Today’s 4.30am start was made even worse after the Dakar switched time zones from Peru to Chile which meant that everyone in the Bivouac lost two hours sleep. The sleep depravation was compounded by the fact that stage six was the longest day of the Dakar so far with a monster 455km timed special which was split into two, with a neutralisation zone in the middle.
Despite the efforts by the organisers to make the stage the hardest to date the six remaining Brits fought their way to the finish posting some impressive results in the process.
Tim Forman, Stage 33rd, Overall 36th
“It was a good stage, really varied but there was a lot of dust which prevented me from passing a few people as it would have been too risky. A lot of people spoke about the power of their bike going down because of the altitude, but I genuinely didn’t notice it.
“I had a bit of a moment today and unluckily for me it was right in front of one of the TV helicopter, There was a switch back in the dunes and the helicopter was right in front of me. I looked up at it and then tucked the front and went over the handlebars! I then had to try and make picking the bike up look easy because I knew they were filming.
Stan Watt, stage 36th, Overall 32nd
“It was a good day, I dropped the guys behind me, but couldn’t catch the ones in front. I really noticed the altitude today with the bike. We went from sea level to about 3250m in about 100KM and it really takes it out the bike. At one point it wouldn’t pull more than 120kph – you really feel it on the top end.
“The navigation was pretty simple today because you can see the dust and the tracks way off in the distance – you’re only really confirming things on your road book.”
Lyndon Poskitt stage 53rd, Overall 58th
“The start of the stage was really good and I passed about five riders in the first 20km and then we got into some difficult navigation , with dunes and off piste. Si Pavey caught me got passed and took off but instead of just following him I decided I needed to navigate myself. In the middle of the stage it was really rough, loads of rock and it was just brutal and then by the end of the first part of the stage I felt good.
“I felt tired in the neutralisation zone but as soon as the second part of the special started everything fell into place. It was a really fast stage and and I spent most of it absolutely flat out. I felt I rode really well, but then I made a silly mistake at the end which cost me some time.”
Simon Pavey: Stage 66th , Overall 71st
“We didn’t get much sleep last night and then the liasison was pretty cold. The first part of the Special was pretty technical and I was riding really well. I passed a lot of people and felt really good on the bike . It was the type of riding that really suited me and I made up a lot of time.
“In the second part of the stage it was flat out, real wide open stuff and that’s not my kind of riding. There are other guys that are better at it than me or maybe just braver, but that’s what Dakar is all about the riding is always so varied.”
James West: stage 98th, Overall 75th
Craig Bounds: Stage 110th, Overall 99th
“I was in so much pain today after my crash yesterday and it felt like my back was in a vice. I didn’t get any sleep but I decided I had to give it a go this morning. It was pretty bad out there, but I managed to get to the finish. My back doesn’t feel any better so it’s a case of taking lots of painkillers and I hope it feels a bit better in the morning.”