JOAQUIM RODRIGUES(prt) 1.81m / 75kg
Relaxing on the beach
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2020: Ab. Stage 7
2018: Ab. Stage 1
2020: Andalucia Rally (27th)
2019: Baja Aragon (34th), Panafrica Rally (1st), Rallye du Maroc (15th)
2018: Atacama Rally (17th), Desafio Inca (28th)
2017: OiLibya Rally of Morocco (8th), India Baja (1st), Merzouga Rally (9th), Panafrica Rally (7th)
2016: Merzouga Rally (9th), OiLibya Rally of Morocco (15th)
Previous years: Supercross and Motocross championships
“I'm doing it for Paulo”
When Paulo Gonçalves tragically died on the seventh stage of last year's edition, the Dakar lost a great competitor, rival and friend. But Joaquim Rodrigues lost a brother. Paulo was married to Joaquim's sister Sofia, with whom he had two children -Erica and Ruben- and the whole family were left devastated by what unfolded in the desert on that fateful 12 January 2020. Rodrigues withdrew from the public eye as he battled with the trauma of Paulo's death, admitting that he was “in a big hole” and struggling with depression. Conscious of the need for change, Joaquim made a big decision: he would return to the Dakar. In an emotional post on social media, he described the terrible circumstances of losing Paulo –“the biggest trauma of my life”- and his desire to overcome those demons and honour his brother-in-law by completing Dakar 2021. The 39-year-old is under no illusions about the difficulty of the task ahead, and he expects the first day of the rally to be one of the worst of his career. Joaquim has overcome adversity before, recovering from a major crash at Dakar 2018, but the challenge of competing in Dakar 2021 will be psychological rather than physical. The Portuguese rider has had a long and successful career in supercross, motocross and rally raid, but this year is not about sporting ambitions; it is simply about reaching the finish line. With the support of the Hero Motosports team -and no doubt many of his fellow competitors- Joaquim is returning to Saudi Arabia to say a proper farewell to Paulo and prove that even in the face of the most terrible tragedy, life still goes on.
J.R.: “It's been a really difficult year for us. For me, for my family. It was a big decision I made. I'm doing it for Paulo, for my sister, my family and for myself. I have my own battles to conquer. When I get there it will be tough to start Dakar again. That first day will be my biggest mental challenge because I will relive everything. Riding in Portugal is easy, but going back to the desert, it will be the same as last year, the same scenarios. The memories are going to come back, and I think that will be the toughest thing to deal with. There are a couple of days that are going to be hard: the seventh stage, and 12 January also. There will be some points where I know it's going to be tough for me, very emotional. I'll prepare for those days as best I can. We'll see. The goal is to try to beat those traumas and get to the finish line. If I give up now, I feel like I'm going to be a failure for life. To be honest I've completely deleted myself from social media. I tried to get away and focus on my head, on getting out of the big hole. I already lost the weight I put on and I've been getting ready for Dakar. I don't think this year is going to be a physical issue, it's going to be a mental issue for me. I've been working more on the mental aspects. It's been amazing with the team, there's nothing else I can say, they've supported me 100 per cent. Everybody is nice in Dakar. At the Andalucia Rally in Spain I talked to a lot of guys, and everything is cool. But there's not really much that people can do. I'm the only one who can do it. I need the support to keep going, but it's going to be my battle, a big battle. I'm doing it for Paulo, of course. It's not going to be a race, but I want to try to finish for him, for my sister, my niece and nephew, and then for myself. To beat the traumas I have in my head. All that I went through with him in that desert, the images in my head, it's going to be hard to forget. I have to go there to beat that trauma. I need to be stronger than the trauma. If I don't go, I'll have that inside me forever."
HERO MOTOSPORTS TEAM RALLY
- Mark : HERO
- Model : 450 RALLY
- Performance tuner : Speedbrain
- Assistance : Hero MotoSports Team Rally
- Class : G2.1 Super production
All news of J. Rodrigues
Exorcising his demons
Joaquim Rodrigues, brother-in-law of the late Paulo Gonçalves, yesterday completed stage nine of the rally in thirteenth position, 30 minutes behind Kevin Benavides. Although he is twelfth in the general standings, the Portuguese rider hardly cares about his position. The reason he is here this year is to first and foremost put flight to his inner demons.
Rodrigues is the number one Hero
Joaquim Rodrigues is taking part in his fifth Dakar with the ambition of paying homage to Paulo Gonçalves, who was married to his sister Sofia. The Portuguese rider, who learned the ropes in motocross and super-cross, is supported by Hero and for the 2021 edition his goal is to simply reach the finish of the final stage. After 94 km of dunes on the second special,...
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