The 136KM timed special on stage five of the 2013 Dakar may have been short, but it proved to be seriously eventful for the UK’s riders. At the front of the field Welshman Tim Forman excelled on the technical stage to secure a brilliant 31st position at the end of the stage.
The 34 year old cited the stage as the most enjoyable yet and that enjoyment was clearly reflected in the way he rode and the subsequent result. He now holds 37th in the overall standings.
He said: “The bike is working really well, we made a few changes to it, dropped the forks 5mm and softened them off a bit and now the front feels more planted. Because there was less sand I had more grip which was nice. I really enjoyed the stage. On the fast stuff I can’t really seem to gain a lot and end up running at the same speed as the guys around me, but as soon as we get on the technical parts I see the guys in front struggling and I’m able to pass them. “
On the flip side to Forman’s success, Malle Moto rider Craig Bounds suffered a heavy crash when a Quad rider crossed his path leaving him with serious neck and back pain. Despite his huge crash, Bounds heroically made it to the end of the stage posting the 76th fastest time.
He said: “I was riding well on the stage and making good progress until the crash. I was in a gully and there was a stationary Quad in front of me. Just as I went to pass him, he fired across my path. I tried to avoid him but must have caught it with my foot peg and ended up cartwheeling down the gully.
“I’ve been to the medical centre for X-rays and have been told that I’ve got a serious compression on my spine and I’ve been told not to ride. The plan is to carry on working on my bike so that it’s ready and see if it’s possible tomorrow. I can’t believe my luck, but I guess it’s one of those things.”
MCN spoke to Stan Watt, Lyndon Poskitt, James West and Simon Pavey for their take on stage five.
Stan Watt: Stage finish 42nd, Overall 33rd
“The bike had a very small oil leak out of the sump plug tonight and a bit of a fuel leak too on one of the quick release connectors, but it’s nothing serious. I lost a fair bit of time at the start of the stage, I came off a couple of times on the big climbs, but I wasn’t the only one there were riders everywhere trying to get up.
“After about 70kmit was good, fast and I really got going. There was some proper flat out stuff which I really enjoyed. Looking ahead it looks like it’s going to get serious tomorrow. It’s an early start and 455km timed special!”
Lyndon Poskitt: Stage 59th. Overall 57th
“At the start of the stage there were some big climbs and I had to have a couple of goes at them and felt that I had lost a lot of time so to I was really pleased to find out where I’d finished. There were climbs I felt I should have got up first time, but the problem was that there was lots of dust and people everywhere.
“I also saw the result of a big crash today. Two other riders had got there before me but the guy was lying crumpled and unconscious on the ground with blood coming out of his nose. The two other guys stayed with him and I went on and within 2KM I saw a helicopter and told them about the crash and they took off straight away to help him. It did shake me up though and for about 10KM I rode pretty steady.”
James West: Stage 52nd Overall 69th
“After the problems I’ve been having over the last few days we had a good day today. The bike ran well and I was determined to make up some time. The dust at the start of the stage was pretty bad and the type of riding was more trial riding which didn’t really suit me, but we made good progress. Because it was a short stage everyone was pretty bunched up.
“Tomorrow is much longer and I’m hoping that there will be more sand and more dunes which is what I’m used to. Right now I’m not thinking about a result, the focus is just to do everything I can to get to the finish.”
Simon Pavey: Stage 64th Overall 79th
“After the problems I had yesterday I started 158th today and it was hard. There was a gully full of fesh fesh and it was so deep that riders were getting bogged and completely stuck going down hill. I had to ride smart, pick my route and do a fair bit of flat out in secod gear paddling, but I got through.
“There was also a tough hill at the end covered in fesh fesh and there were riders stuck everywhere. It really brought it home to me just how much harder it is riding at the back, everything is so much more difficult and that’s before you throw the cars and the bikes into the mix.”