Stage 5 - San Juan De Marcona to Arequipa 266km timed special, 508km liaison – 774km total
Stage 5 was billed as one of the most demanding stages on what has already been a brutal 2018 Dakar, but both remaining Brits Max Hunt and Lyndon Poskitt proved their credentials and made it to the finish.
The 266km timed special was the last big dune stage of the rally with the race leaving Peru tomorrow and heads to the high altitude stages of Bolivia.
For Poskitt it was a case of getting it done before embarking on a 508km liaison to the bivouac in Arequipa. Poskitt finished the stage in a solid 49th position – a result that moves him to 47th in the overall standings, while maintaining third in the Malle Moto class.
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Speaking to MCN while doing his road book and waiting for the Malle Moto truck to arrive. He said: “I knew that with such a long liaison it was going to be vital to get going as soon as I finished the stage. At the end of the stage I put my music on and just rode hard all the way back. I was pushing like I was on a road bike because I wanted to get back asap. There will be riders that dawdle that won’t be back for hours and there is a lot to do.”
Poskitt’s strategy worked and he was the first Malle Moto rider back, in fact he beat the Malle Moto truck which carries the riders tool box and tent. This meaant that he couldn’t actually do any of the maintenance he needs to which was why he was focussing his attentions on marking up tomorrows Road Book.
Speaking about the stage itself, he said: “The special was split into two stages. The first part was 200 and something km of dunes, which we were told was going to be super tough. I breezed through those and then we had 53km left which I thought was going to be easy. It turned out to be the longest 53km of my life! The dune faces were so steep and if you didn’t have momentum you were f**ked. Lets just say I’m happy I got it done.”
Despite it being billed as one of the toughest stages, Hunt enjoyed every bit of the gruelling day with his sand riding ascending new heights. He finished the stage in 58th place but having stopped to help a rider who had crashed and broken his leg, he is expecting to get some time back, which could improve his position in the standings.
He said: “I had to go to the medical tent last night after smashing my hand on stage 4. They drilled holes in my finger nail which was black. I thought it was going to be agony, but it wasn’t that bad and it felt so much better afterwards. I even videoed them doing it!”
“I really enjoyed the stage apart from making one really stupid navigational mistake. I didn’t miss any way points but the mistake cost me loads of time. There were plenty of other riders doing the same, but I’m really kicking myself.”
“The liaison back to the bivouac was horrific though. So long and then as we got to the end the crowd were crazy. There were so many people blocking the road and when you had to slow down they were all grabbing you it felt like they were trying to pull you off the bike. They just want to touch you and take a selfie, but after being on the bike for 13 hours, it’s not what you want.”
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