QUAD PODIUM: Brian Baragwanath won the 13th and final special stage to grab a podium spot. Image: Matt Smith
Rosario – Brian Baragwanath gave South Africa its second podium finish with third place in the quad category at the 2016 Dakar Rally which ended on Saturday (Jan 16) after two weeks of racing through Bolivia and Argentina.
Baragwanath, on Team Rhide SA Yamaha, won the 13th and final special stage to cement his podium place.
South Africa also scored a podium place in the car category via Toyota Gazoo Racing SA pair Giniel de Villiers/ Dirk von Zitzewitz.
Triumph for SA
It was a race where extreme high and low temperatures, along with heavy rains, provided competitors in the quad and motorcycle categories with a stern test of staying power.
Baragwanath finished behind Argentinian brothers Marcos and Alejandro Patronelli, with Russian Sergei Karyakin and Argentinian Gonzalez Ferioli fourth and fifth.
Baragwanath made a fast start on his Yamaha that included second place on Stage 2, and a win on special Stage 3. He then ran into problems with punctures and mechanical issues dropping him down to 10th at the end of the first leg.
The four-times South African champion got the bit between his teeth when the race restarted, and started to rapidly haul in the riders ahead of him. The Patronelli brothers were secure at the front of the field, but Baragwanath’s second leg charge sealed his podium place.
At the halfway Stage 2 other Team Rhide SA competitors, George Twigge (13) and Ted Barbier (30) were also in the top 30.
Twigge was an early casualty on leg two of the race and dropped out with mechanical problems on Stage 9, with Barbier hanging in to finally finish 21st out of 23 classified finishers.
The bike category was won at the second attempt by Australian Toby Price, on a KTM, ahead of Slovakian Stefano Svitko (KTM) and Chilean Pablo Quintanilla on a Husqvarna.
Price described his win as “insane” and took over the lead early on the second leg when Portuguese rider Paolo Goncalves, on a Honda, fell by the wayside.
Kobus Potgieter (49) was the lone South African bike survivor. He stuck gamely to the task and was classified 80th.
Lesotho rider Wessel Bosman was forced to retire before that halfway mark after a crash on stage six. The crash left Bosman with a broken left wrist, broken bones in both hands and a chipped elbow.