Separated yet still inseparable
January 14 th 2019 - 06:06 [GMT -5]
Stage 4 marked a turning point in the shared adventure of Sara García and Javier Vega, who decided to race their first Dakar on hard mode, in the "Original by Motul" category for riders without assistance. The couple parted ways on the road to Moquegua after Sara's motorbike ground to a halt due to an electrical failure. It was a grievous stroke of bad luck, but Javier now sees it as a question of honour to keep on going, now riding solo but still with the unconditional support of his partner. The pro skier tackling the unforgiving Dakar rally spent over 16 hours on the saddle in the next stage. After meeting up with Sara in the San Juan de Marcona bivouac, he started explaining how hard it had been: "The dunes of Tanaka were extremely tough, it was the hardest stage we've had so far. It was so exhausting that I had to stop several times, and I also smashed up the fairing of my bike and had to repair it. In the end, I still managed to make it to the finish." Javier has been riding for the two of them for three days: "I know we're not going to finish together, and it's really tough to ride without her, but now my motivation is different and I hope to make it to Lima for her as well." The days are also long for Sara, now serving as the coach and greatest fan of her other half: "I take care of his stuff, I keep an eye on his progress all day long", she explains after handing him the drinks she had prepared for him. "He said he was at the end of the rope, but I know his actual limits are still far away. He's mentally and physically solid. I'm sure he'll make it."