The Atacama Rally, on Chilean soil, turned out to be hugely successful for Monster Energy Honda Team’s Argentinean rider Kevin Benavides, who clinched overall victory and the leadership of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.

The final day, on a 155-kilometre looping route, starting and finishing in Copiapó, was battled out over the same course that had been used in Stage One. Competitors had to have their wits about them and were faced with some challenging navigation in the dunes as well as some off-piste and dry river beds.

Kevin Benavides rounded off the Atacama Rally as he had started; proving to be the sharpest rider in the race, claiming the final stage and the overall rally victory after an intense final day. The Argentine dominated, stamping his mark of authority throughout the stage and leaving adversaries unable to keep his trail. Moreover, the victory takes Benavides and the Honda CRF450 RALLY to the head of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship leader board, where he now shares the same points as the incumbent world champion.

The next appointment for the competitors will be at the Desafío Ruta 40 in Argentina to be held at the end of next week. The race will take place from 25th to 31st August getting underway in San Miguel de Tucumán and concluding in San Juan.


Kevin Benavides


I’m very happy; it has been an amazing Atacama Rally for me. I won three stages and I felt very comfortable on the bike, which has worked perfectly throughout the even. The team has worked very well and this has given me the tools needed for the victory. I was able to stay very focused and was confident in myself. Winning here is not easy – Quintanilla is very strong. I’ve been looking forward to this victory for a long time and I’m really savouring it!

Results Stage 5

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Time/Gap
1 BENAVIDES Kevin 2 ARG Monster Energy Honda Team 1:40’10
2 PRICE Toby 11 AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team +1’18
3 QUINTANILLA Pablo 1 CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +2’00
4 WALKNER Matthias 3 AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team +2’28
5 GONCALVES Paulo 4 POR Monster Energy Honda Team +3’28
6 CORNEJO José Ignacio 10 CHI Monster Energy Honda Team +3’49
7 BRABEC Ricky 15 USA Monster Energy Honda Team +5’16
8 CAIMI Franco 8 ARG Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team +9’33
9 VAN BEVEREN Adrien 6 FRA Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team +10’01
10 DE SOULTRAIT Xavier 9 FRA Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team +10’06

Mount Maunganui’s Rhys Carter will be racing in blue from now on. Photo by Andy McGechan,


Yamaha has added another string to its bow with news this week that Bay of Plenty motocross international Rhys Carter will be joining the boys in blue.

Josh Coppins Racing, in association with Yamaha-Motor New Zealand and Yamalube are thrilled to announce a new partnership with Carter, who, in addition to racing with success domestically and internationally, operates the Carter Coaching entity.

The 28-year-old Carter, a professional motocross coach and the 2018 New Zealand MX1 No.4, will throw his leg over his new Yamaha YZ450F first the first time at the upcoming Motocross of Nations in the United States, the most auspicious of all events at which to herald his switch from Kawasaki.

The Mount Maunganui man said he was “thrilled and excited” about the move.

“I will be working closely with Josh Coppins Racing and, when you see what Josh does with his team and how well he runs it, you just know it’s clean-cut and professional and fantastic to be a part of,” said Carter.

“The depth of knowledge that Josh has in this sport is very hard to come by. We both want to give back to our sport and I do that with my coaching clinics, so it’s very exciting for both of us.

“I will be under a separate Yamalube Yamaha banner, but closely associated with Josh’s Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team. I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been and I believe I can win the national MX1 title. It gives me a huge boost to have Josh supporting me.

“I’m pleased also to be able to bring my own career-long sponsors on board with me.”

From April next year, at the conclusion of the 2019 New Zealand Motocross Championships season, Carter will pour more focus into his coaching, as well as taking over the role of operating the bLU cRU Racing scene, a function that encourages and helps to equip fledgling Yamaha riders.

Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team manager Coppins said he was proud to welcome Carter on board.

“Rhys will be joining the blue and white world, effective immediately, and, as of April 2019, will be responsible for assisting Yamaha in generating the next world champion,” said Coppins.

“Rhys is a very good racer, but we also have long-term plans for him to be coaching Yamaha riders.

“He will run demonstrator bikes for us this summer too … offering Yamaha YZ65, YZ85 and YZ125 bikes for young riders to try out.”

With Carter on board, Yamaha is further strengthened as presents an extremely potent force for the 2019 national championships season.

Racing alongside Carter in the MX1 class will be former national MX2 champion and current national MX1 No.3 Kayne Lamont, the Mangakino man continuing to race the Yamaha YZ450F for the Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team, while 2018 national 125cc champion Maximus Purvis, also from Mangakino and also an integral part of the Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team, will now step up to the MX2 (250cc) class.

Words by Andy McGechan


The longest stage in the Atacama Rally, held on Wednesday in Copiapó, turned out to be a great success for Kevin Benavides behind the bars of the Honda CRF450 RALLY. The Argentinean Monster Energy Honda Team rider set off this morning from first place and proved to be not only unreachable, but also managed to chalk up the day’s fastest time.

This second stage, the longest of the Atacama Rally, with a total of 440.88 kilometres – including 375.91 against the clock – had the start of the special stage delayed due to the usual appearance of the ‘camanchaca’, a dense local fog that kept the security helicopter, which guarantees race safety, firmly grounded. Once the action got underway, it did so over 73 kilometres less than had previously been scheduled, reducing the special to a total of 303 kilometres.

Benavides set a cracking pace on a battle ground of mostly track, but with some off-piste where he was able to really put the Honda CRF450 RALLY through its paces. By the end of the 303 kilometres, the Monster Energy Honda Team rider had opened a one minute margin over the nearest second-placed rival. As a result Benavides now lies 1’53” ahead of Pablo Quintanilla in the general rankings.

American Ricky Brabec was the second quickest of the Monster Energy Honda Team, posting fifth, 3’17” adrift of his team-mate. Paulo Gonçalves and José Ignacio Cornejo both turned out solid performances and will be looking to claw back time from their adversaries over the coming days.

2018 Cross-Country Rallies
Stage Round FIM-3 , 2

Results Stage 2

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 BENAVIDES Kevin 2 ARG Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 3:44’04
2 SUNDERLAND Sam 5 GBR Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +1’01
3 PRICE Toby 11 AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +2’05
4 WALKNER Matthias 3 AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +3’00
5 BRABEC Ricky 15 USA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +3’17
6 QUINTANILLA Pablo 1 CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +3’33
7 CAIMI Franco 8 ARG Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +4’27
8 GONCALVES Paulo 4 POR Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +5’55
9 VAN BEVEREN Adrien 6 FRA Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +13’04
10 MENA Oriol 14 SPA Hero Motorsports Team Rally Hero +13’13
11 DE SOULTRAIT Xavier 9 FRA Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +14’16
12 SHORT Andrew 12 USA Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +17’54
13 CORNEJO José Ignacio 10 CHI Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +20’09
14 GIEMZA Maciej 19 POL KTM Orlen Rally Team KTM +30’21
15 RODRIGUES Joaquim 16 POR Hero Motorsports Team Rally Hero +31’43

Indian Scout Hooligans back in action at DirtQuake VII this weekend

UNITED KINGDOM (August 16, 2018) – Indian Motorcycle returns to DirtQuake this weekend to race in the Hooligan championship decider as well as giving motorcycling celebrities the chance to show their skills in a Celebrity Hot Lap Challenge aboard the Indian Scout FTR750.

Taking place on August 18 at Arena Essex with support from Indian Motorcycle, DirtQuake VII is the inclusive festival of motorcycling that sees professional and amateur riders, plus celebrities from across the world of motorcycling, race flat track for the fun of it. With rare and unique bikes, family activities and star names, DirtQuake attracts a diverse crowd of motorcycle fans to enjoy a weekend centred on the racing which is the heart of the event. Such is the growing popularity of DirtQuake that, for the second year running, the event is being filmed for broadcast on a major UK television network.

With DirtQuake also playing host to the final round of the Dirt Track Riders Association Hooligan series, the Krazy Horse Race Team will be lining up with the four official Indian Motorcycle supported entries: Leah Tokelove, Chris Hatton, Jonathan Falkman and Lee Kirkpatrick. After a win at the previous round and currently third in the standings, Lee Kirkpatrick will be looking to maintain the winning streak to secure a podium position in the championship results. Leah Tokelove will also be challenging for a podium result following her stunning Hooligan class victory at El Rollo during the Wheels and Waves festival in June.

Indian Motorcycle are also adding extra excitement to the weekend by unleashing the American Flat Track Indian Scout FTR750 for a special Celebrity Hot Lap Challenge. Absolutely dominant in the US championship since 2017, with podium finishes in every 2018 round so far, the FTR750 recently secured a second consecutive manufacturer’s championship for Indian Motorcycle. Riders already confirmed for the challenge are superbike champion Neil Hodgson, former Grand Prix rider and motorsport commentator Steve Parrish, and Jenny Tinmouth who is the fastest women ever at the Isle of Man TT.

Dirt Rider Downunder is proud to be the title sponsor of the Patetonga Motorcycle Club’s Valley Champs again this year.

Hosted by the Patetonga Motorcycle Club at their Top Road MX track, the Valley Champs offers plenty of clay-based action on the very berms and jumps DRD utilise in many of our magazine shoots.

This year, the DRD Valley Champs will also double as the second round of the North Island MX Champs, adding another reason you want to be at the Patetonga MX track over the weekend of November 10-11.

With classes ranging from the Junior 65cc class, through to the MX1 and MX2 classes, there’s a class for everyone to get their racing fix with.

To enter, download an entry form from

We’ll see ya there!