Dakar: Joan Barreda nets second stage win, extends overall lead in bikes (VIDEO)


Honda rider Joan Barreda has stretched his overall lead in the Dakar Rally after picking up his second stage win of the 2015 edition in Wednesday’s Stage 4.

Barreda (pictured, right, with Dakar race director Etienne Lavigne) took the 315 km run from Chilecito, Argentina to Copiapo, Chile with a time of 3 hours, 27 minutes, 28 seconds, just under two minutes quicker than defending Dakar champion and KTM rider Marc Coma.

Coma has moved up to second in the overall standings following tough outings from Paulo Goncalves (12th in stage, +14:56) and Tuesday’s winner, Matthias Walkner (22nd in stage, +22:55).

Nonetheless, Barreda has put additional distance on Coma and now holds the overall lead over him by a margin of 12 minutes, 49 seconds. The two title rivals from one year ago are fighting each other again for glory.

“I’m delighted,” Barreda said. “The first part of the stage was a very fast but complicated track. Marc was ahead and it was very difficult to catch up with him. I stayed focused and motivated. I caught up with him towards kilometer 100 and eased into a solid pace. We tackled dunes and navigation was difficult. Marc and I finished together.

“I’ve got a good strategy. We’re in control. The next few days will be extremely tough. Actually, there’s a big chunk of Dakar left and we know there are tricky situations ahead.

“We know that if we keep an eye on Marc, we’ll follow a strong pace, because he’s the reference.”

Coma admitted that Wednesday’s run was “grueling” but felt that he still turned in a good performance. And he remains confident that he can reel in Barreda.

“…I started second. I knew I had to avoid mistakes at all costs, considering my place in the overall,” he said. “I tried to go as fast as possible and soon I was opening the road. At the end, I spent all day long at the front.

“The first part was quite tough – Matthias got lost towards the start of the stage. The last part featured lots of changes of direction and course. In fact, this type of situation is my cup of tea when riding in the desert.

“I’ll keep this solid pace up and I’ll inject some speed to force mistakes and problems in others, hoping not to suffer any myself.”

Entering his home soil today, KTM rider Pablo Quintanilla took the final step of the podium in Wednesday’s stage at 2 minutes, 49 seconds back of Barreda. Coma’s factory KTM teammates, Jordi Viladoms (fourth in stage, +10:44) and Ruben Faria (fifth in stage, +10:55), completed the Top 5.

As Coma mentioned, Walkner came back to Earth after winning Tuesday in just his third career Dakar stage.

The Austrian’s time at the first checkpoint was five minutes slower than those of Coma and Barreda. Combined with his later navigational errors, he lost 23 minutes on Wednesday and slipped from third to eighth in the overall.

Likely a happier rider after Wednesday was Honda’s Laia Sanz, who finished eighth in the stage at almost 14 minutes behind factory Honda teammate Barreda. She’s been putting in steady work so far in her fourth Dakar, with finishes of 16th, 16th, and 17th before today’s jump into the Top-10. In the overall, she’s now 12th.

NBCSN’s coverage of the Dakar Rally continues with Stage 4 highlights tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. ET.

2015 Dakar Rally – Overall Standings, Motorcycles
(After Stage 4 – Chilecito to Copiapo)
1. 2-Joan Barreda (Honda), 13hrs, 10mins, 33secs
2. 1-Marc Coma (KTM), + 12mins, 49secs
3. 7-Paulo Goncalves (Honda), + 20mins, 29secs
4. 11-Ruben Faria (KTM), + 23 mins, 5secs
5. 4-Jordi Viladoms (KTM), + 24mins, 51secs
6. 31-Pablo Quintanilla (KTM), + 30mins, 42secs
7. 26-Toby Price (KTM), + 32mins, 5secs
8. 27-Matthias Walkner (KTM), + 33mins, 28secs
9. 14-Alain Duclos (Sherco), + 36mins, 31secs
10. 5-Helder Rodrigues (Honda), + 39mins, 5secs

Heather Lyne, Dennis Erb Jr. make history in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series

Lyne Erb Outlaws Late
Jacy Norgaard / World of Outlaws

More than two decades in the making, the pairing of Heather Lyne and Dennis Erb Jr. produced a historical milestone in Dirt Late Model.

Last month, Erb and his long-time crew chief Lyne won their first World of Outlaws Late Model Championship and with this achievement, Lyne became the first female crew chief to win in a national late model series. Their journey together goes back 21 years and tells the story of hard work, persistence and belief in oneself.

After a career-best season with the World of Outlaws, Erb and Lyne secured the points championship at US 36 Raceway in Osborn, Mo. with three races remaining in the season. The consistency and success of their season came down to pinpoint focus. Lyne and Erb are a team of two living out a David vs. Goliath tale. In order to be as successful as possible this year the duo knew they had to do as much as possible with the resources they had.

“It’s always a challenge when you only have two people, both at the racetrack and at the shop,” Lyne told NBC Sports. “I also work full time, so during the day, Dennis has to do a significant amount of work so that when I get down there I can start working and maintaining. It’s planning ahead. It’s having that system in place and making sure that you’re prepared ahead of time.

“When you have a problem at the track, making sure you have all that stuff ready so it’s a quick change and not a lengthy process to make a repair. We had zero DNFs in the World of Outlaws, we had only one DNF out of 96 races [combined among all series].”

Dennis Erb clinched his 2022 championship before the World of Outlaws World Finals. Jacy Norgaard – World of Outlaws Late Model Series.

Taming Time

This was not an easy feat. Between a full travel schedule and Lyne’s full-time job as an engineer, time comes at a premium. What they lack in time and resources they made up for in patience and planning.

“We buckled down, and we got all the equipment that we needed back, motors freshened, and things of that nature,” Lyne said about the mid-point of last season. “We were able to keep up with that. We just had a higher focus. I tried to reduce my hours at my day job as much as I possibly could while still maintaining what I need to get done at work. I got rid of a lot of the other distractions and got a more refined system in place at the shop.

“We did certain tasks on certain days so we had time to recover. We were on the road a little bit more, as opposed to coming home to the shop. So we had to be more prepared to stay out on those longer runs. It was just really staying on top of things a little more. It was a heightened sense.”

This was Lyne and Erb’s fourth full season with the Outlaws, but they’ve been on the road together for the last 21 seasons starting in 2001. Their partnership began with Lyne’s bravery. When one door closed, she was quick to open another. In 2001, Lyne’s dad was ready to stop racing. Her mother wanted to regain her weekends, but Lyne knew this was her life path and wasn’t prepared to lose it.

“I’ve always been a tomboy at heart,” Lyne said. “I watched racing with my dad. Growing up he watched NASCAR. In high school, I got tired of playing at the lake house, so I went to the local dirt track and fell in love with it. I just couldn’t get enough. It took a year for me to convince my dad to come to the track with me. He finally did and we sponsored a car that year, the following year he started to race limited cars. He ran hobby stocks and limited late models.”

At some point, Lyne and her father’s level of commitment drifted apart.

“He did it for about five years,” Lyne said. “And then my mom said: ‘I’m done racing. I want my weekends back. It’s just not fun anymore.’ I wasn’t ready to hang up my wenches and Dennis raced out of the same hometown so I, on a dare, went down and introduced myself; told him if you ever need any help, I’ll drill out rivets, I’ll help wash, whatever you need. Twenty-one years later here I am.”

Heather Lyne became the first female crew chief to secure a national touring late model championship in 2022. Paul Arch / World of Outlaws Late Model Series.

Breaking Through

Lyne entered a male-dominated job in a field that is also male-dominated – and where there were few examples of women creating these places for themselves. In this way, Lyne became a blueprint for other women as they strive to find a place for themselves in racing and in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) overall. She has her mother to thank for providing a strong role model, her father for sharing her passion, Erb for taking a chance on an unknow entity and most importantly herself.

“I was raised to believe that I can do anything, I want to do, as long as I put my heart and soul into it.” Lyne replied when asked about role models in the sport growing up. “My parents did not raise me to have that limitation. But from a racing role model perspective, I went in there completely green and just introduced myself to Dennis, the fact that he was brave enough to take that risk and bring a girl to the racetrack. Someone he didn’t know at all speaks volumes for him.”

Lyne and Erb have learned how to survive and succeed with each other on the road. They do this by leveraging decades of combined experience and an ability to adapt to the everchanging landscape of dirt late models. Next year the World of Outlaws visits nearly a dozen new tracks and Lyne sees it as an opportunity for continued success.

“I just want to do it again,” Lyne says going into next season, “I’m looking forward to the competition, I always do. I wouldn’t do it if I wasn’t competitively driven.

“There are some new tracks on the schedule that I’m looking forward to trying for the first time that I haven’t been to myself,” Lyne said of the 2023 season, “Dennis seems to do well on those first timers. We won out at Marion center, we finished second at Bloomsburg. We have a good solid notebook of information to tackle them over the last three years with these rocket race cars that we’re running. It’s good to have that information and leverage it to try some new things.”