Dakar 2019 was the most difficult Dakar Rally ever organized in the history, yet this young Indian finished it
41st edition of Dakar is now completed. CS Santosh, Hero Motosports Rally Team, crashed and exited the race earlier. Aravind KP, with his sponsor, Sherco TVS Rally Factory Team, is the only Indian to finish the Dakar Rally. This was Aravind‘s third Dakar since his inception in 2017 and his first finish. Aravind clinched 37th position overall after battling through sand dunes, fesh-fesh, beach, and rocks. Not to mention complex navigation at every stage.
Aravind started this edition of Dakar at a steady pace but in the second half, he started climbing up the ranking. It was not an easy task to climb to 37th position from 70+ in the earlier stages. The young Indian suffered few crashes in the intermediate stages but fought hard and crossed the finish line. He even faced a terribe situation in the 9th stage when his motorcyle broke down in the sand dunes. Aravind managed this situation with the help of some spectators and finished the stage.
Only 55% of the bikes completed the gruesome rally this year
On his achievement, Aravind KP said, “The feeling of finishing Dakar is yet to sink in fully as I have been dreaming and waiting for this moment for 3 years now. It’s difficult to express my feelings at the moment but I am overjoyed to be at the finish line. With multiple injuries in the run-up to Dakar. I always knew I had to push myself beyond the comfort zone to finish the rally. The route this year was extremely challenging but I was ready to fight it out and finish one stage at a time. I would like to thank my team especially my mechanic Prakasham for ensuring my motorcycle was in the best shape at the beginning of every stage. I am also grateful to my mentors at TVS Racing & Sherco for believing in my dream and supporting me all along. Dreams do come true if you truly believe in them. I hope my achievement inspires young Indian riders to chase their Dakar dreams and work hard to put India on the world motorsport map.“
Other riders of Sherco TVS Rally Factory Team were Michael Metge, Adrien Metge, and Lorenzo Santalino. The rookie rider, Lorenzo Santalino was the fastest rider in the team, once making into the top ten, but he had to exit the race after meeting with a heavy crash in stage 6.
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Michael Metge had a good start, he even broke into top 15 in the 3rd stage. He left no stone unturned and won the 9th stage. Michael‘ brother Adrien Metge strived hard and picked up the pace in the first couple of stages before he met with a crash that left him with a sore wrist. 7th stage was a bit difficult for him but he continued his journey and finished the rally with grit.
Overall, Michael Metge and Adrien Metge secured 25th and 22nd position respectively. One has to say that TVS and Sherco had determined riders who performed very well leading to an impressive finish.
Selvaraj, Team Manager, TVS Racing said, “I would like to congratulate all the racers and the team for their outstanding performance at the rally this year. With each passing day at the rally, the level of difficulty shot up manifold and so did our determination. Aravind KP is a talented rider and has a razor-sharp focus on his goal. That’s precisely the reason why we chose him to represent us at Dakar. At TVS Racing, we spend a lot of time with the racers to identify their potential. And also strive to give them every opportunity to prove their mettle. We believe success doesn’t come to anyone overnight, it is an ongoing journey. And one might have to overcome many obstacles before achieving glory. It is a red letter day in the history of TVS Racing and we are honored to be a part of this success story.”
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