Luciano Benavides grabs his second stage win of the year while Toby Price is just three second away from race leader Skyler Howes.
Joan Barreda had a clear message on the rear of his helmet when enrolling for his 13th Dakar as he prepares to hit the 40-year mark. “Last Shot” was what the pursuers of “Bang Bang” could read, a mix of “last dance” and his reputation as a sharp-shooting collector of 29 stage wins on the Dakar.
The Dakar bikers are playing with the nerves of aficionados, who are witnessing both twists and turns as well as a totally undecided battle as the race enters its most promising sequence in terms of suspense. Naturally, it was reluctantly Joan Barreda who brought about a major change among the pretenders, losing this status due to a nasty fall.
Another major player was not far from suffering the same fate but despite two crashes and the loss of his roadbook, the time lost by Mason Klein does not exclude him from the reckoning. As for the day’s beneficiaries, Luciano Benavides was the best performer and became the first double stage winner in the category this year, while his Husqvarna team-mate Skyler Howes hung on to the lead in the general rankings.
The American is withstanding the attacks, but is starting to feel Toby Price breathing down his neck. The Australian rider who was the heir to the Despres-Coma era when he triumphed for the first time in 2016 has breathed new hope into his chances, sitting only three seconds behind Howes in the race hierarchy, while another former winner, Kevin Benavides, is also in the position of challenger ready to pounce, in 3rd place 5’09’’ behind.