The official entry list for Dakar Rally 2019 reveals 149 moto riders competing in Peru, January 6-17.
“Massive sandy sectors” will be the biggest feature for competitors in 2019 Dakar Rally run entirely in Peru. Rally race director, Etienne Lavigne, has compared the 41st edition of the world’s biggest off road event to the Vendée Globe, an epic single-handed boat race. Reflecting the Dakar taking place only in Peru is like racing “only in the roaring 40s,” says Lavigne pointing at the severity of the sandy challenge.
In all, 334 vehicles will take to the race start on January 7, facing 5,000 kilometres, including 3,000 of special stage across 10 stages of racing.
In the motorcycle category, KTM’s 2018 Dakar winner Matthais Walkner, Cross-Country Rallies World Champion Toby Price and 2017 Dakar winner Sam Sunderland head the challenge.
Hondas again face up to the orange army with 2018 Dakar runner-up Kevin Benavides a strong bet alongside veteran Paulo Gonçalves and the unpredictable Joan Barreda.
Yamaha riders Adrien van Beveren and Javier De Soultrait will be keen to make amends for 2018, van Beveren was leading when a riverbed ejected him from his WR450F Rally machine and out of the event.
That’s not forgetting the Husqvarna assault. Pablo Quintanilla is an equally strong favourite for the 2019 Dakar win, with the sandy conditions very familiar to the Chilean rider.
Female riders will again be headed by Laia Sanz – a total of 17 women is the largest entry since the beginning of the Dakar’s South American era.
A total 135 competitors will be newcomers in 2019 (all classes), allowing 97 vehicles, (30% of the field) to compete for rookie of the year honours. Arguably that points to a drop in entries from established competitors but it sure will be interesting times for those racing their first Dakar in those conditions.
The SxS category has taken off this year with 30 entrants in all, and a battle that promises to be a tight one between former quad category winner Sergey Karyakin, retired bike rider Gerard Farrés (third in 2017) and the star of American off-road Casey Currie.
Dakar Rally 2019 rider (moto) official entry list:
Photo Credit: RallyZone
Jon PearsonEnduro21 Editor and Bike Testerjon.email@example.com