The 40th edition of the race, the most brutal off-road competition of them all, once again witnessed joy and drama building up and finally unravel in the last few days, with the final destination of Cordoba already in sight.
Once again denied by a cruel fate, Italian Enduro legend Alessandro Botturi was betrayed by a rock hiding under the sand when he was just a few kilometers away from the end of the special test on day 10. Luckily, he was not seriously hurt in the horrendous crash that ensued, but still he was forced out of the competition altogether, not being able to reach the end of the test with a destroyed rear wheel. Big disappointment for the factory Yamaha rider, who can't seem to catch a break after his spectacular debut at the Dakar in 2012, when he finished 8th overall and was awarded the title of "Best Rookie".
The Dakar was even more of a roller coaster for the GIVI sponsored Monster Energy HRC Honda Rally Team. Their superstar rider, Joan "Bam Bam" Barreda, won some stages in spectacular fashion and even led the general classification, but his aggressive style proved to be once again his own poison. The Spaniard injured his knee on the second day of the marathon stage and the unbearable pain forced him to abandon the race the very following day, after resisting further, grueling 100 kilometers.
His other Team mate, American Ricky Brabec, had some great days and won a stage, too, but a technical problem that eventually set his CRF450 Rally bike on fire, forced him to retire with just two days left.
It was local hero Kevin Benavides, third member of the squad, who eventually delivered the best performance for the Team, closing the competition in a spectacular fashion, winning the last stage and securing the second place overall in the general standings. The Argentinean was in the thick of the competition for most of the 14 days of the Dakar, last man standing against the once again invincible KTM squad.


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