Kevin Benavides wins the 2021 Dakar Rally
aboard the GIVI sponsored Monster Energy Honda HRC CRF450 Rally.
Great news from Saudi Arabia, as the Monster Energy Honda HRC Rally Team secures the second win in a row of the prestigious Dakar Rally. Kevin Benavides was fast and consistent and finally conquered the elusive trophy that so many times escaped him during the previous editions. The Argentinean is the first South American ever to win the 12 days long rally, the race that is unanimously considered the hardest of them all.
Kevin won his first Dakar Rally after a hard fought battle with teammate and last year’s winner Ricky Brabec, who despite a brilliant start in the prologue made a few navigation mistakes and at some point sank all the way to 15th place in the overall standings.
Benavides and Brabec arrived at the last stage separated by a few minutes (after almost two full weeks of riding!) and the final day was a true nail biter for the whole Team, especially after the many heartbreaking experiences during the South American editions, when the Honda squad’s victory was denied at the last second for some freaky accident or technical failure.
Regardless of the many up and downs, the 2021 edition of the Dakar was a display of total dominance by the GIVI sponsored Monster Energy Honda HRC Rally Team, with multiple stage wins and even full podium sweeps. The other two HRC factory riders, Spaniard Joan Barreda and Chilean Ignacio Cornejo, were also absolute protagonists, and even led the overall standings at some point, scoring stage victories and brilliant placements. Unfortunately, crashes and mistakes forced them out of the race just a few days before the end, right when the final overall victory seemed within reach.
The 2021 edition, the second in the Arabic peninsula after the race left South America, will go in the books as one of the hardest ever, even when compared to the glorious editions of the “golden era” when the competition used to start in Paris and end on the Lac Rose (Rose Lake) in Senegal, near Dakar, after endless and grueling stages in the North African desert.
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Photos © Honda Racing Corporation