Dakar legend Marc Coma takes podium at Baja 500
KTM USA team featuring MRW rider finish legendary American event in third place, riding around mechanical issues suffered in a first-stint crash.
MRW rider Marc Coma has added another achievement to his already impressive resumé, taking third place in the Baja 500 team competition held in Ensenada, Mexico, this weekend. The 450 mile (724km) rally took place over the course of yesterday and pitted three-man teams against one another. Coma’s KTM USA squad was completed by Mexican rider Iván Ramírez and US representative Mike Brown.
Owing to a big crash during Ramírez’ first stint, the team’s sole bike was badly damaged and they were only able to trail the leading outfits. An exhaust pipe of the KTM 450 enduro machine used had to be changed as a result of the fall. The bike is a smaller and more simple version of that used by Coma in the Raids World Championship.
I am very happy with the experience.
Marc Coma’s expertise in navegation was not needed for this event, as the Baja 500 features markers along the course and not the road book typically used in Raids and rally competition.
Mike Brown was the rider for the second stint and he managed to cut the gap to the leader, whilst also gaining positions in the overall standings. The crash had affected the bike severely, which created some constant mechanical issues right up to the end of the race.
The final stint was undertaken by Coma, who started at a speedy pace but resisted the urge to take risks with tyre preservation such a key factor. The MRW rider rode the coastal route which was divided into two very different sections: The first was a tricky, mountainous run, the second a quicker, wider route similar to familiar competitions like the Dakar Rally.
The trio of Robby Bell, Steve Hengeveld and David Pearson were the winners of the Baja 500 onboard a Kawasaki, completing the race in a total time of 9h10m03s. Two minutes and twenty-eight seconds behind were Honda riders Cotton Udall, David Kamo and Timmy Weigand. KTM USA and Marc Coma rounded off the podium, close to seven minutes off the winners.
"I am very happy with the experience; riding in a team event has been really positive for me. Discovering new things always allows you to improve as a rider and I had a really good team behind me: Both in terms of machinery and personnel.
We had problems with the bike due to a crash and couldn’t take any risks after that, because we needed to conserve tyre life and finish the race. In any case, the result is a good one."