Stage One of the Dakar Rally saw competitors face a very early start with a liaison stage of around 250 km’s, followed by a challenging 84 km special stage to Pisco – home of the famous Peruvian cocktail, on Monday.
On his first-ever Dakar stage, Port Edward rider Stuart Gregory had an excellent run considering it was not only his first experience of the Dakar, but he was riding his new spec KTM 450 Rally Replica motorcycle for the very first time as well.
The Motul Powersport Ambassador, who is the first South Coast rider to compete in the iconic rally, reports that he took the first 40 km or so – along the top of the dunes – quite cautiously, as he was still getting used to his new motorcycle.
After that, he was able to pick up more speed, and by the end of the stage, he was lying in a very creditable 84th place in the overall Moto Classification.
Even more impressively, Gregory finished in 11th place in the challenging Originals by Motul class. Of the rookie riders in his class, Gregory was third fastest on the day, with an overall time of 1h30’43”.
“I was really happy with how the bike coped with the conditions,” commented Gregory in the bivouac after the stage. “Also, the air filter and Motul oil performed brilliantly – despite all the sand, neither needed changing,” he added.
Gregory’s only complaint was of feeling rather red-faced – not due to his result, but because he had forgotten to wear sunblock in the hot Peruvian conditions.
The only damage to his motorcycle occurred when he was not actually riding it, as it fell in the wash bay and he had to replace the clutch lever.
Tuesday sees competitors take on the first full length Dakar stage with a liaison of 211 km’s followed by a special stage of 342 km’s. The sand dunes of Peru are waiting.
To find out more about Gregory’s journey, go to: https://powersport.motul.com/ or read the articles below.