Dakar Rally, Stage 8: Ricky Brabec finishes third; Austin Jones takes overall lead in SSV


Ricky Brabec broke the hex on starting up front in the motorbike division, finishing third Monday in Stage 8 of the Dakar Rally and climbing to sixth overall with four stages remaining.

The defending bike champion had won a marathon Stage 7, which put the first American to win Dakar first on the starting line in Stage 8 (another long segment of more than 700 kilometers). Because navigation has hampered those starting up front on fresh terrain, many riders have strategized by striving for consistency over stage victories.

But Brabec soldiered through Monday, becoming the first rider this year to finish on the podium after starting first in a stage. The Hesperia, California, native had been burned starting first before, finishing 24th in Stage 1 after winning the Prologue.

“Today opening was really fun,” Brabec said. “We didn’t really make any big mistakes. I wish we would have had this speed and this focus from Day 1, but it took a little bit to get used to the road book.

“There’s four days of racing left. Let’s see what happens the rest of the week. I know we’re a little bit down on time, but possibly tomorrow we can make up a little more starting in the back.”

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

Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo, Brabec’s Monster Energy Honda teammate who goes by Nacho Cornejo, maintained the overall lead by winning his first stage this year.

“Tomorrow I have to open the way, so I’ll try to do it as clean as I can and try not to lose too much time,” Cornejo said.

Cornejo leads two-time Dakar winner Toby Price, who finished second Monday, by 1 minute 5 seconds. Sam Sunderland, Price’s Red Bull KTM teammate, is third overall, nearly 6 minutes behind.

Brabec, who gained two spots in the overall rankings after Stage 8, is 17 minutes, 42 seconds off the lead.

Skyler Howes, the American privateer who led the overall through three stages, finished ninth in Stage 8 and remained seventh overall, 19 minutes, 20 seconds out of first.

“It was OK,” Howes said. “I started third on the day, so I thought for sure the navigation would be difficult, so I toned it down a little bit. I had my navigation going perfect, but it turns out I was just going way too slow to get the navigation right because the guys at the front were just hauling, and they nailed it. Still had a lot of fun.”

Former leader Xavier de Soultrait withdrew from the race after crashing midway through Stage 8. Race officials said the rider was airlifted to a hospital for X-rays but didn’t lose consciousness in the wreck.

In other divisions Monday:

Cars: Nasser Al-Attiyah captured his fourth stage victory, narrowly defeating defending champion Carlos Sainz by 52 seconds.

Stephane Peterhansel finished 3 minutes, 3 seconds behind in third, maintaining a lead of 5 minutes, 50 seconds over Al-Attiyah in the overall rankings.

“In the last 50 kilometers, I did one or two mistakes to lose 1 or 2 minutes, but at the end, we’re still in the battle,” Peterhansel said. “For the moment, it’s just a small (lead), but I hope it’s good to the end.”

Said Al-Attiyah, who overcame a flat tire for the second consecutive stage: “We kept the car in one piece which is good because, in some places, we were pushing a lot. We get three minutes back on Stephane today, and we will keep going day by day. We’ll do our best for a good fight.”

Side by side UTVs (SSV)/lightweight/light prototypes: American Austin Jones took the overall lead in the top lightweight classes with a fifth-place finish. The Monster Energy Can-Am driver leads in side by sides (SSV) by 20 minutes, 51 seconds over Francisco Lopez Contardo, who won his second consecutive stage and fourth overall.

“It was a difficult day,” Jones said. “It was a long day. I know it wasn’t as many kilometers as other days, but for some reason today felt really long. Maybe it was because it was a marathon day last night, and no one could sleep because it was so cold in there! But yeah, it was a good day. It was a nice stage.”

PUSHING FOR VICTORY: Austin Jones on his 2021 Dakar experience

It was a disastrous outing for Aron Domzala, who fell from first to third overall and more than 31 minutes off the lead. Domzala had led by more than 9 minutes over Jones entering Stage 8 but finished 13th, 36 minutes out of the lead.

Jones also leads Seth Quintero by 10 minutes, 31 seconds in the lightweight class. Quintero extended his lead in the light prototype division to more than 4 hours as the American won his fifth stage.

Quads:  Alexandre Giroud scored his third stage victory, cutting a minute, 12 seconds off the margin for overall lead Manuel Andujar (who has an edge of 19 minutes, 43 seconds).

Trucks: Anton Shibalov scored his first stage victory in another 1-2-3 sweep for the Kamaz-Master team. Shibalov is second overall behind teammate Dmitry Sotnikov by more than 43 minutes.

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

STAGE 7: Ricky Brabec captures first victory; Skyler Howes third


Cars: Nasser Al-Attiyah 4 (Stages 2, 3, 4, 8); 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); Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo (Stage 8)

Side-by-sides: Francisco Lopez Contardo 4 (Stage 3, 5, 7, 8); Austin Jones (Stage 1); Saleh Alsaif (Stage 2); Aron Domzala (Stage 4); Khalifa Al Attiyah (Stage 6)

Lightweight prototypes: Seth Quintero 5 (Stage 2, 3, 5, 6, 8); Cristina Gutierrez Herrero 2 (Stage 1, 7); Kris Meeke (Stage 4)

Quads: Alexandre Giroud 3 (Stage 1, 6, 8); Nicolas Cavigliasso 2 (Stage 3, 5); Manuel Andujar 2 (Stage 4, 7); 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); Anton Shibalov (Stage 8)

Watch highlights from Stage 8 of the Dakar Rally on NBCSN at 6:30 p.m. ET today.

Supercross 2023: Results and points after Houston


Eli Tomac led all 23 laps of the Monster Energy Supercross race at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas and the results show he now has three wins in the season and is one shy of tying Ricky Carmichael’s 48 for third on the all-time list. With this win, he takes a seven point lead in the standings with 12 rounds remaining.

For Tomac at Houston, it was literally a tale of two races. Both his heat and the main started the same with Tomac grabbing the holeshot, but he was passed quickly by Chase Sexton in the heat. Tomac faded quickly after getting passed and was trailing by almost eight seconds at the checkered flag, which caused him to retreat to the hauler and reassess his lines. Without making any adjustments to the bike, Tomac entered the Main with a new attitude, and simply rode better.

Supercross Results Houston
Chase Sexton played it safe in the sand, but he was aggressive in every other turn. – Feld Motor Sports

Sexton had so great a lead in his heat that one could not even use the cliche that he left Tomac in his dust. By the time the rider with the No. 1 plate crossed the same real estate as the No. 23, the dust was well settled. Sexton had a modest start on the initial gate drop and ended Lap 1 in fourth. He worked his way past Aaron Plessinger on Lap 3 and got around Jason Anderson three laps later. Sexton was able to catch Tomac and pressure him, but he picked a safe, i.e. slow line through the sand section and could never get alongside his rival.

RESULTS: Click here for 450 Results; Click here for full 250 East Main Results

After starting the season with back-to-back seventh-place finishes, Anderson now has a pair of podiums. He won his heat and was easily one of the top three riders in the field, ultimately finishing behind the riders who finished 1-2 in the other preliminary. Anderson was subdued on the podium – happy he was there, but disappointed he has not yet found a way around the riders he is chasing in the points.

In the early stages of the race, Plessinger appeared to have a bike capable of winning. He pressured Tomac on the first two laps and was setting up the pass just as a red flag waved for an injury to Dylan Ferrandis that brought out a red flag. He lost second to Anderson on the restart and eventually slipped to fourth to score his first top-five of the season.

Click here for 450 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

Cooper Webb rounded out the top five. Along with Sexton, he is now one of just two riders with a sweep of that mark in 2023, but with Tomac’s three wins, he is beginning to slip in the points. Webb sits third in the standings, 12 points behind the leader.

Ken Roczen entered the race as the third rider with a sweep of the top five and progressively better results in the first three races of 2023. Had the pattern held, he would have finished at least second, but he struggled for most of the night, finishing fifth in his heat and eighth in the Main. There may have been extenuating circumstances, however. Ferrandis’ injury was suffered when he landed on the back of Roczen’s bike and potentially damaged the No. 94 Suzuki.

Click here for 450 Main results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points | Lap Chart

The 250 East division made their 2023 debut in Houston, but the name atop the board was familiar. Hunter Lawrence joined his brother Jett Lawrence as the early points’ leader in their respective divisions, but it didn’t come without a little anxiety.

Riding behind Supercross newbie Tom Vialle on the second lap, Lawrence was forced to take evasive action when the leader pitched his bike sideways to scrub speed over a jump. Lawrence veered left and landed off course, but he cleared the Tuff Blox and kept his bike straight. Lawrence made the pass for the lead on Lap 18 and never relinquished it.

Click here for 250 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

In his first attempt on a 250, Max Anstie ascended to the podium. – Feld Motor Sports

England’s Max Anstie made the move from 450s to 250s this year after scoring a best result of 11th on the big bike at Anaheim 2 last year. It didn’t take anytime at all to find the front for Anstie, who finished second in both his heat and main.

It has been a while since Jordon Smith stood on the podium: February 23, 2019 to be exact when he finished that well in Detroit. A series of injuries kept him off the bike for much of 2020 and 2021, but he’s proving to be a factor when he’s healthy.

Click here for 250 Main results | 250 East Rider Points | Combined Rider Points | Lap Chart

There was a lot of hype surrounding the debut of Haiden Deegan in the 250 class and he proved it was merited. He finished fourth in his heat and main. He was as far down as ninth at one point in the feature before slowly picking off riders on his way to the front.

Jeremy Martin finished fifth and now has a streak of three consecutive top-fives to his credit stretching back to last year. Unfortunately, his pair of strong runs in 2022 were interrupted by injury.

Making impressive debuts in the 250 division, Vialle recovered from a fall to finish seventh, Chance Hymas finished eighth, and Talon Hawkins just missed the top 10 with an 11th.

2023 Results

Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Chase Sexton falls
Week 1: Eli Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s