“Kids in India see that there’s a path to the Dakar”
Year after year, India is opening more and more to the Dakar. It all started in 2015 when Santosh CS became the first Indian to start and finish the race. Since then two major Indian brands, Hero and TVS got involved in the rally. Santosh was the pioneer, Aravind Prabhakar followed in his footsteps and now Harith Noah will be the latest to discover the Dakar. The young man from Kerala, but born in Germany who conquered multiple national titles in motocross and supercross has been fully focused on cross-country rallies for the last two years. His path to the Dakar was a long one. It started on his sixteenth birthday when he was given a motorbike. A weekend later, he was racing and although he finished last of that first race, his passion grew. His first encounter with the Dakar came thanks to the video tapes his dad would bring back from his business trips all over the world. He was 5 years old then and far from imagining that he would be on the start line of the 2020 Dakar. Part of the Sherco TVS factory team, Noah who now spends most of his time training in France, will be riding alongside references such as Michael Metge, Johnny Aubert and Lorenzo Santolino. After listening to the precious tips of his elders, the former student and bachelor in sports science knows that at 26, he has time and that only finishing will be his goal the first year.
“I got my first bike in 2009 and on the next weekend I was racing in the paddy fields by my house in Kerala. I fell in love with it immediately. Two years later I became national supercross champion in the privateer class. My focus was really on supercross, not the Dakar and then TVS got involved. My first big rally was in Morocco in 2018 but sadly I injured the anterior cruciate ligament of my knee. I managed to finish but was ruled out for quite some time. After surgery I was able to come back for the Baja Spain this season. It was really unfortunate that Aravind (Prabhakar) couldn’t come back on the Dakar after breaking his leg while training. I know that in India, we don’t have the skill level of the top factory riders. I’m well aware of that. I’m not looking for a result, just to finish. Fitness-wise, I feel really good and I’m confident in my capacities. I know it will take time to be good. Michael (Metge) tells me that to do good, I have to be patient and gain experience. Of course the Dakar has gotten bigger in India thanks to Santosh and the fact that Hero and TVS are present. It’s opened the eyes of a lot of riders. The kids see that there’s a path to the Dakar. I also expect to see a lot of Indian fans in Saudi Arabia because there’s a big community there.”
SHERCO TVS RALLY FACTORY
- Mark : SHERCO
- Model : 450 RTR
- Performance tuner : Sherco TVS Rally Factory
- Assistance : Sherco TVS Rally Factory
- Class : G2.1 Super production
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Koitha on a mission
Harith Noah Koitha has set himself a goal: to become the third Indian to finish the Dakar. This will be a tough task for the Sherco rookie, who has switched to the Dakar Experience formula following the third stage and who spends a few more hours than the professionals on his bike. After 100 km, he is already 2 hours and 37 minutes behind the stage leaders.
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