Bikes and Quads have their numbers

November 6 th 2018 - 16:08

The bike and quad competitors of edition 41 of the Dakar received their race numbers today. The number 1 plate was given to defending two-wheel champion, and the leader of the KTM armada, Matthias Walkner. In addition, 57 riders will be making their debut in the rally. In the two categories, Spain is the best represented with 22 vehicles entered.

Numerology whizzes can now start making their predictions and the superstitious among us are free to rejoice or lament. The more sensitive can rest assure there is no number 13 on the Dakar. And another tradition is being adhered to as the number 1 will be affixed to the bike of 2018 Dakar champion, Matthias Walkner. On the other hand, the runner-up this past January in Córdoba, Kevin Benavides, has once again turned down a single-digit number to remain true to 47, which he ran with on his maiden Dakar in 2016. The 2016 bike category winner and 2018 podium finisher, Australia’s Toby Price will carry the number 3 on his machine.

This year’s provisional entry list features six female bike competitors and the favourite will once again be Spain’s Laia Sanz, who will wear the number 17 bib, while two newcomers, her compatriot Sara García and Peru’s Gianna Velarde, will ride with the numbers 98 and 130 respectively. In the quad class, a woman will try to complete the Dakar for the third consecutive time, Bolivia’s Suany Martínez (#274). The past two quad winners, Ignacio Casale and Sergey Karyakin will switch to SxS, where they will be legitimate contenders for class honours. Number 240 goes to last year’s revelation, Argentina’s Nicolas Cavigliasso, who finished second in his first participation and who promises another hard-fought battle with his young compatriot, Jeremías González (2nd in 2015, 3rd in 2018).

Original by Motul: follow the red bibs
It is quite easy to understand. The race numbers are printed on a yellow background for the elite riders, on a white background for most of the others… and on a red background for the “Originals by Motul”. These are the riders who chose to do things the hard way by entering without assistance. “We are the biggest team in the rally”, says Frédéric Barlerin, who knows that the concept of giving a helping hand is cornerstone of this community, that will be made up of 32 bike and quad riders (vs 28 in 2018). The highest placed in the hierarchy at the start will be Romania’s Emanuel Gyenes (#32), who finished an impressive 17th in 2012.

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