Dakar 2021: Kevin Benavides clinches bikes title for Honda

Dakar 2021: Kevin Benavides clinches bikes title for Honda


Kevin Benavides clinched his first Dakar Rally title on Friday’s 12th and final stage of the event, giving Honda back-to-back wins in the motorcycle class.

Having initially held a lead of 4m12s after Thursday’s penultimate test of the rally, Benavides’ hopes were given a boost when his advantage over KTM rider Sam Sunderland was revised upwards to 5m07s due to a failure with the organisers’ GPS equipment.

Starting the deciding Yanbu-Jeddah stage third in the running order, Benavides gained 10 minutes on Sunderland in the opening 99km as the Briton struggled opening the road.

From there, Benavides was able to manage his advantage as he fought Honda teammate Ricky Brabec for the stage win, ultimately missing out to the American by 2m17s.

But with Sunderland finishing 13 minutes off the pace, it was enough for Benavides to wrap up a first outright victory in the Dakar and a second in a row for Honda.

The 32-year-old becomes the first Argentinian rider to win in the motorcycle class of the Dakar, or indeed a title in the legendary rally-raid in any category other than quads.

Brabec surpassed Sunderland for second overall to make it a Honda one-two – the first for the Japanese manufacturer since 1987.

More to follow

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