Dakar Rally heads to Saudi Arabia in 2020

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The legendary Dakar Rally will take place in Saudi Arabia beginning next year, with event organizer ASO revealing the route during a news conference in the Saudi city of Al-Qiddiya on Thursday.

Beginning on Jan. 5 in Jeddah, the west coast city that is the country’s second largest, the rally will traverse more than 5,500 miles in 12 stages before concluding on Jan. 17 in Al-Qiddiya.

A rest day is scheduled for Jan. 11 in Riyadh.

The route features many sand dunes similar to last year’s event in Peru, but the opening stages of the event will feature a more mountainous terrain.

The Dakar Rally previously had taken place in South America since 2009. The famous rally originally was held primarily in Africa but was relocated after threats of terrorism in Mauritania led event organizers to cancel the 2008 event.

The current contract for Saudi Arabia to host the rally is for the next five years.

Coverage of the 2020 Dakar Rally will air in January on NBCSN.

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Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.