The five strong British based contingents all had positive days on the penultimate stage of the Dakar with Stan Watt and Tim Forman moving up to 25th and 26th place respectively in the overall standings.
For Forman his escalation in the standings came after finishing 28th on the stage today – his best result of the race to date.
He said: “It was a good day and after a crash and a few navigational mistakes I was able to ride pretty well. I gave it everything in the last part of the second stage which was really quick. I was doing everything I could to make up some time and it worked.”
Stan Watt finished in 30th spot and while he is still nursing his shoulder he dislocated three days ago he has been able to ride well and remain consistent.
He said: “I’m getting used to the shoulder injury now because I kind of know what’s going to aggravate it and when it will be ok. Now it’s a case of hanging on in there and seeing what else we can get. “We made a few suspension tweaks to the bike overnight which worked for me and the bike was also going really well on the quick stuff. There’s not much that can stay with it, which meant I had the speed to close down and catch a few guys which was good.”
Lyndon Poskitt also had an impressive day on his KTM and after starting the stage way down in 87th after yesterday’s problems he finished an impressive 37th which put him 46th overall.
“It was a rough start being back in 87th. I had a lot of quads to get past, but I managed to stay patient and only passed them when I could see. Today I felt that I could have ridden faster, but I felt comfortable throughout the whole stage. Nobody passed me and I must have passed about 30 bikes.
“Now the focus is getting to the end. It feels good to have only one day to go, but it’s not done yet.”
Simon Pavey found the majority of the stage top open and too fast, but enjoyed some parts and finished the day in 61st place a result that puts him 60th overall with one stage to go.
“There was lots of fast stuff today, but also some pretty cool bits. We had mountains that you could see in the distance that you had to get up and you were flat out in fifth gear from the bottom to get to the top. Sometimes you made it in top and other times you had to change down into fourth.”
Craig Bounds’ hopes of completing the Dakar became one step closer to reality after the badly injured Welshman completed the 13th stage of the race in 94th position.
He said: “That was another long day. The dunes were good and I would have loved to be in a position to race today, instead of just getting through There was a bit of navigation today, but because I’m riding so steady I didn’t have any problems. I’m glad to get through today – only one day to go!”