The Dakar Rally
La Serena – Santiago SS14 final stage 122 km liaison – 346 km special – 158 km liaison
After having covered 8,420 kilometres on all kinds of terrain throughout 14 hard stages, from Peru to Chile passing through Argentina, Helder Rodrigues, Javier Pizzolito and Johnny Campbell finished today's final stage reaching the target: Santiago.
The protagonists of the 2013 Dakar had to maintain their concentration for the very last 346 km of a fast stage on stony and hard ground. Only 24 seconds separated Helder Rodrigues, third, from stage winner Chaleco Lopez who finished ahead of Faria and Barreda. With Javier Pizzolito,12th and Johnny Campbell 18th, TEAM HRC celebrated two riders in the top ten overall with Rodrigues and Pizzolito in 7th and 8th place respectively and Johnny Campbell 40th, while Cyril Despres sealed his fifth Dakar title.
Having the complete team at the end of the toughest rally in the world was the result of perfect team work with the three TEAM HRC riders, helping and supporting each other, stage after stage.
When the project started six months ago, the challenge was to be at the starting blocks in Lima with a completely new team and a new machine. TEAM HRC engineers worked very hard to prepare a competitive machine and on the 5th of January Helder Rodrigues, Javier Pizzolito and Johnny Campbell set off for the 2013 Dakar on board of their CRF450 Rally.
In a race where a navigation mistake or a small mechanical failure can spoil the whole result, some fuel issues on the second and third days made TEAM HRC riders lose valuable time and the contact with the first riders. Despite that, Helder Rodrigues, Javier Pizzolito and Johnny Campbell continued to fight and recover positions.
Rodrigues was ready to attack on stage 11 to close the gap from the front runners, when a branch caught a wire of the machine, ripping it out and stopping his machine. It was a small problem that had big consequences as Helder had given an incredible performance that would have allowed him to make a big step forward towards the podium.
Team mate Pizzolito gave also a great performance. Javier was very good at preserving the machine and his condition, riding with a constant pace throughout the whole rally on the same engine.
Johnny Campbell couldn't take advantage of his experience due to a mechanical problem on the third stage that made him lose more than 3 hours, but he scored the team's best result with a great second place on the 8th stage. Unfortunately a crash the following day compromised his second part of the race, but Johnny continued until the end despite the intense pain from suspected broken ribs.
|1||Ruben Faria (KTM)|
|2||Joan Barreda Bort (Husqvarna) +0.08|
|3||Helder Rodrigues – TEAM HRC (Honda) +0.24|
|4||Mario Patrao (SUZUKI) +1.21|
|5||Olivier Pain (YAMAHA) +2.14|
|12||Javier Pizzolito – TEAM HRC (Honda) +3.42|
|18||Johnny Campbell – TEAM HRC (Honda) +5.32|
|1||Cyril Despres (KTM)|
|2||Ruben Faria (KTM) +10.43|
|3||Francisco Lopez (KTM) +18.48|
|4||Ivan Jakes (KTM) +23.54|
|5||Juan Pedrero (KTM) +55.29|
|7||Helder Rodrigues – TEAM HRC (Honda) +1:11.22|
|8||Javier Pizzolito – TEAM HRC (Honda) +1:26.07|
|40||Johnny Campbell – TEAM HRC (Honda) +8:11.40|