The Englishwoman and her Italian steed

Dakar 2024 | Stage 10 | ALULA > ALULA
January 17 th 2024 - 22:25 [GMT + 3]

Jane Daniels, in solid form and consistent since the start, is demonstrating stage after stage that she has exactly what it takes to make a name for herself on the Dakar.

 Matilde Tomagnini, development manager for the Fantic brand, is rather proud of Jane Daniels. The British rider, a two-times Enduro world champion, has indeed made a remarkable debut on the Dakar this year. “Choosing Jane was a gamble for us, and we're not disappointed,” admits the Italian. “She is demonstrating that she is a very tough rider. For example, after her nasty crash on the first day of the 48 HR Chrono stage, she continued for over 200km with her handlebars and navigation tower completely bent, until she managed to partially put them back in place”. Two days later, Jane Daniels experienced another facet of the Dakar by coming to the aid of her team-mate, Jeremy Miroir. “It was on stage ten,” says the Englishwoman. “I towed him for 60 km to help him finish the special and then for another 95 km to get him to the bivouac. That was clearly the most difficult experience so far”. At Fantic, team spirit is not an empty word. The Italian manufacturer, which has been involved in the rally-raid discipline for the last three years, has decided this year to put its faith in a new generation of riders from the enduro world. Jeremy Miroir is one of them, as is Jane Daniels. Teaming up with Tommasso Montanari, the Frenchman and the British rider are in charge of developing the new XEF 450. In doing so, they are taking over from Franco Picco who took the plunge for the Fantic project in the Original by Motul category. Having created its bike on the basis of the Yamaha WR450, the firm behind the Italian stallion has no ambition to date other than to reach the finish in Yanbu. “We have a lot to learn,” admits Jane Daniels. “Before thinking about winning, you have to think about finishing. In any case, the development of the bike is mainly done in Italy. For my part, it's my first Dakar and I'm here above all to discover all the facets of this extraordinary race. My only objective is to make it to the finish. I'm taking the stages one after the other without thinking or even really looking at my result”. With two days left before arriving in Yanbu, the two-time Enduro world champion looks set to complete her mission. Sailing along in around fiftieth position, Jane was delighted that the loop around Alula was less physical than the previous stage. “To be honest, this rally is a lot harder than I imagined. We're covering more kilometres than I thought, and the days are really long... In Enduro, you ride for a maximum of 8 hours a day with a special of an hour and a half, and the longest event lasts six days. Here, you spend 12 hours a day on the bike and the specials are easily more than five hours long. It's hard to stay concentrated for that long. Yesterday, I was really hungry and I found it hard to stay focused on navigation”. Yet it is this aspect of the race that appeals most to Jane. “It's new to me and I find it interesting,” she says. “When things go well, it's really good fun, but as soon as you start making mistakes, it's a lot less fun”. As just one of two women alongside Yael Kadshai to have taken starter’s orders on this edition of the Dakar in the bike category, Jane Daniels should add another feat to her impressive career in Yanbu.

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