Brabec celebrates first stage win despite “swimming in mud”
American rider Ricky Brabec's first Dakar stage win came despite him falling into mud late on in the test.
Brabec, who hails from Hesperia, Ca., saw off Honda teammate Paulo Goncalves and KTM's rally leader Sam Sunderland in the 161km timed special en route from La Paz to Uyuni in Bolivia.
“The stage wasn't that hard, there was a lot of navigation and a lot of it was off-track, which was better for me,” Brabec said.
“I like the bumps and the rougher [it is], the better for me. Obviously, I come from California, it's pretty rough out there."
Brabec finished almost two minutes up on nearest rival Goncalves despite his incident.
“From kilometer 140 to the finish, it was all mud and water holes. It was pretty tough to navigate while trying not to slide out.
“At kilometer like 157 or so, I was going through the grass and the bike started sliding sideways on me. And I just kind of got flicked off the bike and landed in the mud hole. So I kinda went for a swim.
“And that's kind of why I'm freezing my butt off right now.”
The stage win has lifted Brabec to 13th overall, the American hampered by a one-hour penalty for illegal refueling that was handed out to the whole Honda team earlier in the rally.
“The stage win feels good, I've never had a stage win in a rally, so I guess that's a big accomplishment for me and I'm happy to start the week off after the rest day [with a win].
“[The goal is] just to get inside the top 10 now. My ultimate goal was to get onto the podium but with the penalty that's hard to do. So, top 10.”
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