Despite losing a handlebar in a crash, Joan Barreda was able to maintain his overall lead yesterday in the motorcycle category of the 2015 Dakar Rally.
Today, however, “Bang Bang” has likely seen the end of his hopes to dethrone defending champion Marc Coma.
While he was able to secure a spare handlebar from fellow Honda rider Demian Guiral before the start of today’s Stage 8 for the bikes, an apparent mechanical failure is set to send him tumbling down the standings.
Barreda’s issue was severe enough to require a tow from Jeremias Israel, one of his teammates on Honda’s factory HRC team:
Additionally, poor weather conditions on the run from Uyuni, Bolivia to Iquique, Chile have caused today’s stage to be cut short at 378 kilometers.
Barreda is not the only rider to have suffered today. Multiple competitors including 2014 Dakar runner-up Jordi Viladoms, Yamaha riders Michael Metge and Alessandro Botturi, and Daniel Gouet have all been forced to bow out of the event with assorted problems. All four of them had been situated within the Top 20 of the overall standings.
We’ll have more on what’s turning out to be a big afternoon at the Dakar later today…