Monster Energy Honda Rally Team riders Kevin Benavides and Mathias Bellino, have both crashed out of the 2018 Desafío Ruta 40 race after separate accidents.
The two incidents which occurred at the Desafío Ruta 40 continue a major run of crashes for the Honda Rally Team in recent months. The latest two come as serious blows to both the leader of the Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, Benevides, and the fledgling rally career of Bellino in his first event for Honda.
Kevin Benavides was involved in an accident at kilometre 60 in the first stage of the Desafío Ruta 40, suffering a hard blow to the head. After spending twenty-four hours under observation Kevin was sent to the hospital in Salta, his home town, to continue medical examinations.
During the second stage of his first ever rally, whilst holding second place on the day, Mathias Bellino, crashed in a rocky section near kilometre 168. Mathias remained on the ground after taking a very heavy impact to his back. It seems Bellino has suffered the most serious injury, the extent of which is being withheld out of respect to Mathias at present.
On top of previous back injuries sustained during his successful career in motocross and world enduro, the Frenchman was never-the-less reportedly conscious at all times and saw many riders stop to offer assistance.
A Honda team statement explains: “The rider [Bellino] remained on the ground after taking a very heavy impact in the back area. Once he had been attended to by the race medical services, he was transferred to the hospital in Belén for further checks.”
Mathias has since been transfered to Buenos Aires where, after being treated at a well-known clinic in the Argentine capital, he underwent an operation on Thursday morning for a serious back injury.
The HRC team report continues: “Mathias has been conscious at all times. Out of respect for both rider and family, Monster Energy Honda Team will not offer further statement regarding his condition until a final report on the extent of the injury has been officially issued.
“Monster Energy Honda Team would like to offer our most sincere thanks to the riders who stopped on the track to help our riders and also for the great show of support which has been received.”
These two incidents come on the back of continued injuries resulting from crashes for Honda rider, Joan Barreda. His most recent crash came during stage one of his comeback ride from a serious wrist injury at the Atacama Rally last week. During that crash Barreda fractured his nose, cheekbone and re-injured his recovering wrist.
The sport of rally remains among the toughest test of riders on the planet with so many elements conflicting with the basic instinct to get from A to B as fast as possible.
All riders in this increasingly fast sport take the risks and, at times, suffer the consequences but it’s hard not to think the Honda team riders are displaying a worrying trend. At the very least it is yet another blow for the Honda team in their quest for rally success.
Enduro21 wishes all riders a genuine get well soon and we’ll see you back on track asap.Photo Credit: Edoardo Bauer/Rally Zone
Jon PearsonEnduro21 Editor and Bike Testerjon.firstname.lastname@example.org