Dakar: Goncalves wins Stage 7 for bikes; Barreda finishes with one handlebar after crash (VIDEO)

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Honda and KTM could each hang their hats on something following the resumption of motorcycle action in the 2015 Dakar Rally following Saturday’s rest day in Iquique, Chile.

Sunday was the riders’ turn to make the high-altitude climb toward Uyuni, Bolivia and begin their own two-day “marathon” stage, where competitors cannot receive help from their assistance teams (only help between the riders themselves is authorized).

The day ended in a split decision for the top manufacturers in the category. Paulo Goncalves put a Honda at the top with a tight, 14-second victory over KTM rider and defending Dakar champ Marc Coma.

But Coma cut his own deficit in the overall standings to Honda’s Joan Barreda in half to a margin of six minutes, 28 seconds.

That’s because Barreda crashed at the 200 kilometer mark of the special stage and was forced to ride the remaining 120 km with just one handlebar.

https://twitter.com/RallyTeamHRC/status/554400135476961281/photo/1

“You’ve got to stay super-focused in stages like this one. But even so… The road book contained a danger warning, without specifying whether it was level 1, 2 or 3,” said Barreda, who finished 10th on Sunday.

“I saw it from quite far away and I started braking 100 meters before it, but the mud caused the motorcycle to slide and I hit the obstacle. I was sent flying…I rode 120 kilometers with just one hand. My motorcycle also stopped at another time and I lost a further four minutes. After that, I pulled out all the stops. With one hand…”

Honda can take some solace in Goncalves’ win, his first of the 2015 Dakar. The Portuguese rider also made inroads on teammate Barreda and is now just under 11 minutes behind him at third in the overall.

“It was a very hard stage,” Goncalves reported. “I caught the riders in front of me and stayed with them because they were setting a strong pace. It started raining halfway through the stage, and it got very slippery and dangerous.

“With about fifty kilometers to go, I got a horrible headache, but I got here with the motorcycle safe and sound. Now it’s time to rest and, at any rate, get to work a bit as there’s mud all over the motorcycle.”

KTM riders made up the rest of the Top 5 behind Goncalves – Coma in second, Matthias Walkner in third, Pablo Quintanilla in fourth, and Toby Price in fifth.

NBCSN’s coverage of the Dakar Rally continues with Stage 7A/8A/8B highlights on Monday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. ET.

2015 Dakar Rally – Overall Standings, Motorcycles
(After Stage 7 – Iquique to Uyuni)

1. 2-Joan Barreda (Honda), 25hrs, 40mins, 48secs
2. 1-Marc Coma (KTM), + 6mins, 28secs
3. 7-Paulo Goncalves (Honda), + 10mins, 59secs
4. 31-Pablo Quintanilla (KTM), + 25mins, 16secs
5. 26-Toby Price (KTM), + 29mins, 20secs
6. 5-Helder Rodrigues (Honda), + 33mins, 56secs
7. 18-Stefan Svitko (KTM), + 40mins, 23secs
8. 11-Ruben Faria (KTM), + 40mins, 55secs
9. 14-Alain Duclos (Sherco), + 1hr, 5mins, 31secs
10. 9-David Casteu (KTM), + 1hr, 16mins, 52secs

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
Barry Chin / Getty Images
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

How to Watch Nitro Rallycross

Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.