way through this race (800 miles), the difference between
the top time of Hengeveld 1:35: 59 and the tail gunner at
1:40: 14 was only a few minutes. This was anybody’s race.
Day three began with Coco waiving the official start flag
out of Coco’s Corner. Steve Hengeveld from the Monkey
Business racing team would be the rabbit. Hengeveld had
clean air, but he was also the first to hit the navigation
challenges. Hengeveld looked comfortable at speed in sections where you would expect the throttle to roll back and
the brake to be feathered, but he ran into difficulty with
a bad line choice that led him to swamp his bike in a salt
marsh near the coast. He struggled to get his bike out, but
his efforts were futile. He was going to need help.
Help soon arrived in the form of Bright, Bowman and
White, who banded together and pulled his motor from
the water. They tried to start it, but the machine had taken
a drink. Hengeveld was in trouble; his hopes for a strong
finish quickly faded. If he could not get the bike going,
extraction would be long into the night. White and the oth-
ers helped him out of the water, and with the assistance
of Bowman and Bright, Hengeveld got the Honda rolling
again, but it took a solid hour. They were all off the back.
Many other racers had passed the situation on another line.
They were all in catch-up mode.
One of the customary rules in Rally Raid is that if you
stop to assist a rider in need, the time lost will be taken off
your overall time in honor of your good sportsmanship. At
the end of the day, those who assisted until the motor was
running were credited the elapsed time; however, there
was a new leader board headed by Gerardo Rojas, Mike
AN 800-MILE INTERNATIONAL EVENT
Charles Jirsa racing the sun from the
Sea of Cortez on his way to the Pacific.
Steve Hengeveld playing catch-up on day three after his
motor took a drink.
Top-ranked amateur Charles Jirsa giving some of the pros a
run for their money in 2014. Jirsa was the top-finishing amateur in this year’s event.