ouac that night at 10: 30 p.m. Nothing
is easy in Dakar, and it will challenge
you to the max. Getting a full night of
restful sleep is nearly impossible.
DB: How is Dakar different from
the National Hare & Hound series
you race here in the States?
RB: Dakar is different in so many
ways. Our HRC rally bikes are around
400 pounds and handle way differently from my JCR Honda CRF450X.
Sometimes the terrain can be similar,
but, more important, you must follow
the road book and be able to keep
up with yourself in order to catch
waypoints. NHHA is ribbon racing.
You can be doing 100-plus miles per
hour, miss a triple-danger marker and
end up seriously injured. Nothing is
marked visibly on the course in the
Dakar Rally. It’s all only in the road
books passed out to us by the event
organizers, so you must be careful
and on top of your “paying attention”
DB: What is your role as a team
member of the factory Honda Rally
RB: My role as a team member is
to do my best to win stages and, of
course, help my HRC teammates in
any way possible. This could include
towing another rider, helping out on
the course with mechanical repairs,
sharing navigation information or
anything else I am instructed to do
by our race team manager. This year
I had an unfortunate mechanical
issue during one of the final stages,
and a member of the MEC team
stopped to see if I was okay. I was
surprised when he refused to tow
me six kilometers so I could finish
the stage and continue in the rally.
That one bummed me out for sure.
I was always taught that if someone
is stranded in the desert and needs
help, you do whatever you can.
DB: You won a stage this year.
Tell us how that day went.
RB: I did end up winning a stage,
and it was a serious shocker! The day
started off well, and then I got confused and a little lost trying to find a
Main: HRC rider Ricky Brabec is going to be a
threat to win the overall event in the near future.
Left Top Inset: Joan Barreda used almost flawless
navigational skills to win multiple stages at this
year’s Dakar. Left Bottom Inset: Yamaha’s Adrian
Van Beveren won the final stage of Dakar 2017.
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED