Former GP star Van den Goorbergh out to win Dakar unsupported

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A name more familiar to tarmac racing fans than off-road is out to win the Malles Moto classification within the 2015 Dakar Rally in the shape of former MotoGP front runner Jurgen van den Goorbergh. The Flying Dutchman lines up on the number 65 Team Super-B KTM for the unsupported class.

The forty five year old, more used to having a team of mechanics surrounding him, will instead are completely self-sufficient during the three week-long rally, carrying out all his own maintenance – a challenge he’s relishing.

"When I made my Dakar debut in 2009, I finished seventeenth overall and best rookie. I've since taken part in a buggy and in a truck with mixed success, but I wanted to have another go on two wheels because motorcycles have always been my great passion. The reason I picked the Malles Moto category is that I love working on my machines and taking care of them."

"Last year I had a lot of fun in the truck, and it was totally different to what I'm used to; quite exciting but almost too easy. I was happy to finish but didn't want to do it again. I needed a new challenge and I'll be in the Malle Moto class to win it. I don't only want to finish, I want to win. My other goal is to be in the Top 25 and that should be fairly tough.”

“I've always been used to having mechanics around me, now I'll be on my own. I'll need to change my style of riding and probably go 10 to 15% slower to keep the bike in one piece. For me, it's back to basics, a last real challenge. It's more of an adventure.”

Van den Goorbergh finished the opening day of competition in 68th overall after a disentigrating rear tyre cost him time. He remains tenth overall in the Malle moto class, nine minutes behind leader Romain Souvignet.

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer