Today, Rally Dakar 2021 finally began with a 345km liaison and a 277km special stage from Jeddah to Bisha with Toby Price winning the stage and Ricky Brabec coming in 24th, fourteen minutes and thirteen seconds behind Price. Brabec and teammate Joan Barreda both got lost on the tracks costing Team Honda some significant time; according to Brabec, navigation was especially complex on this stage, and opening up the track on the very first day didn’t help. “Difficult day after attempting to lead out on this one. Navigation was super tricky and not a day to start up in the front. Looking forward to tomorrow’s stage as it’s only just begun,” Brabec posted after crossing the finish line.

Dakar 2021: Stage 1 Throws Navigation Challenges // ADV Rider

“At the end of the day, I’m still the same Ricky Brabec. All that’s changed after the Dakar 2020 win is the number on my motorcycle; I’m not going too crazy. I’m not better than anyone else, there are some really good riders and some really good navigators out here, and I just want to ride my motorcycle and have fun. We all have good days and bad days, we’re all human, we all make mistakes…but would I like to win another Dakar? For sure,” he said in an interview with the Dakar media earlier.

Dakar 2021: Stage 1 Throws Navigation Challenges // ADV Rider

Brabec wasn’t the only one struggling with navigation today: Ross Branch, the Dakar 2020 stage winner, said it was one of the hardest days for him in terms of figuring out roadbook, too. “It was really difficult today. The navigation was tough, I think one of the toughest days in navigation I’ve ever had in rallies. I managed to catch up to the Honda guys and just try and stay with them because all of us seemed to be making navigational errors. I was trying to just do the best I possibly could, it was really difficult at the front for us five, but it’s all a learning lesson,” Branch commented after the finish.

The standings of today seem much different than expected, but Dakar 2021 has only just begun, and there may still be some more surprises along the way:

POS. EXP. DRIVE-TEAM MARK-MODEL TIME VARIATION PENALITY
1 3
(AUS) TOBY PRICE
RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM 03H 18′ 26”
2 47 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021 03H 18′ 57” + 00H 00′ 31”
3 52 RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM 03H 18′ 58” + 00H 00′ 32”
4 5 RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM 03H 20′ 29” + 00H 02′ 03”
5 15 SHERCO FACTORY 03H 22′ 49” + 00H 04′ 23”
6 12 HT RALLY RAID HUSQVARNA RACING 03H 23′ 01” + 00H 04′ 35”
7 6 MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RALLY TEAM 03H 23′ 14” + 00H 04′ 48”
8 9 BAS DAKAR KTM RACING TEAM 03H 23′ 51” + 00H 05′ 25”
9 77 ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING 03H 26′ 03” + 00H 07′ 37” 00H 01′ 00”
10 31 ORION – MOTO RACING GROUP 03H 26′ 36” + 00H 08′ 10”
11 87
(ESP) ORIOL MENA
FN SPEED – RIEJU TEAM 03H 26′ 55” + 00H 08′ 29”
12 7 MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RALLY TEAM 03H 27′ 16” + 00H 08′ 50”
13 42 MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RALLY TEAM 03H 28′ 01” + 00H 09′ 35”
14 11 SLOVNAFT RALLY TEAM 03H 28′ 05” + 00H 09′ 39”
15 18 MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RALLY TEAM 03H 28′ 13” + 00H 09′ 47”
16 4 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021 03H 30′ 50” + 00H 12′ 24”
17 17 FN SPEED – RIEJU TEAM 03H 31′ 03” + 00H 12′ 37”
18 22 ORLEN TEAM 03H 31′ 39” + 00H 13′ 13”
19 68 MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RALLY TEAM 03H 33′ 10” + 00H 14′ 44”
20 2 ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING 03H 33′ 56” + 00H 15′ 30”
21 20 ORLEN TEAM 03H 33′ 56” + 00H 15′ 30”
22 88 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021 03H 34′ 05” + 00H 15′ 39”
23 27 HERO MOTOSPORTS TEAM RALLY 03H 34′ 53” + 00H 16′ 27”
24 1 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021 03H 36′ 58” + 00H 18′ 32”
25 21 KTM FACTORY TEAM 03H 38′ 17” + 00H 19′ 51” 00H 07′ 00”
26 32 FN SPEED – KTM TEAM 03H 43′ 32” + 00H 25′ 06”
27 19 SHERCO FACTORY 03H 45′ 07” + 00H 26′ 41”
28 36
(CZE) JAN BRABEC
STROJRENT RACING 03H 45′ 36” + 00H 27′ 10”
29 24 HERO MOTOSPORTS TEAM RALLY 03H 50′ 20” + 00H 31′ 54”
30 26 ORION – MOTO RACING GROUP 03H 53′ 36” + 00H 35′ 10”

Images: Dakar.com

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