“I’m a fighter”

Dakar 2024 | Stage 6 | SHUBAYTAH > SHUBAYTAH
January 12 th 2024 - 20:32 [GMT + 3]

Javi Vega is on a mission on the Dakar, since 2019. Firstly, for the women who said yes to his marriage proposal on the podium in 2022 and who he had already escorted in 2021 to allow her to become the first woman finisher in the Original by Motul category; and secondly, for himself, in search of the title in this category, which he came so close to achieving last year. On his sixth Dakar, on the evening of stage 6A he dropped down to the position of the last of the bikers, but Jordi has already hit rock bottom before and that is not going to stop him.

 Javi Vega was the last biker to arrive with difficulty at rest point A on the 48 HR chrono stage, the one for the competitors foundering at the end of the first week. He still had 425 kilometres of dunes to cover to reach the end of stage 6B. What is that at the end of the tunnel? Light? No, nothing… The Spaniard belongs to the ranks of the Original by Motul category, for bikers who only rely on themselves when the evening arrives at the bivouac, to save money or for a challenge, often for both. Javi is a regular in the category, but with a slight departure from the solitude that the exercise usually involves. Indeed, the Spaniard has taken part in four editions with Sara Garcia, his partner who he even proposed to on the Dakar podium after sharing three editions. Sara became the first woman to finish in the Original by Motul category in 2020, one year before accepting an engagement ring from Javi. Following their return as husband and wife in 2022, Sara was unable to enrol in 2023. So, the man from Madrid set himself the goal of winning the Original by Motul category on his fifth participation. He missed out on this objective by a whisker, finishing on 2nd step on the final podium as well as 30th in the overall bike category, though he would have preferred not to have achieved the latter result. The rules stipulate, to ensure the Original by Motul category is reserved for amateurs, that finishers in the top 30 on the last two editions cannot be classed in the rankings. With his hair plaited, Jordi is back this year to prepare himself for the challenge. Under the stars and by the campfire at Camp A, he was on the right track in spite of himself. Last year's Top 30 is a long way off...

“Last year, I had a perfect Dakar. Today, I broke the crankcase. I managed to repair it, but I lost two hours and my companions are at the rest point after 400 km, whilst I’m here at the 200-km point”. This has not dampened Javi’s spirits, as he blows on the terminals of his navigation system while looking for the fault that is affecting his odometer, the instrument that tells him how many kilometres he has covered and which section in the roadbook to refer to, which is an annoying problem when in last place… “It is, a little bit,” said Javi, with wry smile. It is not the first time he has been last in the race, for it happened in 2019 in Peru. “I was riding with my partner and she had a problem with her engine. We tried to find a solution, but her bike had to be loaded into the broom wagon and we lost 17 hours that day. This year, I’m on my own, so I only have the problems with my bike to handle! I’m going to carry on. I don’t care if I’m the last in the race, I’m a fighter. If I manage to repair it, I’ll carry on. Everybody has problems on the Dakar, the key is being able to solve them”. Believe it or not, it was at the end of this sentence that Jordi brandished a blue fuse between his pliers, which is what he had been looking for. Yamaha number 40 finally managed to make it through the Empty Quarter, in 65th place in the general rankings on the rest day. A blessing in disguise, perhaps… with a view to returning to the top of the Original by Motul general rankings.

99 VEGA Javier; Motorbike; during the Dakar 2019; Scrutineering; verifications; Peru; Lima; on january 4 - @World / ASO / Charly López
99 VEGA Javier; Motorbike; during the Dakar 2019; Scrutineering; verifications; Peru; Lima; on january 4 - @World / ASO / Charly López © ASO/@World/C. López
Dakar 2020 - Stage 12 - Harad - Qiddiya - Sara García 98 and Javier Vega 99
Dakar 2020 - Stage 12 - Harad - Qiddiya - Sara García 98 and Javier Vega 99 © A.S.O./C.López

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