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Crash leads to stage-long roadbook trouble for Aussie Dakar rookie

Daniel Herrero

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Friday 8th January, 2021 - 11:18am

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Michael Burgess pic: BAS Dakar KTM Racing Team Facebook

Australian Dakar rookie Michael Burgess has explained how a crash left him having to try and manually wind his roadbook for virtually the entirety of an especially challenging Stage 5.

On a 456km special from Riyadh and Al Qaisumah which proved to be the toughest task so far as predicted, Burgess had even more difficulty to contend with due to an early spill on his BAS Dakar KTM.

He nevertheless is an unchanged 38th in the general classification, 4:09:35s back from the lead.

“Tough day on the bike,” said Burgess.

“I had a crash about 700m into the special and broke my roadbook, so I had to manually scroll it all day.

“I had to sort of rely on other riders early on to navigate, because the rocks were so big and just relentless – they were everywhere – so I couldn’t roll my roadbook and ride at the same time.

“Got a bit lost, and a bit silly, too. We weren’t even going in the right direction of the cap, I was just sort of following a bloke, and in the end, I worked it out but everyone had caught up.

“So, I just sort of tapped on to everybody and then just made a bit of a pass on them before the fuel stop so I could actually get out on my own when exiting the fuel stop.”

The stage became easier thereafter, although Burgess still had to be careful given his roadbook handicap.

“We went out into the open faster stuff and I had no one in front of me, so I could just concentrate on getting a bit of a system happening, rolling the roadbook,” he added.

“Obviously, I couldn’t ride [normally], I was just riding quite tentative because trying to dodge rocks, look at the roadbook, scroll the roadbook, make sure I was getting the waypoints and all that sort of stuff…

“The navigation’s hard this year, seriously hard; the terrain is pretty gnarly, like it’s pretty next level stuff.

“Someone in the bivouac that’s been with Dakar a fair while said that it’s good to see Dakar back to it’s old, so that’s good, I’m getting the full experience, so happy days.”

A shortened Stage 6 starts this evening (AEDT).

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