Lyndon Poskitt became the first British rider to finish a stage of the Dakar inside the top ten since the late John Deacon in 2001.
The 34 year old Brit competing in his first ever Dakar was unfazed by the difficult conditions which included soft sand, rain and hail to pull of the shock result after making perfect navigational decisions at a critical part of the stage where the majority of his rivals went wrong.
The KTM rider knew that he’d performed well on the stage but had no idea that he’d made up so much time on his rivals in navigation. After hearing his position Poskitt was ecstatic but then faced an anxious hour before the organisers confirmed the result as there was some initial discussion about cancelling the stage due to 17 riders not being able to complete the stage due to a flooded river.
Speaking to MCN Poskitt said: “There was a 10km run across really soft sand, it was so soft that the front tyres was really pushing instead of rolling. I got to the way point but I wasn’t expecting to be there because my Ico said I had another KM to go. I realised that the Ico was 10% out because of the soft sand. I made the decision to move my Ico on 2KM because I realised I wasn’t covering the distance and then I came to the river at the right point, saw a couple of tracks and took it.
“I got to the end of the stage having passed about eight riders and knew I’d had a good stage, but I never expected that I would be in the top ten, it’s incredible.”
James West claimed the 35th fastest time to back up his 39th yesterday, but was left frustrated after getting lost along with a host of the top men. The results move him up to 65th overall.
He said: “I was running in the top ten, the bike was working well and when I caught Jordi Viladoms I knew I was having a good day. The sand was really soft and choppy so I just sat on the back of the bike and opened it up. It was perfect right up until the point I got lost! I was with Johnny Campbell, Paolo Goncalves and we were running around in circles until I finally found the right way. I lost too much time and with only 60km left of the stage remaining there was no time to make it back up.”
Simon Pavey didn’t enjoy his day but used his experience to correct his navigational mistake quickly to finish in 52nd place. A result that puts him 67th overall.
He said: “I rode like a Muppet today and just didn’t feel comfortable. It was one of those days and when you feel like that on the Dakar you have to ride accordingly. My electric motor on my road book stopped working so I had to slow down anyway. I missed the turning like everyone else but realised within about 400m that I’d gone wrong and went back to sort it out.”
Stan Watt had to deal with severe fuelling problems because of the high altitude, but was more frustrated at the missed opportunity to secure a strong stage result after getting the navigation right while his rivals faltered. He finished 62nd and is now 32nd overall.
“We changed the jetting yesterday and it wasn’t running well and then today I lost over 20 minutes with the thing not starting. Even when it was going it would only pull 130kph, it’s got no power, but the biggest problem was the slow speed stuff, two times I went to wind the throttle on and the thing just cut out, threw me over the handlebars and then landed on me. Then it wouldn’t start so I ended up having the tanks off, the airbox off and had to drain the carb. I couldn’t get it going but eventually I blew the tanks to get a bit of pressure in them and it fired up.”
It was a bitterly disappointing day for Tim Forman who after pushing his way up the leader board has had to ride for two days with a split front wheel rim. Forman noticed the problem yesterday but because of entering the Marathon stage could do nothing about fixing it. He ended the stage way down in 83rd and now sits 35th overall.
He said: At the end of the stage I looked down and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Thankfully it didn’t get any worse, but I had to ride so gently especially with a full fuel load.
At one point there were a couple of ditches. Normally I would have jumped it, but I knew I couldn’t so I shut off and dropped into it, but ended up nearly going over the bars. I hit my head on all the navigational equipment so hard I was seeing stars.”
Craig Bounds continued to defy the odds by completing stage eight despite the pain in his back getting worse. The tough Welshman has also started to lose feeling in his left hand, but still managed to get through the stage to finish in 101st which puts him 92nd overall.