Dakar Stage 3 Highlights: Joan Barreda suffers crushing defeat

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Joan Barreda suffered a crushing disappointment in Stage 3 of the Dakar Rally. Entering the 206-mile stage as the overall leader, he dropped down a deep embankment in the fog and became stuck at the bottom of a basin. Unable to extract his motorcycle, he was forced to call for the helicopter and will retire from the rally for the fourth time in nine tries. It was his third retirement in the past four years.

The two overall leaders entering the stage also had trouble. Matthias Walkner and Ricky Brabec placed the blame on the road book, stating that a way point was not where the book showed it to be.

When Carlos Sainz and Giniel de Villiers also got stuck in the sand, they lost major time that allowed Stephane Peterhansel to win the stage and move up in the overall standings.

Here are some of the other highlights:

In the cars class, Stephane Peterhansel scored his 42nd career stage victory in a car by 3:26 over Nasser Al-Attiyah. … Still, given the struggles by Al-Attiyah in Stage 2, this was a notable rebound that allowed him to take over the overall lead. Jakub Przygonski rounded out the podium. … Carlos Sainz nearly lost his front after hitting a ditch about 23 miles into the stage and finished the stage 36th, more than four hours behind the leader; de Villiers finished 40th. Finishing just off the podium, Saudi Yazeed Al Rahji moved up to second overall. In four previous attempts in the Dakar, he has failed to finish twice. … Robby Gordon broke a differential and lost hours making repairs – finishing the stage 83rd. He now trails the overall leader by more than 14 hours.

“The rally is over for us,” Sainz said at Dakar.com. “We fell into a hole and broke the suspension. I’m sad and disappointed, but that’s the way it is. This is what happens in the Dakar.”

Overall: Al-Attiyah holds an advantage of 6:48 over Yazeed Al Rajhi and 7:03 over Peterhansel.

In motorcycles, Xavier de Soultrait became the third different rider to win the first three stages, but he did so by a whisker of only 15 seconds over Pablo Quintanilla. … Kevin Benavides finished third, which elevated him to second in the overall standings. … Matthias Walkner strayed off course and lost 21 minutes, which dropped him from second overall to eight. He trails Quintanilla by 21:14. … America’s Andrew Short finished 10th on the stage. … When Walkner lost his way, he took Ricky Brabec with him. Brabec finished 12th on the stage.

Overall: Quintanilla holds an advantage of 11:23 over Benavides and 12:12 over Sam Sunderland.

“It was difficult with the fog,” Sunderland said at Dakar.com. “For me, the road book was more or less good, but the problem was on the plateau, with the fog, you couldn’t see. This was the issue so … You really couldn’t see two/three meters in front of you. Finally, I stopped and took my goggles off and I was able to see a bit better. Yeah, a lot of chaos, after that everyone was in a group and everyone was going in front. But yeah, I’m sure we have many more days to come. This is the Dakar, it’s what it’s all about, tough times and up and downs, some carnage in the stage. Really, I just try to take each day as it comes … and try to avoid mistakes.”

In side by sides Gerard Farres Guell scored an easy victory over Francisco Lopez Contardo with an advantage of more than two minutes. … Sergei Kariakin finished 4:42 behind the leader. … Casey Currie finished 11 and half minutes back in fourth.

“Stage 3 was gnarly,” said Casey Currie in the daily highlight show on NBCSN. “The elevation changes in the beginning felt like we should be up where it should be snowing. We went on a really tight rocky road – single line all the way to the top of this mountain … and then we got into some nasty, soft sand. We just pushed all day.”

Overall: Contardo holds an advantage of 3:24 over Guell and 8:06 over Kariakin.

In quads, The top three drivers at the end of this stage are also the top contenders overall. Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli scored his first stage win of 2019 and sits second in the overall. … Nicolas Cavigliasso’s second-place in the stage was enough the secure the overall lead with Gustavo Gallego rounding out the podium.

Overall: Cavigliasso holds an advantage of 29:52 over Ferioli and 30:20 over Gallego.

In trucks, Kamaz dominated the stage with a sweep of the top three. Andrey Karginov won after four hours, 26 minutes and 49 seconds. Dmitry Sotnikov and Eduard Nikolaev rounded out the top three. Federico Villagra took his Iveco for Team De Rooy to fourth.

Overall: Nikolaev holds an advantage of 8:25 over Sotnikov and 14:12 over Villagra.

Stage Wins

Motorcycles: [1] Joan Barreda (Stage 1) and [1] Matthias Walkner (Stage 2) and [1] Xavier de Soultrait (Stage 3)
Quads: [2] Nicolas Cavigliasso (Stage 1 and 2) and [1] Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli (Stage 3)
Cars: [1] Nasser Al-Attiyah (Stage 1), [1] Sebastien Loeb (Stage 2) [1] Stephane Peterhansel (Stage 3)
Side-by-sides: [1] Reinaldo Varela (Stage 1), [1] Francisco Lopez Contardo (Stage 2) and [1] Gerard Farres Guell (Stage 3)
Trucks: (2) Eduard Nikolaev (Stage 1 and 2) and [1] Andrey Karginov (Stage 3)

For more watch the daily highlight show on NBCSN. Click here for the complete schedule.

Or check out the streaming show at 6:30-7 p.m. by clicking this link.

Eli Tomac’s near-perfect season ended perfectly

ProMotocross.com
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From the start, Eli Tomac wanted to go into the season-ending race at Ironman Raceway with the 2020 red plate already in his possession. That final race has been know to devolve into muddy conditions and it is best not to leave things to chance.

For a rider with an almost perfect record of overall podium finishes, one would not have thought there would be much drama at the end of Round 11 at Budds Creek, but it took until the last lap of the final moto for Tomac to achieve his goal.

One reason was that Tomac’s near-perfect season was not so perfect. From the very beginning at Hangtown, Tomac struggled with poor starts to his events. Getting a bad jump out of the gate and finishing fourth in Moto 1 that weekend was not the auspicious beginning he wanted in search of his third consecutive 450 outdoor championship.

The hallmark of Tomac’s season has been overcoming bad starts. He rode through the field at Hangtown and nearly stood on the podium. Then he won Moto 2 and finished second overall. It was his first of nine consecutive overall podiums. Tomac came back the following week for a perfect sweep at Pala.

In Round 3, Tomac once again got off to a bad start. He finished fifth in Moto 1 at Thunder Valley – and then won Moto 2 in a duplication of his opening round.

In Round 5, Tomac had his worst performance until that time. He finished seventh in Moto 1. Nearly halfway through the season, a pattern was firmly established with his Moto 2 win.

Vanessa O’Brien, Kawasaki USA

One should recall that the hallmark of Tomac’s season was strong finishes. Four the next four weeks Tomac failed to podium only one time in a moto. On that occasion, he would stumble in Moto 2 at Spring Creek in Round 8 before scoring his second perfect race at Washougal.

And that is where it got interesting. Tomac left Washougal with a 50-point advantage over Marvin Musquin. It was just the scenario Tomac had seesawed his way through the season to achieve. But it was too good to be true.

In most of his previous bad performances, there was an extenuating circumstance for Tomac’s bad start: a fall or an off course excursion. This time, he simply rode an uninspired race and finished seventh again to match his worst single moto performance. He could not fully rebound in Moto 2 and finished third.

For the first time in 2019, Tomac failed to stand on the overall podium in fourth. Worse still, he lost 10 points to Musquin and no longer had his one-race cushion.

But this is a season of recovery for Tomac. At Budds Creek last week it was reported that Tomac’s lackluster performance in Washington was due to his overdoing his chores on his Colorado ranch. Rested and restored, Tomac scored his third perfect race with Moto 1 & 2 wins. And this time, he looked sharper than he had in any previous race.

Tomac did all the could do by winning both motos, but in the closing laps at Budds Creek he needed a little help to clinch the title. As it turned out, Tomac needed the perfect performance to clinch his third consecutive championship.

In Moto 1, he narrowly edged Ken Roczen and Musquin, to give the three championship contenders a sweep of the top three spots; that was not enough to regain his cushion.

Roczen was close enough to force Tomac into The Ironman needing to score points to permanently affix the red plate on his Kawasaki in 2020, but just as Tomac’s season has been marked by second half improvements, Roczen’s has been marred by a lack of performance in the second motos.

Musquin passed Roczen late in Moto 2 last week and could have extended the drama one more week if he could have caught second-place Jason Anderson. Musquin could not erase an 11-second deficit to the runner-up and now Tomac’s almost perfect season has a distinctly perfect feel to it.

Vanessa O’Brien, Kawasaki USA

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