A new chapter in the Dakar Rally story has opened with the official presentation of the 2020 edition due to take place in Saudi Arabia. After Africa and South America, the Middle East now takes up the baton of the rally-raid race par excellence. New details were unveiled yesterday in Paris.

With an audience crowded with future participants and various team leaders, the Dakar 2020 Race Director, David Castera outlined more details of the race which was first presented in Saudi Arabia a month ago. In a meeting which took place at the Institute of the Arab World in the French capital, Castera confirmed the race’s course will cover some 9000 kilometres to be tackled over a fortnight with 12 stages, as well as other as yet unknown details about the Middle East’s maiden Dakar.

After sending the participating vehicles by maritime transport from South of France to Saudi Arabia, the teams will recover them in the port of Jeddah on New Year’s Day 2019. The build-up to the race will take place in the country’s second largest city, as events get underway with the ceremonial starting ramp on January 4. The start of the first stage is scheduled for January 5. The rest day will be held on January 11 in the country’s capital, Riyadh, and the event will conclude in Al Qiddiya on January 17 where the final podium and celebrations will take place.

Furthermore, other data, as yet unknown, was revealed by Castera to those present at the conference, including a prohibition of any training in Saudi Arabia, the distribution of roadbook prior to the stage, the creation of a Super Marathon stage for motorcycles (there will be two marathon days) plus a varied route design, which will cover different types of terrain in the Arab country.

Monster Energy Honda Team has confirmed its inscription for this new edition of the most veteran Cross-Country Rally in the world, and it will do so with a mixed team which will line-up experience alongside ambition. The riders of the Monster Energy Honda Team will also participate, this July, in the Silk Way Rally, the second round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship to be held in Russia, Mongolia and China.

Words and Photos by Honda Racing Corporation

The sixth round of the 2019 motocross world championship sees Team HRC head to Agueda, Portugal for what should be another different challenge in this testing season. After the mud of Lombardia, the red clay surface of Agueda can provide a lot of grip if it has moisture but without the necessary water it can be quite hard-pack and dusty. This makes it a real challenge, but one that Tim Gajser, Brian Bogers, and Calvin Vlaanderen are highly motivated to overcome.

For Gajser, he’ll be looking to bounce back and put his Honda CRF450RW on the podium again, like he achieved at the first four rounds. The title challenger showed his pace in the motos, posting both fastest lap times, but he just struggled to stay consistent in the extremely muddy conditions. Portugal should offer a much different surface though, with nowhere near as much rain forecasted to fall on the area. If that remains the case, the natural layout and nice jumps should allow the Slovenian rider a good chance to match the victory that he achieved at the MXGP of Trentino.

Calvin Vlaanderen

His MXGP teammate Bogers heads to Portugal buoyed with confidence after his second-place finish in the second moto in Lombardia. After a good start, the Dutch rider rode solidly all moto long, holding off any threats behind while maintaining a good speed and minimising any mistakes. It was a great reward for the work he’s been putting in during the break and he’ll be looking to follow up that result with two more strong finishes in Agueda.

While Bogers was training hard in the five-week break, Vlaanderen was recovering from his fractured fibula and that meant the MX2 rider had very limited practice before the MXGP of Lombardia last weekend. The CRF250RW rider still rode well in the difficult conditions, picking up points in both races, but he’ll be hoping to do even better after another week of recovery and testing.

Brian Bogers

The MXGP and MX2 classes are joined by the WMX and EMX2t series this weekend with the first Team HRC bike hitting the track at 12:30 (MX2 free practice) local time on Saturday 18th May. The MXGP class follows on from them, with qualifying races starting at 16:55 and 17:40 respectively. The first gate drop for the motos then happens at 13:15 on Sunday 19th May in what should be another excellent weekend of action in the world championship series.

Tim Gajser  243

I’m going to train hard this week to make sure that I am ready for Portugal. I like the track at Agueda, it is really natural, with the uphills and downhills. Some nice jumps and red clay that can get really grippy. Sometimes it can be a bit too dry but I know they know how to prep the track so I am definitely looking forward to it. Lombardia is behind us and now I’m focusing on Portugal.

Brian Bogers  189

Obviously it was great to get that second place result in Mantova, but I can’t afford to stop working now. I need to keep building and keep improving and making sure that last week happens again and again. The races are coming up very quickly now so there isn’t much chance to change too much, so it’s all about those little things that can help keeping me moving forward.

Calvin Vlaanderen  10

Portugal is a really nice track. Last year they had a lot of rain and it became really rutted and I didn’t have my best result there but I’ve had a podium before in the EMX125 series so I really enjoy the track and racing there. I’m actually going to stay in Italy for a couple of days to test, before flying home to Holland quickly and then it’s off to Portugal. Not much time and my foot does need some rest so that is as important as the testing but I aim to allow that to happen this week so I can hopefully come out a little bit more prepared than this weekend.

Marcus Pereira de Freitas

HRC General Manager – MXGP

First off, it was great to see Brian ride so well in Lombardia last weekend, so we are really excited to see what he can do in Portugal this weekend. He got a ninth in Trentino and then a second in Mantova so we really hope he can start to consistently find the top 10 now. Portugal is a different track again but he really improved in the break and this weekend is another chance to show it.
Unfortunately Tim didn’t have his best weekend but we know he is a champion and having a race so quickly afterwards gives him the perfect opportunity to bounce back and prove his race-winning speed again. He was fastest in both motos last weekend, he just didn’t have things go his way, so we are hoping that things will go smoother in Portugal.
As for Calvin, he is another week further into his recovery and every day is a step closer to being back to being 100%. The conditions in Mantova didn’t really allow him to show his capabilities but he kept fighting and we know that he’ll get better at these next few rounds.

Rider Standings

Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team
1 CAIROLI Antonio 222 ITA 241 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
2 GAJSER Tim 243 SLO 201 Team HRC – MXGP
3 PAULIN Gautier 21 FRA 175 Wilvo Yamaha MXGP
4 JASIKONIS Arminas 27 LTU 146 Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
5 DESALLE Clement 25 BEL 142 Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing
6 SEEWER Jeremy 91 SWI 124 Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team
7 VAN HOREBEEK Jeremy 89 BEL 118 Honda SR Motoblouz
8 JONASS Pauls 41 LAT 109 Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
9 SIMPSON Shaun 24 GBR 100 RFX KTM Racing
10 COLDENHOFF Glenn 259 NDL 94 Standing Construct KTM
11 LIEBER Julien 33 BEL 86 Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing
12 TONUS Arnaud 4 SWI 82 Wilvo Yamaha MXGP
13 ANSTIE Max 99 GBR 80 Standing Construct KTM
14 LUPINO Alessandro 77 ITA 67 Gebben V Venrooy Kawasaki
15 MONTICELLI Ivo 128 ITA 66 iFly JK Racing
16 SEARLE Tommy 100 GBR 66 Bike It DRT Kawasaki
17 BOGERS Brian 189 NDL 55 Team HRC – MXGP
18 LEOK Tanel 7 EST 45 A1M Husqvarna
19 TIXIER Jordi 911 FRA 36 Team VHR KTM Racing
20 PATUREL Benoit 6 FRA 32 Gebben V Venrooy Kawasaki
21 BRYLYAKOV Vsevolod 18 RUS 25 JWR Yamaha Racing
22 FEBVRE Romain 461 FRA 20 Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team
23 BUTRON Jose 17 SPA 18 JD Gunnex KTM Racing Team
24 STRIJBOS Kevin 22 BEL 15 JWR Yamaha Racing
25 BERNARDINI Samuele 321 ITA 14 Ghidinelli Racing Team
26 GOLE Anton 297 SWE 12 iFly JK Racing
27 KULLAS Harri 151 FIN 10 Wildcard Rider
28 PETROV Petar 152 BUL 10 Team Honda Red Moto
29 VAN DER MIERDEN Sven 94 NDL 8 Wildcard Rider
30 FERRIS Dean 111 AUS 6 Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing

Tim Gajser

Words and Photos: Honda Racing Corporation

Spaniard beats 300 riders to win the opening race of WESS 2019 in Portugal.

The World Enduro Super Series roared back into life this weekend with Mario Roman coming out on top at the Toyota Porto Extreme XL Lagares to stake an early claim for the title of Ultimate Enduro Champion 2019.

Mario Roman

Here is all you need to know:

– Britain’s Jonny Walker made the early running, taking victory in Friday night’s Endurocross race. Spanish rider Alfredo Gómez then picked up the baton, winning Saturday’s Prologue on the cobbled streets of Porto.

– 300 competitors, including 50 pros, entered Sunday’s Hard Enduro feature race in the baking Portuguese heat.

– Germany’s Manuel Lettenbichler set the early pace, eating up Gómez’s hard-won headstart with ease and taking a six-minute lead into lap two.

Manuel Lettenbichler

– Lettenbichler, however, appeared to run out of steam at the crucial moment and he was soon reeled in by Roman and South Africa’s Wade Young.

– Roman then broke the resistance of both Young and Lettenbichler, opening up a gap of four minutes over Young to take an emphatic win at the first WESS event of the season.

– Graham Jarvis crossed the line in third and looked like he’d snuck in at the last for the final podium spot, but Lettenbichler reclaimed the place when he was awarded time he lost on lap one due to a track-marking error.

Graham Jarvis and Billy Bolt

– Roman said: “I feel amazing, it’s so good to get the win. In 2016 I finished about a minute behind Alfredo [Gómez] and then two years in a row I had mechanical issues with my bike, but I always believed in myself and knew I could do it this year.”

– Young said: “It feels great to get second today. At one point I was down in sixth and I was lacking some confidence after struggling in one of the rivers – that spent a lot of my energy. I came back strong though and towards the end people were starting to get tired and I was able to dig a little deeper and keep going.”

– Lettenbichler added: “I had to stop to move a bridge on the first lap so that cost me some time, but thankfully they’ve awarded that back to me and I’ve come away with third. It would have been nice to get the win, especially after leading for over half of the race. But whatever the result, I am happy with my riding and it’s been a good start to this year’s WESS championship.”

Taddy Blazusiak

The next stop for WESS 2019 is France’s Trèfle Lozérien AMV from May 17-19.

Wade Young

Alfredo Gomez

Wade Young

Words by Red Bull Content Pool, Photos by Future7Media

 

World class stunt rider Robbie ‘Maddo’ Maddison will return home to the Illawarra on November 9 as a special guest to perform at Wollongong’s Round 3 of the Australian Supercross Championships presented by Yamaha at WIN Stadium.

The American-based Aussie plans to go big for fans on November 9 performing his famous Freestyle Motocross Stunts that launched him onto the International scene.

A huge coup for The Australian Motorcycle Festival taking place next door at Lang Park on the same date, will feature Maddo performing additional stunts on the water and another high in the air to coincide with his performance at the Supercross track.

“I can’t wait to come home to the Illawarra,” said Maddison.

“The Supercross is going to be incredible in WIN Stadium and to perform in front of a packed stadium will be something very special.

“Make sure you get to the Gong early on Saturday, November 9 for the Australian Motorcycle Festival and enjoy two more stunts that I will attempt. I am not announcing just yet what stunts fans will see but let me say, I am going for the trifecta, Land, Sea and Water of Stunts!”

Maddison has performed incredible stunts including multiple world long distance motorcycle jumps, incredible stunts jumping the Corinth Canal, from the ground up to the top of Las Vegas replica Arc De Triomphe and then back down, jumped off a long distance Ski Jump surfed Tahiti giant waves on his custom Waterbike and has a portfolio that includes the official stunt rider for 007 in the Bond movie Skyfall and so much more.

Fans will be able to meet Robbie at the official Supercross meet and greet session just prior to WIN Stadium gates opening at 5pm on November 9, 2019.

Tickets to the Australian Supercross Championships Rd 3 WIN Stadium Wollongong (6pm-9pm)are on sale now via Ticketmaster.com.au.

Tickets to the Australian Motorcycle Festival will be available at the gate. (10am-4pm Nov 9/10).

Maddison laying day one of his epic Freestyle Motocross tricks that have wow’d fans for over a decade.

Words, Video, and Photos: Australian Supercross Championship

Team HRC returns to Italy for the fifth round of the 2019 motocross world championships with Tim Gajser, Brian Bogers, and Calvin Vlaanderen all raring to go after what has been an extended break in the series. With the last round on the hard-packed Trentino circuit in Italy, five weeks ago, the schedule now heads to Mantova in the Lombardia for what is a sandier surface for the riders to compete on.

Like the last round, a large number of Slovenian fans are expected to cross the border and cheer on the Honda #243 and after his win in Trentino, Gajser is looking to reward that support with a win at a track that he won on previously in 2016, the last time they held a GP on this circuit. Confidence is certainly high that he can close the gap even further in the championship race and with the Trentino victory under his belt, the plan is to maintain that high level in this next series of events that sees the riders’ race six times in seven weekends.

Brian Bogers is also excited to get back to racing after this break, especially given that it will be at a Mantova track that saw him get his first ever MX2 podium back in 2016. This result, plus his top 10 finish in Trentino at the last round has meant that there is real hope that Bogers can start putting in good finishes in the MXGP class on a regular basis, something that he wasn’t able to do previously due to his injury problems of 2018.

For MX2 rider Calvin Vlaanderen, the break came at a good time as he looked to recover from his fractured fibula which he sustained in timed practice at the MXGP of Trentino. After missing that race, he got the surgery done right away and has used this break to recover as best he could, eventually getting the green light from his doctor to ride yesterday. With just a few days to get back into race shape, Mantova will be a tough assignment, but it is one that Vlaanderen is relishing as he looks to get back the points he missed out on in Trentino.

With races in Portugal and France up next after Mantova, and then Russia, Latvia and Germany following on quickly after them, this is the beginning of a tough stretch for all the riders. However, the Team HRC trio are all coming out of this break with a point to prove and are highly motivated to get their best results possible on their Honda CRF machines. Their timetable starts at 12:30 local time (MX2) and 13:00 (MXGP) on Saturday 11th May, in what seem to be changeable weather conditions in Mantova.

Tim Gajser  243

In this break, I did two Slovenian championship races just to keep me in race shape. I also kept training hard as I know this is important in order to maintain my speed and fitness. I’m just excited to get back to the MXGPs because it feels like a long time since my win in Trentino. However I like the track in Mantova because in the past, I have won the event so it’s nice to go back there and I’m really looking forward to showing what I can do there this year.

Brian Bogers  189

It was good to have a little time away from the races because it is a long and tough season but I still kept working very hard to keep building up my level of fitness and speed. After my second race in Trentino when I got my first top 10, it gave me motivation to continue with what we’ve been doing because I saw that the effort was paying off and we were heading in the right direction. Unfortunately, I had a small crash last week which meant I had to miss the Dutch Championship but everything is fine now and we are back on the bike and I’m really looking forward to racing in Mantova. It was at this track that I had my first podium in 250s so I like the track and I like riding there and I can’t wait for the gate to drop this weekend!

Calvin Vlaanderen  10

It has been a difficult period of time but I am happy to be back on a bike and riding again before this weekend. Obviously, I would have preferred to have a bit more time to get ready but I am glad to have only missed the Trentino round and I am still confident in my ability to ride well in Mantova. Before the injury, my fitness was at a good level and I did as much as I could to maintain that during the break so I just have to do my best to compete for these next few weeks. I want to thank all the members of Team HRC for the support they gave me during this break and I can’t wait to get this next part of the championship underway.

Marcus Pereira de Freitas

HRC General Manager – MXGP

I am extremely excited to get back to the MXGP races after this break. We left the action on such a high with Tim winning in Trentino, so this provided great motivation to everyone to keep that going. Brian also got his first top 10 of the season so he wanted to maintain that level. It was also good for Calvin because this gap in the races meant that he is recovered from his leg injury that he sustained at Trentino and he should be able to compete in Mantova. It’ll be hard work for him because he hasn’t ridden much but he had good fitness before the injury so we are confident he should still be able to pick up points. Of course for Tim, who has previously won here and for Brian, we have high hopes that they can continue their form, and put both Honda’s inside the top 10 and potentially on the podium.

Words and Photos: Honda Racing Corporation