Honda rider Ricky Brabec, who won a stage at this year’s Dakar Rally, has captured the victory in last week’s Sonora Rally, held March 21-24 in Sonora, Mexico.
He led all four of the special stages in a start-to-finish romp for victory.
Despite Joan Barreda and Steve Hengeveld’s injuries that ruled them out of the rally, Brabec still had to focus on the job at hand.
“You are really racing against yourself out here, against the terrain,” he said in a release. “I’m much more familiar now with open up a course than I was back in January at Dakar when I had to do it for the first time.”
Fellow Honda riders Mark Samuels and Andrew Short completed the podium. Samuels won the Sonora Rally’s Dakar Challenge, which presents a free opportunity for a rider to enter the 2018 Dakar Rally.
“The hard work of getting to Dakar is still ahead of me, but I will do everything in my power to make America proud,” Samuels said.
Polaris ATR rider Dave Sykes won the UTV class, with Eric Pucelik and Mike Shirley winning the Cars class.
On background, the Sonora Rally is the only event of its kind in North America. The rally raid format requires street legal vehicles to transit along untimed “liaison” sections and timed “special stages” over multiple days, with the lowest combined time winning the event. Now in its third year, the Sonora Rally realizes the vision of founders Scott Whitney and Darren Skilton to bring a world class rally raid event to these shores (2016 recap).
Brabec’s winning ride is captured in the below video, via Race-Dezert.
The 2017 Sonora Rally came to a completion in San Luis Rio Colorado on Friday, as Ricky Brabec led the rally from start to finish, winning all four special stages. Honda swept the podium, with Mark Samuels finishing second and Supercross veteran Andrew Short coming in third. Though they finished after the cutoff time, Dave Sykes and navigator Scott Steinberger's tenacity was enough to allow Sykes to repeat as the UTV winner. He dedicated the win to prior navigator Ramsey Elwardini, who passed away unexpectedly last year.
Posted by Race-Dezert on Saturday, March 25, 2017
Meanwhile, because photos do this event more justice than words do, those are below (All Photos: Sonora Rally)