At the end of Stage 11, 97 of the original 143 bikes were left in this year’s Dakar.
Sam Sunderland now looks certain to win this year’s event as he prepares to go into the final stage with a 33m9s lead over his nearest rival, KTM teammate Matthias Walkner – but this is the Dakar!
Joan Barreda (Honda) has been closing the gap and won his third consecutive stage today after organisers decided to re-establish 3 minutes to his race time.
Barreda had been obstructed by spectators during the special, and by winning the stage he now sits 44m32s behind Sunderland.
Had it not been for the 1 hour penalty last week for a refuelling infringement, Barreda would be looking strong for an overall win.
Australians Todd Smith (KTM) and Matthew Hart (Husqvarna), and Italian rider Manuel Lucchese (Yamaha) have also made it to the end of Stage 11.
Smith goes into the final stage in 20th place, and Matthew Hart is currently 44th in his first ever Dakar.
Manuel Lucchese is in a very credible 51st place – he is competing in the Dakar with no support crew.
Tonight’s stage (Australian time) is the final stage with competitors travelling 751km to the finish line in Buenos Aires.
The starting order will be reversed with the competitor lowest in the general classification leading the field out.
You can also watch the movie Dream Racer, or buy the DVD/Blue Ray, at dreamracer.tv.
The multi-award winning movie tracks Christophe’s progress through the event and is the purest footage you’ll ever see of the Dakar.
It’s also one of the most inspiring films of all time.