Hero Motorsports Team Rally made history when Portugal’s Joaquim Rodrigues aka JRod helped them become the first Indian team to win a stage in the 2022 multi-stage Dakar Rally.
This was the 44th edition of the annual rally which was held in Saudi Arabia and organised by Amaury Sport Organisation. The competition consists of different vehicles such as bikes, cars, quads and trucks being raced in stages across various routes of different terrains from sand dunes to cliffs.
Hero Motosports held a virtual interaction with journalists to celebrate their impressive performance this year. The session was moderated by Indian rider CS Santosh.
Asked about his scariest moment, JRod said “For sure it was my crash. During stage 5, I got really, really scared, I was going pretty fast and I just jumped down a big hole.”
“Our physiotherapist did a great job with us. He was giving me a shot every day before I arrived for the pain. Luckily it worked and I didn’t break anything,” JRod added.
“I was taking it day by day really. Each day I was trying to get as close to the top 10 as possible and just keep up the consistent results,” said fellow rider Aaron Mare of his strategy for the race, adding that he couldn’t be happier with the result.
“The activity of ‘acing doesn’t just stay where it is, which is at Dakar (Senegal), it is actually reflected in the products that we launch in India as well. So it is a huge step that we’re able to actually win a stage at the Dakar,” said CS Santosh.
Quizzed over whether he was hinting that the latest edition of the Honda 450 bike was coming to India soon, Santosh replied “There will be a time when there will be a bigger bike but it is not right now.”
Meanwhile, Monster Energy Honda Team rider Pablo Quintanilla won the final stage to grab overall second place in the race, just three-and-a-half minutes shy of the winner, Sam Sunderland of Gasgas Factory Racing.
All four team riders managed to finish one of the toughest ever editions of the rally, with the Honda CRF450 RALLY once again making it through the entire Dakar without a single mechanical issue.