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Tough start to Dakar for SA rhino riders

2015-01-06 08:38

ELZA THIART-BOTES

RIDING FOR RHINOS: Team Rhide SA's Hannes Saaijman (pictured here) is 20th overall while team mate Brian Baragwanath's tyre woes saw him unable to finish Stage 2. Image: Team Rhide SA

SAN JUAN, Argentina - Wheels24 reported back in December 2014 that Team Rhide SA - quad riders Brian Baragwanath and Hannes Saaijman – were to take on the 2015 Dakar Rally after winning an entry from from the Dakar Challenge in Botswana.

The first day (Jan 4) however saw the two South African quad competitors suffer mechanical woes, dropping them to the rear of the pack.

During Stage 1, Baragwanath experienced engine problems during the 175km racing stage and  team mate Saaijman towed him to the end of the stage and then another 518km to the overnight bivouac where crews replaced the Yamaha Raptor 700's engine.

RACING FOR THE RHINOS

The crew (Baragwanath’s father Clive and two young but experienced technicians from Namibia, Philipie Baard who is also a former South African National Off-road Quad champion and Frank Steyn) worked through the night to fix both quads.

Stage 2, the longest of the race on Monday with a 518km racing stage and 107km of ‘connection’ sections, saw Saaijman finish 20th but Baragwanath did not finish due to flat tyres.

Team Rhide SA is riding for the Save The Rhino campaign, hoping to raise international awareness of the rhino poaching epidemic in South Africa.

For more information visit Team Rhide SA's webpage and follow its progress on Facebook and Twitter.

Stay with Wheels24 for daily coverage of the 2015 Dakar Rally.
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