Dakar Rally, Stage 7: Ricky Brabec scores first stage win; Skyler Howes finishes third


As the Dakar Rally enters its second half, Ricky Brabec scored his first win in Stage 7. Based on his experience in the first six stages, that is not the position he wanted, however.

Navigation has been cited as an issue in each stage of the 2021 Dakar Rally, which leaves Brabec and the other competitors playing a game of cat and mouse.

“I think the strategy is to not open!” Brabec said in a release after completing the stage. “I think everyone that’s opening is just losing a little bit of time. So we’re trying our best. We just have to stay focused.”

“There’s five days left, and we’re going to try just to finish in the top seven every day and see if we can make up a little bit of time.”

While Brabec may not be happy about opening the course, his Stage 7 victory vaulted him five spots from 13th to eighth and closed the gap to leader Jose Florimo by 2 minutes, 7 seconds.

Florimo finished second in Stage 7.

Brabec’s strategy has been one of consistency so far, but that often brings its own kind of speed.

“Definitely didn’t feel like we were finishing up front, but it’s good to get this feeling,” Brabec said on Instagram.

HOW TO WATCH ON NBCSN: Information, schedules for the Dakar Rally

It was also a good day for American privateer Skyler Howes, who finished only 12 seconds behind Florimo. On the strength of his third-place finish, Howes climbed to seventh in the standings with 12 minutes, 27 seconds to be made up on the leader.

“Things were kinda dicey this morning in the wet camel grass,” Howes said in an Instagram post. “Felt like I was on edge for the first 100km. A lot of swaps and bucks going on. But after we got out into the desert and the dirt dried up I started feeling good!

“A lot of the stage looked just like Utah so I felt right at home.”

In other divisions Sunday:

Cars: There was a new winner in cars as well.

Yazeed Al Rajhi beat overall leader Stephane Peterhansel to the final checkpoint but was able to shave only 48 seconds off his lead. It was the second career stage win for the Saudi driver and the first of his 2021 rally.

“Now, I just want to do well every day, that’s our goal,” Al Rajhi said afterward.

Peterhansel finished second in Stage 7 while Nasser Al-Attiyah, the driver second in the overall standings, was 2 minutes behind in fourth. Peterhansel would have gained more distance on his rival if not for the time he lost repairing a wheel after hitting a rock 25 miles from the finish.

Al-Attiyah also had a difficult stage.

“Tackling the marathon stage after a rest day wasn’t easy,” he said. “We suffered a flat tire and, from then on, we were extra cautious to avoid breaking things. We’re still close to Stephane, and there’s a long way to go. It’s hard to beat a buggy with a 4×4.”

Carlos Sainz finished third in the stage and kept his third-place overall ranking.

Side by sides/lightweight/light prototypes: Francisco Lopez Contardo was back on top with his third stage win of the season. He beat Stage 2 winner Saleh Alsaif by 5 minutes, 12 seconds. No other driver has more than one stage win.

With this win, he gained 10 minutes, 30 seconds on leader Aron Domzala, who finished fifth in the stage, but Contardo remains third in the overall standings.

American Austin Jones entered the stage a mere 40 seconds behind Domzala, but his seventh-place finish in Stage 7 was more than 9 minutes off the leader’s pace. During the rest day, Jones said his strategy was to avoid mistakes and ‘do the right thing at the right time’, and that he expects to do better in the rockier stages.

Quads: Manuel Andujar became the second rider to win multiple stages, but the major storyline for this class was the departure of Nicolas Cavigliasso.

Cavigliasso broke a clutch with less than 60 miles remaining in the stage and was forced to retire. That handed the overall lead to Andujar by an advantage of 20 minutes, 55 seconds over Alexandre Giroud.

Trucks: For the second consecutive stage, the Kamaz-Master team swept the podium. This time it was Dmitry Sotnikov across the line first, ahead of Airat Mardeev and Anton Shibalov. Sotnikov’s fourth stage win gave him a comfortable lead of 45 minutes, 56 seconds over Shibalov.

STAGE 1 RESULTSCarlos Sainz, Toby Price open with victories

STAGE 2Ricky Brabec jumps to second; Andrew Short withdraws

STAGE 3American privateer Skyler Howes takes lead

STAGE 4Four Stages, four bike winners; Al-Attiyah wins three consecutive in cars

STAGE 5: Kevin Benavides new leader in bikes

STAGE 6: Toby Price retakes the lead; Peterhansel distances the competition


Cars: Nasser Al-Attiyah 3 (Stages 2, 3, 4); Carlos Sainz 2 (Stage 1, 6); Giniel de Villiers (Stage 5); Yazeed Al Rajhi (Stage 7)

Bikes: Joan Barreda 3 (Stage 2, 4, 6); Toby Price 2 (Stages 1, 3); Kevin Benavides (Stage 5); Ricky Brabec (Stage 7)

Side-by-sides: Francisco Lopez Contardo 3 (Stage 3, 5, 7); Austin Jones (Stage 1); Saleh Alsaif (Stage 2); Aron Domzala (Stage 4); Khalifa Al Attiyah (Stage 6)

Lightweight prototypes: Seth Quintero 4 (Stage 2, 3, 5, 6); Cristina Gutierrez Herrero 2 (Stage 1, 7); Kris Meeke (Stage 4)

Quads: Nicolas Cavigliasso 2 (Stage 3, 5); Manuel Andujar 2 (Stage 4, 7); Alexandre Giroud 2 (Stage 1, 6); Pablo Copetti (Stage 2)

Trucks: Dmitry Sotnikov 4 (Stage 1, 2, 4, 7); Siarhei Viazovich (Stage 3); Andrey Karginov (Stage 5); Airat Mardeev (Stage 6)

Watch highlights from Stage 7 of the Dakar Rally on NBCSN at 6:30 p.m. ET today.

Peacock to stream all Supercross and Motocross races in 2023, plus inaugural SuperMotocross Championship

Peacock Supercross Motocross 2023
Feld Entertainment, Inc.

NBC Sports and Feld Motor Sports announced that Peacock and the NBC family of networks will stream all 31 races of the combined Monster Energy Supercross, Lucas Oil Pro Motocross and the newly created SuperMotocross World Championship beginning January 7, 2023 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California and ending October 14 in the place where Supercross was born: the Los Angeles Coliseum.

The combined series will create a 10-month calendar of events, making it one of the longest professional sports’ seasons in the United States.

The agreement is for multiple years. The season finale will air live on Peacock and the USA Network.

Peacock will present live coverage of all races, qualifying and heats across both series. The 31 total races will mark a record for the combined number of Supercross and Pro Motocross events that NBC Sports will present in a single season.

NBC, USA Network and CNBC will provide coverage of all races, including the SuperMotocross World Championship Playoffs and Final, through 2023 and beyond. For more information about the Peacock streaming service, click here.

“With our wide array of live and original motorsports offerings, Peacock is a natural home for Supercross and Pro Motocross races,” said Rick Cordella, Chief Commercial Officer, Peacock. “We’re looking forward to providing fans with an easily-accessible destination to find every race all season long, including the exciting finish with the newly formed SuperMotocross World Championship.”

MORE: A conversation about media rights created the new SuperMotocross World Championship Series

The NBC family of networks has been home to Supercross for the past several seasons and this is a continuation of that relationship. The media rights for both series expired at the end of 2022, which allowed Supercross and Motocross to combine their efforts.

In fact, it was that conversation that led to the formation of the SuperMotocross World Championship (SMX).

The SMX series will begin on September 9, 2023 after the conclusion of the Pro Motocross season. Points will accumulate from both series to seed the SMX championship, which creates a record number of unified races.

“The SuperMotocross World Championship adds a new dimension to the annual Supercross and Pro Motocross seasons that will result in crowning the ultimate World Champion,” said Stephen C. Yaros, SVP Global Media and Supercross for Feld Motor Sports. “We are thrilled to be extending our relationship with NBC Sports so our fans can watch all the racing action streaming live on Peacock and the option to also watch select rounds on NBC, USA Network and CNBC.”

Complete 2023 coverage schedules for Supercross, Pro Motocross and the SuperMotocross World Championship on Peacock, NBC, USA Network and CNBC will be announced in the near future.