Dakar 2020, Pinnacle of victories in my career: Ricky Brabec
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Dakar 2020, Pinnacle of victories in my career: Ricky Brabec

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New Delhi, Mar 10 : Ricky Brabec, who became the first American to win the Dakar Rally, has termed the achievement as the pinnacle of victories in his career, saying that it's immensely satisfying to see all the hard work and teamwork paying off well.

The 28-year-old rider of Monster Energy Honda Team, rode his factory CRF450 RALLY to overall motorcycle class victory in the final, 12th stage of the Dakar Rally 2020 in Saudi Arabia. His victory in January gave Honda it's first Dakar victory in 31 years. Their last win came in 1989. 'It feels amazing to win it together for America and Honda. I couldn't have done it without all of the support from everyone involved in the journey.This is the pinnacle of victories in my career in any form of motorsport racing,' said Ricky, at the launch of the 2020 Honda Africa Twin 1100 Adventure Sport bike in the national capital.

Talking about the challenges he faced during the Rally, the American rider said, 'The Dakar is gruelling, it covers more ground than any other race in the world. There are long days with limited sleep, a lot of desert, cold mornings, hot days. One day, it could be raining, the other day, it could be freezing and the next day could be so hot that you could get dehydrated. 'It’s about being in the desert all by yourself, so you got to be mentally and emotionally strong and focused because sometimes, when you break down in the middle of the desert, you may have to wait all night for someone to come and pick you up. And you don’t know anything about the desert either, ' he added. Ricky mentioned that he didn't do anything extra-ordinary and his training was very much similar to earlier years. 'Last two years, the training programme has been more or less the same. I just think I advanced a little bit in the training. After racing for few years now, I have found the exact recipe in order to win a Dakar. I am going to start where I finished off, so hopefully I can do it again, ' he said. When asked whether he was nervous before the race or confident enough to win the title, Brabec said, 'That’s a hard one because in 2019, I was really close to winning and I did not win. I was mentally so stressed out and just did not know what to do. I did not go into the 2020 rally confident, because I trained so hard, I was really mad and tired.

'In the rally, I had a good stage three; it was when I took over the overall ranking. Once I did that, I was really nervous because on stage four, I had opened the track. I only lost eight minutes in stage four, so after that my confidence was really high and I was like, now I need to save the motorcycle and my body and make it to the end.' So you wouldn’t say that the victory was expected? You were not going for the win from the off? Yes, I was going for the victory from day four, because on day three I had taken the lead, but after I did not lose, much time in day four and was still in the lead, I said, okay, now I can control this. But, I was not so confident about the motorcycle making the entire way because of how hard I was riding. 'So, that part was stressing me out. And in the second last day, I had a marathon ride, where I had to go two days without any support and now at the end of the rally, so the bike was tired and everything was starting to break down.

'The aim for this year is to do exactly what I did last year, train and eat healthy. I have a race pretty soon, when I return home from this India trip. So, after this race, we will see where we are at. And then we will start training and see where we struggle, so basically start the programme all over again for 2021,' he said, while taking about his future tournaments. So how are things back at home, considering you are the first American to win a Dakar rally? 'Back home, it is pretty good. It has been busy, but every time I go out in public, people want to greet me and talk to me. So, that way it is pretty cool. 'Now, a lot of Americans are into rallying and it is good to see that. So, 2021 should be really interesting; a lot of people should be super excited to watch it,' he added. 'So, that part was stressing me out. And in the second last day, I had a marathon ride, where I had to go two days without any support and now at the end of the rally, so the bike was tired and everything was starting to break down.

'The aim for this year is to do exactly what I did last year, train and eat healthy. I have a race pretty soon, when I return home from this India trip. So, after this race, we will see where we are at. And then we will start training and see where we struggle, so basically start the programme all over again for 2021,' he said, while taking about his future tournaments. So how are things back at home, considering you are the first American to win a Dakar rally? 'Back home, it is pretty good. It has been busy, but every time I go out in public, people want to greet me and talk to me. So, that way it is pretty cool. 'Now, a lot of Americans are into rallying and it is good to see that. So, 2021 should be really interesting; a lot of people should be super excited to watch it,' he added. (UNI)

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