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Thread: Afiquia Merzouga Rally 2016 Final Results

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    Default Afiquia Merzouga Rally 2016 Final Results

    CS Santosh had a mixed opening day at the Afriquia Merzouga Rally, ending the day in 17th after a difficult start to the morning.

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    Rodrigues finishes opening stage in the top ten
    The Afriquia Merzouga Rally is no walk in the park. That´s what the riders had to acknowledge on the first real day of racing in the Moroccon desert. As temperatures soarad above 40 degrees celsius the route through the big dunes of Merzouga and Erg Chebbi provided plenty of tricky navigation and sandy challenges. The Hero MotoSports Team Rally with its riders Joaquim Rodrigues and CS Santosh impressed with a decent performance.

    Rally rookie "J-Rod" Rodrigues delivered a steady stage, finishing the day in tenth position. The Portuguese stayed out of trouble and was quite satisfied with his result. "Today was my first rally stage", he said. "I didn´t make too many mistakes, just one at a checkpoint. It is really difficult with the navigation and it is pretty hot out here. I´m happy to finish the way I did, it was a good experience. Tomorrow I will try to avoid mistakes and then hopefully make progress throughout the week."

    Following his result in yesterday´s prologue, CS Santosh was the first rider to enter the special test. The popular Indian had some navigational issues, but kept calm and never lost his focus. Santosh placed 17th.

    "I was a bit nervous opening the track. But the team told me to go ahead and be confident. I had a good feeling, then I started to make some small mistakes. I finally found someone who handled the navigation very well, that helped me and I brought it home. The rally is very, very tough. It deserves to be part of the Dakar series. You don´t need a crystal ball to see that the next four days will be very challenging."

    Tuesday´s stage two will see the special test split into two parts. The race will move to the west of Merzouga and there will be some mountainous sections to master.

    Preliminary Results Stage 1
    1. Stefan Svitko, SVK, KTM 2:48:42 hrs
    2. Helder Rodrigues, POR, Yamaha +2:04 min
    3. Adrien van Beveren, FRA, Yamaha +4:18
    4. Ricky Brabec, USA, Honda +4:20
    5. Kevin Benavides, ARG, Honda +4:46
    10. Joaquim Rodrigues, POR, Hero +23:32
    17. CS Santosh, IND, Hero +56:25

    Preliminary Overall standings
    1. Svitko 2:52:07 hrs
    2. Helder Rodrigues +2:04 min
    3. van Beveren +4:06
    4. Brabec +4:12
    5. Benavides +4:33
    11. Rodrigues +23:38
    23. CS Santosh +56:44
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    Default Re: CS Santosh 17th on first day of Afriquia Merzouga Rally

    Good to see the bike doing well. CS is going to build his confidence and this is the benefit that comes with being a factory rider. Participation in tournaments leading up to Dakar.
    Every Motorcycle has a tale to be told and there is no greater privilage in the life of a rider than to have truly understood what his Motorcycle stands to tell. Some of the greatest stories in the world are not written, they are experienced.

    One of the many reasons they say, "Four Wheels Move the Body, Two Wheels Move the Soul"

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    Default Afiquia Merzouga Rally 2016, Stage 2 Update

    Stage two of the Afriquia Merzouga Rally brought the Hero MotoSports Team Rally another rock-solid day in the heat of the Moroccon desert. Joaquim Rodrigues consolidated his position in the overall standings, his team-mate CS Santosh moved into the top twenty.

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    The day was marked by two special tests, making the riders race 181 kilometres against the clock. Altogether 340 km of distance had to be covered. Rally rookie Rodrigues showed he´s a quick learner in the second part of the second special, when he was held up by dust from competitors in front of him. "J-Rod" took no risk, remained patient and got on the gas when the circumstances allowed to.

    Joaquim Rodrigues, Hero MotoSports Rally team rider said,
    "It was better than yesterday, I didn´t really get lost and finished the race pretty good. I´m happy because with each stage I understand better how this rally thing works. Now it´s about learning more and more and place my Hero well in the standings."

    Rodrigues was handed a 30-minute penalty on Monday evening after it had become clear he missed a waypoint during stage one.

    Wolfgang Fischer, Hero MotoSports team’s Managing Director said,
    "Today was one of the longest days of the rally," offered India´s motorsport star CS Santosh. "My navigation was good in the dunes. I paid close attention to the roadbook and that went alright. I got a little lost on two occassion, but the overall feeling remains very positive."

    "On days like these it´s important to stay concentrated,"

    "Our riders did a good job and there´s no reason not to be pleased. Tomorrow is the first part of the marathon stage, meaning the bikes can only be serviced by the riders on a very basic scale. I´m confident our boys are mentally and physically ready for the second part of the rally. Obviously there are no worries whatsoever regarding the bikes."

    Provisional Results Stage 2

    1.Gerard Farres Guell, SPA, KTM 4:51:45 hrs
    2. Adrien van Beveren, FRA, Yamaha +1:18 min
    3. Stefan Svitko, SVK, KTM +1:33
    4. Kevin Benavides, ARG, Honda +2:25
    5. Helder Rodrigues, POR, Yamaha +4:19
    11. Joaquim Rodrigues, POR, Hero +26:35
    21. CS Santosh, IND, Hero +49:59

    Provisional Overall Standings

    1. Svitko 7:45:25 hrs
    2. Farres Guell +3:37 min
    3. van Beveren +3:51
    4. Helder Rodrigues +4:50
    5. Benavides +5:25
    11. Joaquim Rodrigues +1:18:40
    18. CS Santosh +1:45:10

    News Source: Hero MotoCorp Press Release

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    Default Re: CS Santosh 17th on first day of Afriquia Merzouga Rally

    Incredible progress by both riders and machine. Hero seems to be developing a class act here!
    Every Motorcycle has a tale to be told and there is no greater privilage in the life of a rider than to have truly understood what his Motorcycle stands to tell. Some of the greatest stories in the world are not written, they are experienced.

    One of the many reasons they say, "Four Wheels Move the Body, Two Wheels Move the Soul"

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    Default re: Afiquia Merzouga Rally 2016 Final Results

    A raging desert storm was the biggest star in Stage 3 of the Afriquia Merzouga Rally. Figuratively and literally dominating everyone's senses!The Stage 3 was the first half of a two day marathon stage. Where the bikes had to be tended to by the rider themselves with no help allowed from the mechanics and teams. But the storm threw a curveball into everyone's plans, with the race being interrupted at the second checkpoint. Leaving the race results as unclear as the stormy desert air!











    As temperatures in the desert climbed to 40 degrees celsius and more on Wednesday, a desert storm made things complicated for the competitors of the Afriquia Merzouga Rally in Morocco. Originally the focus of today´s stage three was on the first part of the two-day marathon stage, meaning the pilots have to maintain their machines in the bivouac without the help of outside mechanical assistance. The stage was scheduled to offer 220 kilometres of timed special test, mostly on sandy off-piste terrain. But much changed due to the weather.

    The Hero MotoSports Team Rally overcame the situation with Joaquim Rodrigues making headway and CS Santosh finishing the stage.


    With the conditions becoming too critical to guarantee a fair and safe competition, the race was finally interrupted at the second checkpoint. It is uncertain what this means for the riders who had already reached the end of the special test before the proceedings were halted. It looks as though Joaquim Rodrigues, who is one of only a dozen riders making it to the bivouac at 4 pm local time, has lost some ground on the leaders because of a minor crash. But a brave and courageous ride seems to have moved him into the top ten of the overall classification.


    Regardless of how the currently provisional results will be confirmed, it´s clear that the decisive phase of the race has begun. The riders stay overnight in the bivouac in the Atlas mountains. Tomorrow the stage will be leading back south towards the town of Erfoud. 204 km of special test are on the agenda. Riders are scheduled enter the first road section at 6 am.
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    Default re: Afiquia Merzouga Rally 2016 Final Results

    CS Santosh and teammate Joaquim Rodrigues did a good job of successfully completing the gruelling marathon stage of the Merzouga Rally on their Hero MotoSports Team Rally bikes.

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    In the marathon stage the riders are left to fend for themselves, as they are not allowed any help from their team and mechanics. This challenge gets magnified if one has a crash or technical problem during the stage. Rodrigues took a tumble and broke his navigation device, thus getting left directionless. He finally had to follow another rider to the stage finish line.

    Rodrigues and Santosh master difficult marathon stage

    The hardest days of the Afriquia Merzouga Rally in Morocco are over for the riders. After staying overnight in the bivouac in the Atlas mountains on their own, the pilots went to work this morning to complete the penultimate stage of the race. Joaquim Rodrigues, riding for the newly formed Hero MotoSports Team Rally, missed another top ten result by a couple of minutes, but the Portuguese rookie still lies well placed in the overall standings.Rodrigues sums up his initial marathon experience: "My first ever (two-day) marathon stage didn´t start that great. I got lost too many times on Wednesday and had a crash. My navigation device broke and that was really bad. Luckily I found a fellow rider and followed him to the bivouac. I managed to fix the bike and started today alright. I was trying to catch the riders in front of me and got a little lost. Still it was a pretty good ride, happy to have finished this new challenge. Tomorrow we will end the rally with a format that should suit me. I´ll give it my best one more time."

    "Yesterday was extremely tough," adds India´s CS Santosh, who finished Thursday´s stage in 23rd place. "The organisers had told us it was going to be demanding and it was for sure. They cut things short because of the weather, which was the right decision. This morning I started well, but I made a mistake in the navigation.
    That cost me a lot of time. Overall I´m happy to be back at the main bivouac. The bike is fantastic, no problems at all. Now looking forward to the final stage."

    Friday's closing stage five offers a special test of 74 kilometres in length. The top riders will be sent into the desert with a Le Mans-style start procedure. The race will be completed after six days and 1,500 km in the town of Erfoud around noon local time.

    Provisional Results Stage 41. Kevin Benavides, ARG, Honda 2:19:35 hrs
    2. Gerard Farres Guell, SPA, KTM +6:18 min;
    3. Stefan Svitko, SVK, KTM +6:48;
    4. Adrien van Beveren, FRA, Yamaha +8:11;
    5. Ricky Brabec, USA, Yamaha +13:48;
    12. Joaquim Rodrigues, POR, Hero +39:49;
    23. CS Santosh, IND, Hero +1:02:14

    Provisional Overall Standings1. Benavides 13:39:30 hrs
    2. Svitko +3:05 min
    3. van Beveren +11:36
    4. Farres Guell +12:09
    5. Helder Rodrigues, POR, Yamaha +12:53
    9. Joaquim Rodrigues +2:45:24
    19. CS Santosh
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    Default re: Afiquia Merzouga Rally 2016 Final Results

    Hero and CS still going strong!
    Every Motorcycle has a tale to be told and there is no greater privilage in the life of a rider than to have truly understood what his Motorcycle stands to tell. Some of the greatest stories in the world are not written, they are experienced.

    One of the many reasons they say, "Four Wheels Move the Body, Two Wheels Move the Soul"

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    Default Re: Afiquia Merzouga Rally 2016 Final Results

    Good to know at last hero ventures into true motor sport

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    Default Re: Afiquia Merzouga Rally 2016 Final Results

    CS Santosh finished the 5 stage Afriquia Merzouga Rally in 16th place while teammate Joaquim Rodrigues finished 9th on their Hero Rally Bikes.

    Mission accomplished for Hero MotoSports Team Rally in Morocco

    The Afriquia Merzouga Rally has concluded today with the final stage held near the town of Erfoud. The riders had to complete a double loop in Motocross-style before turning off the engines after 1,500 demanding kilometres through the Moroccon desert.

    Joaquim Rodrigues used all his skills as a former Motocross specialist to place his Hero 450 in fifth place in Friday´s stage. The Portuguese rookie finished his very first rally in ninth position overall - a great result for a rider who has never competed in such difficult circumstances.

    His Indian team-mate CS Santosh has raced in Africa before, but never the Merzouga. Santosh ended his week in the top twenty overall and the final stage in 22nd.

    "Today was like a Motocross race in the dunes," Rodrigues said. "It was my first time and a lot of fun. I was a bit scared because I can´t yet read the dunes that well, but I had a decent start and then a big battle with the top guys developed. I pushed to the end and passed a guy in the last corner. Now I am really happy to finish the rally and to take my Hero bike to the end."

    CS Santosh commented: "The Merzouga is in the books. It was a very hard week, the navigation was tough, the dunes were tough, so were the rocks and the heat. I´m happy to be here at the finish. I learnt a lot of things that will help me build towards the Dakar. Really glad to be safe and sound and to be involved in this exciting project with such great people."

    "Mission accomplished," said the team´s Managing Director Wolfgang Fischer. "A new era has started for our team. It´s great both riders made it to the finish. We are very happy to have come here with the recently formed Hero MotoSports Team Rally. It was a nice race and it gives us a very good feeling. We have fun and a great spirit in the team and that is important for the future and the results. I look very positively at the experience we collected. This was just the first step. The bike is excellent and we will provide our boys with a good backing for the future. Looking forward to the things ahead. Thanks to everyone involved and best regards to India.

    Final standings after 5 stages (provisional)

    1. Kevin Benavides, ARG, Honda 15:05:52 hrs
    2. Stefan Svitko, SVK, KTM 15:09:37
    3. Adrien van Beveren, FRA, Yamaha 15:15:50
    4. Gerard Farres Guell, SPA, KTM 15:22:06;
    5. Helder Rodrigues, POR, Yamaha 15:22:45
    9. Joaquim Rodrigues, POR, Hero 17:52:39
    16. CS Santosh, IND, Hero 19:23:10

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    Default Re: Afiquia Merzouga Rally 2016 Final Results

    Good move by Santhosh to Hero, the Suzuki was unlikely to get him a decent result at Dakar.

    For those interested, the Hero bike is a heavily modified BMW G450X.

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