Riders enjoy fast and technical crazy bits
After the disappointment of the first day of the Libya Rally the competitors absolutely enjoyed the second day. Bike rider Max Hunt was frantic with excitement when he got off the bike in the bivouac near Icht. “It was awesome! The roadbook was bang-on and the tracks were amazing.”
The young Briton, whose brother Harry is driving a Mini in the Dakar, was full of adrenaline. Not just with his (provisional) fourth but mainly with the stage itself. “I had so much fun today. It was a great mixture of fast track and technical crazy bits. The last 40 kms were perfect. I even passed the Queen of the Desert, Mirjam Pol. She must have had a wonderful day too. She was so fast.”
The lady in question indeed enjoyed the 600 kms long stage from Tan-Tan Plage to Icht but she just missed the stage win because of a mistake she made herself. “Quite stupid actually,” she admitted. “I took a left turn where I should have gone right and I couldn’t find the way back. It took me 15 to 20 minutes to get back to the right track. Very unfortunate, because I was leading and normally navigation is my best.”
Pol had told herself beforehand to really go for it if no one had overtaken her in the first 25 kms: a technical trial like part. “Technical parts like that are not my best, and the very fast parts are not the best of my bike. But the combination was good. I was first at both tank stops. Only after the second stop I made a mistake that enabled others to overtake me.”
Michael Lundberg from Sweden won the stage, leading to Henno van Bergeijk and Jonathan Blackburn. Mirjam Pol finished in (provisional) seventh.
Jackie Loomans was by far the first car in the bivouac and also on the stage. The Belgian veteran beat his compatriot Vincent Thijs by no less than 23 minutes. “We drove with one eye closed,” Loomans said. “It wasn’t too difficult. You certainly had to stay focused and there were a few points where a mistake was easily made, but we had no problems. One puncture, that’s all.”
Vincent Thijs had more punctures and used his last spare tyre already at km 220. “So we had to drive a bit more careful,” the Belgian explained. “The problem was that you had to deflate the tyres for the sandy parts, but there were rio’s in those parts as well. It surely was a great day, with everything in it, but also very long.”
Under the name of another Belgian, Werner Zoetaert, Mexican Pedro de Uriarte made it to third. “You could be in real trouble, but we didn’t. It was a very long day, but I enjoyed every kilometer. Finishing third after such a long and demanding day is not bad for a Mexican taxi driver, is it?”
Trucks stuck in the mud
Beforehand it was clear that the trucks would have a difficult day, especially in the first part of the special stage, being very narrow and technical. Many trucks got stuck in a oued (a riverbed) at 12 kms into the special, that was supposed to be dry but wasn’t. Dutchman Janus van Kasteren junior, a rookie in the trucks, took off as one of the last trucks. After bringing spare parts to his father, participating in an SSV, he was dead last.
“When we got to the oued there was a long line of trucks as one was stuck, Elisabete Jacinto. All the others behind her got stuck too when trying to find an alternative route. So did I. It took very long to get out and after that I was told by much experienced drivers it would be foolish to move on, so we returned to the start of the special and drove to the bivouac by road.”
The single truck in the Adventure Raid, Dutchmen Twan Verkooyen and Paul Spieringhs, pulled the trucks out. “We are glad we could be of help, but it is a pity for the competitors in the race,” Spieringhs said.
Dutchman Jos Smink was the fastest truck of the day, third overall behind Loomans and Thijs, and 15 minutes ahead of countryman Martin van den Brink.