great!
Some of the navigation was tricky as well. The area is obviously a massive local playground and there are tracks going everywhere. Each junction you get to have ten options so you had to pay attention to make sure you are going in the right direction.
I’m pleased with the result; I didn’t feel like I was riding fast so it’s a good result. We are close to the end now, but the rally is still a long way from the end. The final couple of days are going to be tough.“
Stage Thirteen is the second last day of the 2013 Dakar, but the organisers are not giving the riders any rest. With another long and difficult special stage based in the Copiapo area, the rally is far from over for the racers.
Simon Pavey – 58th – 04:52:33
Simon Pavey – 61st – 47:25:40
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