What a wonderful race! After more than 8,000 km and 43:27.20 hours spent in the special between dunes, fast dirt roads and anomalous “puddles”, it all boiled down to just 43 seconds between Kevin Benavides and Toby Price. With the awards stage, in Damman, the 45th edition of the Dakar ends. The Argentine takes his second victory and becomes the first rider in the modern 450cc era to win with two different motorcycle manufacturers: Honda in 2021 and now KTM. This shotgun carries the orange on the top step of the podium for the 19th time in history, four times since Toby Price’s last win in South America. “I started from scratch in this last special and tried to don’t think of anything, just going full throttle for 138 kilometres.” Benavides enthuses, “It wasn’t easy, there was a lot of mud and they also put some difficult navigation points. For me the most important result is be the first rider to win the Dakar with two different manufacturers“. After a 2020 and 2021 as winners, Honda had to give way again this year to the Austrian family; the couple Pablo Quintanilla and Adrien Van Beveren have made the top five, exchanging fourth and fifth place respectively (in the last stage), for the honor of best HRC rider.
Hard business the one that Kevin carried out; in the history of the toughest rally in the world have there been other riders who won with different bikes? The answer is yes: Cyril Nephew nel 1979/80 con Yamaha XT500 & 1986/87 Honda NXR750V, our Edi Orioli 1988 with Honda NXR750V & 1990/94/96 Cagiva Elefant, Richard Saint in 1999/00 with BMWF650RR & 2003 KTM LC4 660R and Kevin Benavides nel 2023 con KTM 450 Rally & 2021 Honda CRF450 Rally.
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