American Ricky Brabec brings home his 2nd victory in the world’s hardest race
Last Friday, American rider Ricky Brabec celebrated an incredible victory as he clinched his second Dakar title on his GIVI sponsored Honda CRF450 Rally. Brabec, solidifies his Dakar legend status, being the first American to win the prestigious trophy in the motorcycle class not only once but twice in the span of 4 years! Winning the Dakar is never easy and it takes a mix almost superhuman skills, like raw speed, consistency and the ability to navigate unknown and unpredictable terrain.
Luck is always a big factor, too, as many unexpected obstacles challenge the riders for the 14 days of brutal racing in the desolate lands of Saudi Arabia, and some sort of freak accident or mechanical failure is constantly luring behind the next sand dune.
The collective effort of the Givi sponsored Honda HRC Rally Team was also a thing of beauty, as the “Red Riders” dominated the prologue and 7 of the 12 stages. Worth to mention that there was only one stage where none of the Honda guys landed on the podium, and in 2 occasions they “swept the steps” taking 1st, 2nd and 3rd position.
The rally turned almost immediately into a two-rider fight between Brabec and the Botswanan Ross Branch, aboard the Indian made Hero Motorsport factory bike. The two raced head to head for most of the two weeks and at the end of a 8,000 km race, just over 10 minutes separated them.
Congratulations to the Californian, but a big component of his victory comes from the fact that not only he could consistently finish each stage in the top positions, but his Honda teammates would also be right there with him, helping with navigation and somewhat “protect” him along the way.
Check out the impressive group performance of the Honda riders: rookie Spaniard Tosha Schareina won the prologue, Chilean young gun Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Cornejo - master of the road book - took victory in three stages and he was leading the general standings for a while, before being slowed down by a fuel pump failure. Frenchman Adrien Van Beveren, who joined the Team at the end of 2023, also scored a couple of stage victories, while the other Chilean rider in the Team, veteran Pablo Quintanilla, left his winning mark on stage 5. Honestly, if you are Honda Team Manager Ruben Faria, what more can you ask from your squad?
In all truth, it’s evident that this victory was not just an individual triumph for Brabec but a collective success for the Monster Energy Honda Rally Team, that can now celebrate their impressive performance knowing that they have the top rider, the top squad and the best machinery to take even more wins in the 2024 World Rally Championship.
In other related news, Italian Jacopo Cerutti took the victory at the Africa Eco Race, the rally raid that follows the original itinerary of the Paris-Dakar Rally in the Black Continent. Givi supported rider Alessandro ‘Bottu’ Botturi finished close second aboard his factory Yamaha, putting up a fierce battle all the way to the shores of the legendary Lake Rose near Dakar, Senegal.