Stage four of the 2013 Dakar threw up some of the biggest challenges of the race so far with the riders having to race through the timed 290KM special before completing a massive 430KM liaison stage.
The honour of lead Brit went to Dakar rookie Tim Forman who excelled on the varied terrain to secure his best stage finish in 45th position. The result saw him move up the leader board and into 41st position overall.
Speaking to MCN. He said: “I actually found the liaison stage really hard because I haven’t done much on the road. I don’t ride a road bike so the most I’ve done is about ten miles in an Enduro so doing nearly 270 miles today was a bit of a shock!
“There was some good riding today especially the 14KM flat out along the beach. There was a big sandy up hill climb at the end of the stage which really took it out of the bikes. It felt like I’d lost so much power that I actually thought there could be something wrong with the bike, but I had a look behind me and could see that I was still pulling on the others. It was just down to the steepness of the hill and the depth of the sand.”
Irishman Stan Watt once again delivered a strong performance finishing one place behind Forman, a result that moves him up to 35th overall.
He said: “Time wise it was a big stage because we’ve been riding for ten hours, but I still feel that there is some bigger and harder stages to come. I think we lose out a little bit to the lighter bikes in sand stages like this but the KTM will come into its own when we hit the big 500KM stages in Argentina later in the race.”
Lyndon Poskitt had far and away his best stage of his first Dakar, passing thirty riders to finish the stage in 56th position. The 34 year old clearly enjoyed the varied stage and his strong performance has moved him up to 62nd in the overall standings.
“At the start of the stage there was loads of fesh fesh and it sucks, but I remembered back to when I rode Baja 1000 because there was about 60 miles of it in that race. I was pretty good at it by the end so I knew how to ride it and just knuckled down and got on with it. The visibility was really bad so I ended up getting out of the valley we were all in and as a result passed a lot of riders.”
Craig Bounds continued to make solid progress in the Malle Moto class finishing in 96th which puts him 102nd overall.
James West ‘s technical problems continued on stage four, with the factory Sherco rider having on going fuelling issues which saw him way off his expected pace. The Dubai based Brit ended the stage a disastrous 129th, which leaves him 86th overall.
Simon Pavey’s stage four got off to a horrendous start when his bike stopped less than 10km into the timed special. After spending well over an hour on the satellite phone to his team in an effort to resolve the problem he finally realised it was down to a fuel isolation problem. The team had replaced the fuel filter and the tap had not been re-activated.
Pavey said: “The whole fuel thing was a nightmare and I lost a lot of time. I was the last bike on the stage by the time I got it sorted, but from then on I had a great day. The riding was amazing, technical, slow speed, to high speed, dunes, beaches, mountains, rocks – you name it. A day like today was exactly the reason that I come and race the Dakar.”