Red Bull-sponsored teams have claimed victory in the truck and bike categories during this year’s Dakar Rally.

Cyril Despres battled his way through the early stages of the 2013 event, in which buggy, bike, quad and lorry drivers took on 8,500 kilometres of harsh terrain in South America, and managed to claim his fifth Dakar victory.

Riding a KTM, the Frenchman gained his second consecutive win in the rally, despite suffering a penalty after he was forced to change engines mid-way through the race.

“Of course every win at the Dakar is special but this one stands out for me because it is the first time I have been able to defend my title. Winning the Dakar two years in a row is rare and nobody has done it since Fabrizio Meoni ten years ago,” he said of the win.

High speeds throughout and a lot navigation made the twelfth stage of the Dakar, from Fiambala – Copiapo a tough one. Joan Barreda proved to be the best of the Husqvarna Team by Speedbrain taking third place on the day, and bringing the team its tenth podium place out of the twelve stages contested so far. Barreda, who led throughout the race made a slight navigational error which dropped him down into third place finishing just three minutes behind winner Verhoeven.

Alessandro Botturi, on the other hand, had a day worth forgetting. After holding seventh place for the first half of the race, the rider lost a lot of time looking for the way point. Botturi finished fourteen minutes behind the leader, but now runs the risk of being penalized with a one hour penalty for failure to pass Way Point 13.

Red Bull KTM factory rider and title-holder Cyril Despres fought a close battle with Spaniard Joan Barreda in Stage 10 of the Dakar 2013 to finish just one minute 15 behind his rival. The French rider now to secure a narrow lead in the overall standings in front of factory teammate Ruben Faria of Portugal, who secured eighth place in the stage.

Despres, who is now looking settled and determined to go for his fifth Dakar title made the breakthrough on Monday when he won the longest stage in this year’s edition after an eventful first half of the rally. But he was quick to brush off suggestions that his luck had changed and told journalists it was much more “..about experience and preparation and training and bringing all the right elements together at the right moment”.

AREQIUPA, PERU – Nasser Al-Attiyah, driver of the #300 Team Qatar Red Bull buggy equipped with Toyo® Open Country M/T®-R tires, scored his second consecutive stage victory today in the 2013 Dakar®.  Al-Attiyah’s success in this year’s Dakar includes a third place in Stage 1, and victories in Stages 3 and 4.  During today’s 429km Nazca to Arequipa (Peru) Stage 4, he moved to within 5minutes 16seconds of the overall race leader, Stéphan Peterhansel in the X-Raid MINI.

In addition to Al-Attiyah’s success, Carlos Sainz captured a Stage 1 win with his #303 Team Qatar Red Bull buggy. Robby Gordon in his #315 SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires / MAPEI HUMMER also placed second in yesterday’s Stage 3.  In total, Toyo Tires has captured three wins in the first four stages, with a total of five podium finishes.

NAZCA, PERU – Toyo Tires equipped vehicles are scoring immediate victories in the world’s toughest endurance race, the 2013 Dakar rally.  As of today’s Stage 3, Toyo Open Country M/T-R tires have won Stages 1 – 3 thanks to Team Qatar Red Bull, while also finishing third in Stage 1 and second in Stage 3 for a total of five podiums.  This year’s Dakar rally runs January 5 – 20 and is nearly 5,000 miles in length.  The route runs southward from Lima, Peru to Santiago, Chile.

During the short 13km Stage 1 from Lima to Pisco in Peru, Carlos Sainz of Spain won the stage with his #303 Team Qatar Red Bull buggy.  Team owner, Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar, piloted his #300 Team Qatar Red Bull buggy to a third place finish.  Both cars were built in California and feature American V8 horsepower driving 37×13.50R17 Open Country M/T-R tires.

A beach dash along the Indian Ocean from Kalbarri to Geraldton in Western Australia was the finale of the eight-day off-road motorsport marathon Australasian Safari, Australia’s toughest motorsport event.
Every competitor who crossed the finish line is a winner for completing a gruelling eight days of competition covering approximately 3500 competitive kilometers off-road on beaches, through sand dunes, over creeks, rocky riverbeds, claypans and cattle stations.

Moto
Jake Smith, 24, from NSW won the Australasian Safari moto division as he did in 2009.  He held the lead for the entire event on his Honda CRF450X and finished with a comfortable 31 minutes to spare.
With brother Todd Smith, last year’s Safari moto winner, they have a combined seven podiums in seven events in WA on three different marques – Honda, Yamaha and KTM.

Capitalizing on a 10-year relationship with Lincoln Electric, Robby Gordon Motorsports has embraced the new addition to the Lincoln family and welcomed Torchmate CNC Cutting Systems onto Planet Robby. Gordon, who has acquired the Torchmate Racing built TTB car for the upcoming Griffin King of the Hammers event, will begin testing the rebadged Speed Energy #77 car this week and he has tasked rock crawling champion and former Pirate4x4.com owner, Lance Clifford, to navigate. “Although I have not yet met Lance, he has come highly recommended and is a welcome addition to our team. We put a lot of value in having the right people to help us succeed,” said Gordon. Clifford, who has worked during KOH the last 4 years providing live web based coverage, is looking forward to racing. “I was just planning on enjoying the event with my family, but when the best off-road driver in the world calls you up and asks you to navigate you don’t think twice about accepting.”

The new relationship will put Torchmate CNC cutting systems to work in both Robby Gordon Motorsports North Carolina and Southern California facilities, and will see Torchmate as an associate sponsor of Gordon’s new venture into Ultra4 racing as well as his current SCORE Trophy Truck and Dakar off-road programs. “We’re excited to work with Robby Gordon and it’s a perfect fit with Torchmate philosophy on racing and business,” said Bill Kunz, general manager of Torchmate. “The same Torchmate machines the general public can purchase will be put to good use at the hands of Robby Gordon Motorsports,” Kunz added.

The 2012 AMA National Hare and Hound series kicked off this weekend with a bang and JCR/Honda racer David Kamo took home a podium spot. The race series is spread over 10 rounds and the goal is to chase down the championship for 2012.

The first round was held in Lucerne Valley, California and featured two loops.The 1st loop was a 37 mile rocky, treacherous and technical loop. The 2nd loop was a 42 mile sandy, high speed loop that made for some dramatic racing action.

“David Kamo did great. This is the start of a long series and we want to be racing for the championship come October.” — Johnny Campbell

“What a great way to start out the year on the podium! I had a lot of help from Scott Dunlavey, & Hide Hanawa on bike prep before the race. Four days after Johnny got back from Dakar, he was in the desert with me, getting the bike set up for the National. I felt very focused and ready to win on race morning! The banner dropped and I found myself in the dust in 4th behind Caselli, Abbott, and Pearson on the 1st loop. I came into the pits for gas-n-go and felt way more relaxed going into the 2nd loop and was making up time. I made my pass on Abbott on the 2nd to last valley for 3rd! My Honda CRF450X felt amazing from start to finish. When I got to the finish I wanted more, but was satisfied to be on the podium! It’s a long series and I want to be there in the end focused on the Championship.” –  David Kamo

AMA National Hare and Hound 2012 Schedule

Round 1 – Jan. 22 Lucerne Valley, Calif
Round 2 – Feb. 12 Ridgecrest, Calif.
Round 3 – Feb 26 Reno, Nev.
Round 4 – March 25 Murphy, Idaho
Round 5 – April 22 Lucerne Valley, Calif.
Round 6 – May 5 Jericho, Utah
Round 7 – May 19 Jericho, Utah
Round 8 – Sept 8 Panaca, Nev.
Round 9 – Oct. 14 Lucerne Valley, Calif.
Round 10 – Oct. 28 Lucerne Valley, Calif.

Photo credit: Ryan sanders

CYPRESS, CALIFORNIA – Robby Gordon and navigator Johnny Campbell finished the 2012 Dakar on a high note by winning the 29km timed special of Stage 14, the last in this year’s off-road marathon rally.  The overall route travelled 254km from Pisco to Lima, Peru, marking the completion of a 14-day Pan American odyssey which began on the Atlantic coast in Argentina, crossed through the Andes, and then turned north to Peru along the Pacific coast.

Gordon’s #303 SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires HUMMER won the brief 29km (18-mile) final stage with a large 21-second margin over the second place finisher.  He finished fifth overall in the 2012 Dakar, capturing three stage wins and a total of seven podiums along the way.  In addition, Gordon’s HUMMER was the only two-wheel-drive vehicle finishing in the top ten.

Gordon began Stage 14 from the 10th spot due to challenges he faced during Stage 13, which included lost time due to a rollover.  He managed to hold second overall for much of the rally, even while sacrificing a Stage 1 win to assist his teammate, Nasser Al-Attiyah who had a mechanical problem near the end of the stage.  Al-Attiyah ultimately retired during Stage 9.  Prior to his retirement, Al-Attiyah, driver of the Toyo® Open Country M/T®-R equipped #300 Qatar HUMMER, won Stages 2 and 7, and finished third in Stage 3.

In addition to the normal challenges facing competitors in the Dakar, one of the two Team SPEED support trucks was delayed in customs in Argentina prior to the start of the race. It was not released until Stage 6, drivers taking shifts behind the wheel to race across Argentina into Chile to catch up with the day’s bivouac.  Without the presence of that support vehicle during the first portion of Dakar, the team was faced with a shortage of tools, spare parts and fresh sets of tires.  In fact, tires were rotated, rather than replaced at times when other competitors had fresh replacements.

CYPRESS, CALIFORNIA – Robby Gordon has proven once again why he is a true motorsports champion, not just by winning, but dominating Stage 12 of the Dakar™.  After a long delay set him back during Stage 11 due to mechanical problems, the American driver attacked Stage 12 with a vengeance.  He piloted his #303 SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires HUMMER from a 22nd starting position to first overall – beating the second place finisher by 15 minutes, 18 seconds!  To further prove a point, he accomplished that feat by crossing the perilously soft coastal dunes toward Nazca, Peru — streaking past stuck competitors with his two-wheel drive HUMMER equipped with Toyo® Open Country M/T®-R tires.

The 245km Stage 12 travelled north along the Peruvian coast from Arequipa to Nazca.  This marks Gordon’s second stage win in the 2012 Dakar, having also won Stage 9.  Gordon now has six podium finishes in the 2012 version of this Pan American marathon rally.  It also shows his determination to finish on the podium in Lima, Peru.

Gordon’s teammate Nasser Al-Attiyah was forced to retire during Stage 9 due to mechanical problems.  Prior to his retirement, Al-Attiyah and his Toyo Tires equipped #300 Qatar HUMMER won Stages 2 and 7, and finished third in Stage 3.  So far in the 2012 Dakar, Toyo Tires has logged four stage wins and captured a total of nine podium finishes.