Husqvarna man Joan Barreda Bort secured a convincing victory in stage two of the Dakar to o the overall lead of the race. The 29 year old Spaniard showed his sheer pace to win by 3m 16s despite making a number of navigational errors.
Barreda wasn’t the only rider to have navigational difficulties, almost all the top men made the same mistake at the 74km marker choosing the wrong path meaning that they would all have to turn back and go completely off piste to find the way point and avoid a significant time penalty.
Speaking to MCN Bareda said: “From the start of the Dakar we knew the stages where we wanted to attack and this was one of them. I pushed very hard, made some mistakes, but once I got the lead I was able to stay there. It is an important result, but I will have to lead out stage three which will not be easy.”
One man that profited from the errors of the front guys was fast Australian Matt Fish who having started behind the leaders caught them as they were correcting their mistake and then tagged onto them until the finish. He finished the stage in third place behind factory KTM man Juan Pedero Garcia.
Fourth place went to Cyril Despres’ support rider Ruben Faria with Marc Coma’s replacement Kurt Casseli showing impressive pace to finish fifth. South Africa’s Darryl Curtis claimed sixth his best Dakar stage result of his career.
He said: “That was absolutely incredible. I had such a good run and ended up riding in with all the top guys. I was looking around thinking ‘I should not be keeping up with these guys’
Despres had a complicated day finishing the stage 12th fastest 10m 10s behind Barreda. It means that he consolidates his fifth 8m 50s behind the Spaniard.
Speaking to MCN, he said: “This stage was something that we didn’t expect. The organisers said not so much desert, not so much mountains. They said it would be a good first real day but to watch out for a few dunes. In reality we all got lost, everyone had to turn around and we did not know where we were.
It was a tough beginning; we were in the middle of the mountains within 40 minutes of the start of the stage. It’s difficult when the guys in front of you get lost because they come back on the route you are going convinced that we all must go in a different direction.
It is in this moment that if you do not trust yourself you are f**ked. In the end the other guys followed me and we were able to catch the way point. It started when we were all following Chaleco (Lopez) he made only a small mistake but it ended up having big consequences.”
Stage one winner, Lopez had a disastrous day and after leading out the stage finished in 20th place.