Words: Darryl Curtis
What happened yesterday: After stage one of the Rally of Maroc, Riaan van Niekerk emerged with a steady and safe ride with 17th overall on his Broadlink KTM. He had started out the day with a brake issue at the 6Km mark and then got lost later on for around 5 Kilometers. Not so lucky was team mate Kurt Caselli who missed a waypoint and incurred a 20 minute penalty. Spaniard Joan Barreda took the win on the Honda ahead of Marc Coma on his Factory Red Bull KTM.
Todays stage: 49Km Liasion, 249Km special, 9Km Liasion Riaan chased dust the whole day, in a procession that saw only a few changes in the ranks placing 17th today. He suffered from the bike cutting out several times, a problem that he has experienced since his arrival in Morocco. The team will try and figure the problem out this afternoon. A huge improvement has been made to the handling of the bike, thanks to the WP crew after both Riaan and the Australian Ben Grabham struggled yesterday. Riaan noted what an advantage it is having done the same rally the year before as he recognised a lot of the sections.
Paulo Gonzalves won the day’s stage ahead of Red Bull Factory rider Marc Coma, Sam Sunderland and Franzisco Lopez. Marc is only three points ahead of Paulo in the World Championsip standings with Marocco being the decider. This duel will be closely watched.
Tomorrow’s stage: 65Km Liasion, 250Km special, 98Km Liasion Back in the sand! The start will be on a rolling and fast track. Then, competitors will descend into the valley with an easy but rough track. Then they will follow a sandy track to the Cheggaga sand plains to reach the flat out sections of lake Iriki. The return will be tricky navigation using the cap to enter the dunes. Lots of caps will be followed and fast paralell sand tracks will bring the riders home. This will be the most spectacular part of the dunes.