|What||Dakar Final Report|
|When||Thursday 17 January|
Gilbert rides Husqvarna into Dakar top 20
Multiple former South African Cross Country Moto champion and Dakar debutant, Pretoria’s Kenny Gilbert has ridden his Husqvarna to nineteenth overall and second among the epic race’s two-wheeler rookies. Gilbert was ecstatic with his first result in the gruelling ten day epic through Peru after starting with a cautious 40th position on the opening day before moving steadily up the leaderboard to end up 27th overall and third of the bike rookies by Saturday’s rest day. He continued to make up places through the second week to wind up in the top twenty and on the rookie podium.
"So that’s Dakar 2019 finished!” an ecstatic Kenny confirmed. “I actually cannot tell you how I feel right now — it’s the most incredible feeling of my life actually! “These last ten days have been my best ever — highs and lows — and some real lows — it was relentless, but you know what, we did it! “All you guys, my team, my sponsors, all the fans and my supporters back home, I just can’t thank you all enough for believing in me.
“Now I just want to enjoy this unbelievable feeling — I want to enjoy myself and we are going to have some celebrations tonight for sure! “I just can’t thank all of you enough — I really appreciate everything so much."
Not an outright fan of dune riding, Kenny took his time to ease into the rally, making up what time he may have lost on the sand with great pace on the road sections, which he loved. Besides taking a few tumbles along the way and once needing to patch his Husqvarna up to reach the day's finish as a result, he had no real problems. Kenny also soon came to grips with the extreme demands of navigating his way through the Dakar after a little initial frustration as he was losing time trying to find wayward waypoints, but his last few days went better and better in spite of the massive human effort required.
The Dakar was also a great success for the factory Husqvarna team with its two riders, Chilean Pablo Quintanilla and US lad Andrew Short ending up fourth and fifth overall as Quintanilla led the way on several occasions and won stage 6 while running in the top 3 for most of the race, while Short steadily made his way up the rankings to his best Dakar finish yet.
Kenny Gilbert’s Dakar effort was supported by Husqvarna Motorcycles South Africa, Pepson Plastics, Gilberts Mining and Scottish Cables; Booysens Refrigeration, Liqui Moly, TRP Distributors, Michelin, Renthal, Leatt Brace and FCR Suspension; Imperium Fire proofing, Tell-Radio and Am2PM; DripDrop, Fulvic Health and Velden Motoren.
Issued on behalf of Husqvarna Off Road
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