Stage 02: Into the dunes…

The 242km Pisco > Pisco stage spared the Dakar field little on what was the first day of real racing. After their 85km liaison the riders were thrown straight into soft, repetitive dunes with hidden drop-offs and deceptive waypoints. GHR riders Warren Strange and Brett Cummings both achieved substantial gains in the overall moto standings by day’s end, holding 31st and 79th respectively. Todd Smith started the day on a charge but slowed when he encountered the sand dunes for the first time. He ended the day holding 34th place overall. In the quad class, #274 Paul Smith dropped from 13th to 18th overall. The grueling stage has already forced the retirement of 3 quads and 8 riders in the moto division. Unfortunately #91 Glen Grundy’s race was halted by mechanical problems 85km into the special. Thankfully he’s uninjured and will stay on with the team to assist.

Comments from #156 Todd Smith:
Well, to say that the 2nd stage was a steep learning curve would be an understatement! Wow… first time in the dunes, and the first time using my GPS. A long story short: I struggled to find my way! Had a pretty big scare off one of the dunes, and dropped about 6m down onto the flat and crashed. Also got stuck on the top of a dune and had to drag my bike down to pick it up. Other than that the stage was really fun. I’m feeling good and we will see what tomorrow brings.

GHR times and placings: MOTO
31st #131 – STRANGE Warren 3h46m41s (+00:22:30 behind leader, as high as 13th at WP3)
34th #156 – SMITH Todd 3h47m38s (+00:23:27 behind leader, 9th fastest to WP1)
79th #089 – CUMMINGS Brett 4h19m48s (+00:55:37 behind leader)

GHR times and placings: QUAD
18th #274 – SMITH Paul 4h34m03s (+00:43:18 behind leader)

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Stage 3 Pisco > Nazca continues in a south-easterly direction roughly 80km in from the coast. A short 4km liaison from the overnight bivouac will guide the field to another testing 243km special and subsequent 96km liaison run to Nazca. The projected terrain will be a mixture of deep sand dunes and sandy soil tracks meaning there will be little time to rest. In contrast to the modest elevation changes from Stage 2, there will be a series of steep gradients starting with a dramatic drop at 115km mark.