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Dakar 2022: Technical snag derails Harith Noah's campaign

Harith Noah

Bengaluru, January 13: Sherco TVS Racing Factory rider Harith Noah, who bravely pulled on for 11 days despite crashes and fractured ribs in Dakar 2022 suffered technical issues with his bike on Wednesday (January 12) in Stage 10 in Saudia Arabia to be classified as 115th in the general ranking of the Moto section of the 44th editon of the most-demanding off-road races.

The 28-year-old, who was placed 124 after Stage 10, is expected to move into the Dakar Experience class, which provides a second chance for the riders to continue the gruelling 7000 kms cross-country rally-raid and experience the finish.

But as per a Media Release received, the Kerala-based rider will not be classified any more in the elite RallyGP class.

Astride a Sherco 450 SEF Rally, the Sports Science graduate from Shoranur started his 12th day with a new engine at 10.38 am (IST), but was forced to stop within a few kilometres due to mechanical problems with the bike.

He could not even reach the first WayPoint and later, he had to endure the heart-break of watching his bike craned away by a helicopter.

He clocked a total of 66hrs, 22min and 42sec in the overall timesheets after logging a penalty time of 21hrs and 45min for a general ranking of 115. After Stage 10, he was given a time of 33hrs 33min including a penalty of 21hrs 30min for a stage ranking of 124.

Dakar 2022: Despite broken ribs and loss of rear brakes Harith Noah keeps fighting all the wayDakar 2022: Despite broken ribs and loss of rear brakes Harith Noah keeps fighting all the way

The Sheroc TVS Factory Racing rider had become the fastest rider from India at Dakar last year after finishing in the 20th position. He made his debut in 2020 and finished in the Dakar Experience class.

Bengaluru's CS Santosh had become the first Indian to comepete at Dakar in 2015 and went on to ride many times at the pinnacle of the rallying world till his unfortunate accident last year.

KP Arvind of TVS Racing and privateer Ashishrao Rane also took part in the Dakar. Santosh is yet to recover completely but is in Saudi Arabia to cheer the Hero team.

"It's a big disappointment. We changed the engine yesterday and I was hoping to make up the places we lost due to the penalty and push ahead the last two days. The terrain and the conditions are always challenging both for the man and machine and it is time to move on and finish the Dakar. I'll take this experience to come back stronger," said Noah, who is in his third Dakar.

Meanwhile, the other two Sherco TVS Factory Rally team riders finished the day in top-10. Lorenzo Santolino of Spain continued to put in brilliant performance and finished the stage fifth while the Rui Goncalves from Portugal, also did well, closing the day at ninth.

In the overall general ranking, Santolino is 11th while Goncalves is placed 24th.
The other Indian team of Hero MotoSports, too, continued to post good times to stay in the top-20.

Lead Portuguese rider Joaquim Rodrigues finished a tough day in 24th place after a 15min penalty while the second Hero rider -- Aaron Mare of South Africa -- finished Stage 10 in 14th place. In the overall general rankings, Rodrigues is 15th followed by Mare in 16th.

The 7000-plus kms Dakar 2022, being held for the third year in Saudi Arabian desert sands is set for the ceremonial finish in Jeddah on January 14.

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Story first published: Thursday, January 13, 2022, 9:09 [IST]
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