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Dakar 2018: Brits push on through longest stage yet

Published: 14 January 2018

For both Brits Lyndon Poskitt and Max Hunt, It was a case of getting it done and making it back to the bivouac to complete Stage 8, the second part of the marathon stage. It was also the longest stage of the Dakar so far with the timed Special totalling a massive 498km.

For Poskitt, it was a stage that confirmed the intensity of this years race and he was glad to get to the finish, although the respite was short lived. He finished 37th on the stage and is now 41st overall and second in the Malle Moto class.

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Speaking to MCN, he said: “I came across a couple of casualties today. I saw the Yamaha of De Soultrait (out with a broken femur) and a Husqvarna that looked like a chopper – the forks were snapped off.

That was a proper stage, lots of off-piste and lots of people getting lost. This is definitely the most legit Dakar I’ve ever done and there have been times in the last few days where I’ve really had to dig deep. This is a serious race, but when I see other riders struggling it just makes me want to carry on.” 

Upon arriving back to the bivouac Poskitt learned that tomorrows stage nine had been cancelled due to weather conditions. While practically every other rider is staying in the bivouac tonight, at time of writing he and Malle Moto race leader Olivier Pain had set off to ride to the next bivouac in Salta, Argentina – over 500km away.

Before setting off he said: “The thought of riding for another six hours right now is not a nice one, It’s already 5pm, but I’d rather do it now in the dark than in the rain tomorrow and it means I can get there, get some sleep and I’ll have all day tomorrow to recover and work on my bike.”

For Hunt, it was an enjoyable if not intense day and the look on his face when he arrived back in the bivouac and informed stage nine had been cancelled, was a look of euphoria and relief. He claimed 44th on the stage and is now 46th overall.

“It was such a long stage, but not as difficult as the day before. There were more fast pistes and I enjoyed it more. From the big crash I had yesterday, my hip is really sore but not as bad as I expected it to be. I broke the same hip when I was a kid so its never been right.”

He also had to contend with technical issues following the loss of his front mudguard at the very beginning of Stage 7 which caused problems with the routing of his front brake and ICO (trip meter) cabling. 

“When I was fighting my way through the stage I said to myself that if I somehow manage to get this bike to the end of the stage then I’ll just take it easy and try and get to the finish. I can’t believe I made it.”

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