WhatDakar 2019 Day 1 Report
WhereLima, Peru
WhenMonday 7 January 2019

Gilbert enjoys a great Dakar day 1

South African Dakar rookie and multiple national Cross Country Moto champion, Kenny Gilbert enjoyed a positive start to the 2019 race in Peru on Monday. Gilbert and his Husqvarna ended up 39th overall among the 137 two-wheelers to start the race as he adopted a cautious attitude, eyeing a finish at his first attempt of the epic challenge of the Dakar.

"I have just finished the prologue,” Kenny confirmed after the 84km opening loop around the dunes of Pisco following a 247km liaison down the spectacular Pacific coast Monday afternoon. “It was challenging — 100% dunes today. I was nervous as I took off and yeah, I can't really complain about anything today — I had a clean run and I can walk away from this first stage with my head held high.

“I learnt a lot — the dunes are gnarly, huge and so steep so you have to be careful all the time —  it felt like I rode at 85%, which is what I plan to keep trucking away at for the whole Dakar anyway. “Now it's time to regroup while my mechanic works on my bike — I will get my road book soon and then it all starts again — marking road book and starting Stage 2 of The Dakar Rally tomorrow morning.

“The last few days have been hectic — scrutineering and documentation as well as preparing the bike and the road book, but then the airline lost a bag that only pitched up yesterday, so that was quite stressful as it held up packing all my kit into the allocated place in the truck!  

“The podium start was incredible — I had so much fun — this is the biggest race in the world for a reason — Peru is fantastic — everyone is so friendly and there seems to be millions of people watching — they want to talk to me, get my autograph and a take photo. “I feel like a rock star — I am really lucky to be here!”

It was a good start for Husqvarna’s factory team too as Chilean rider Pablo Quintanilla rode home second overall with his US teammate Andrew Short 13th. Tuesday’s second day of the Dakar runs from  Pisco to San Juan de Marcona in the first long stage of Dakar, once again through the dunes of the Peruvian desert. 

Kenny Gilbert’s Dakar effort is 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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