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What Dakar 2024 Day 5 Bike Report
Where Shubaytah, Saudi Arabia
When Wednesday 10 January 2024
Community International

Strong Wednesday ride sees Botswana Hero back on top

Multiple former South African cross Country champion, Botswana’s Ross Branch retook the Dakar 2024 lead on his Hero as Chilean Pablo Quintanilla’s Honda won Wednesday’s short, sharp 118 km Day 5 dune dash to Shubaytah in the middle of the Arabian Desert.

Quintanilla took advantage of his low 18th place starting position to lead Californian Honda teammate Ricky Brabec, defending champion Argentine Luciano Benavides’ Husqvarna, Aussie Toby Price on his factory KTM, and Frenchman Adrien van Beveren at the first 35 km waypoint. Branch sat back in eleventh, with South Africans Bradley Cox on his BAS KTM 20th and Husqvarna duo Charan Moore and Zimbabwean Ashton Thixton 29th and 30th.

The order ebbed and flowed across the Empty Quarter dunes behind the top three, who went on to finish in that order. Behind them, Daniel Sanders’ GasGas jumped up to fourth from Mason Klein’s Kove, Branch who made up five places, Brabec, privateer Stefan Svitko’s KTM, Luciano Benavides and Skyler Howes’ Honda in tenth.

Behind them, Bradley Cox enjoyed his best ride in a few days to end up 17th and fourth in Rally 2, with Thixton and Moore 30th and 31st overall and 13th and 14th in R2, respectively. KTM riding South Africans Ronald Venter was 67th and no service Malle Moto man Stuart Gregory finished 80th.

Chilean Honda overnight leader Nacho Florimo finishing 13th means Ross Branch has moved back into the Dakar 2024 bike lead he had held from the start until yesterday for Hero. He leads Florimo by a minute and 14 seconds, with Brabec third another two and a half minutes adrift, and van Beveren in a Honda 2-3-4, from Kevin Benavides‘ KTM and Quintanilla’s Honda.

Cox is now 21st overall and fifth in R2, Moore 25th, Thixton 38th, Venter 71st and Gregory 76th. As quick and simple as Wednesday’s stage was, Thursday is a horse of another colour completely. The unique 620 km two-day Chrono stage overnight stop is a brand new concept for Dakar 2024.

Riders and crews will spend the night at one of seven totally isolated bivouacs, depending on which they are closest to at 4 pm Thursday afternoon. They will be rationed six litres of water, a tent, a floor mat, a sleeping bag and survival food. They will have no idea of their rivals’ positions.

The bikes and cars then start Thursday together, with leading crews facing as little as 100 km to the finish ahead of Friday’s rest. Tune in to find out how it all went, same time tomorrow! Your daily Dakar Bike Report is powered by Tork Craft tools.

Issued on behalf of Dakar 2024 Bikes Daily

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