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Adventure Rallies 2019

January is the month of the big Adventure Rallies and 2019 kicked off with the Dakar Rally in South America and the Africa Eco Race in... Africa, of course.
As many of you may know, the Dakar Rally, which was originally run from Paris in France to the capital city of Senegal (hence the name) about 10 years ago moved from the Black Continent to South America. Even thought there were many practical, political and sport related reason for the big change, the move left many fans with a bad taste in their mouths.
Not long after that, the Africa Eco Race came to the scene. An annual rally raid organized in North of Africa, the AER is an answer to the cancellation of 2008 Dakar Rally, and the subsequent moving of the rally to South America, for those who wanted to live the original Dakar spirit.
Since its first edition in 2009, the rally has innovated to give a special focus on security issues and sustainable development, so, in addition to the sporting aspect, the rally aims to put emphasis on individual awareness about eco-responsibility.
For 2019, once again GIVI is teaming up with Italian Enduro legend and rally racer Alessandro Botturi, and the partnership is delivering big dividends, as "Bottu" has been dominating the event since day 1 of the competition. At the moment the Factory Yamaha rider is leading the general classification with a decent margin over his immediate competitor, and with only a couple of stages left in the race, it really looks like Alessandro is bound to be the 4th Italian ever to win the AER, following the success of fellow countrymen Marco Capodacqua, Oscar Polli and Paolo Ceci (winner of the 2018 edition). Forza Bottu!
 
All the while, the Dakar Rally was and still is in full swing in South America. The most famous, and notorius, rally in the World is taking place in Peru as we write this short initial report. The mighty HRC Honda Rally Team, supported by GIVI, has been under the spotlight for both good and not so good reasons. The good news are coming from American Ricky Brabec, that in 2019 seems to be finally in position to leave a mark in the history of the race. He won yesterday's stage and he is now leading the provisional standings. His teammamtes Benavides and Gonçalves are also delivering very good performances and at the moment both navigate in the top tier of the classification. Unfortunately the Team had to endure a major disappointment when its captain, and heavy favorite for the final win, Joan Barreda had to withdraw from the race after only three stages. The Spaniard ended up into a deep ditch while leading the group, and despite trying in any possible way to get out of it and continue the race, he was finally forced to give up and accept another bitter defeat. Barreda, winner of the opening stage, has always been one of the fastest guys in recent years and invariably contributed to the big show that the Dakar Rally delivers every day. It's sad to see him having to throw the towel this early in the competition, without even having the chance to shine.
 
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