The American Skyler Holmes is considered a blank slate at the Dakar rally. The KTM private rider is currently recommended for a place on the KTM works team.
It only happens in exceptional cases that a largely unknown private driver leads in the overall standings at the Dakar rally, against all works teams from KTM, Honda, Yamaha, Husqvarna and so on. The American Skyler Howes made it on Tuesday after the third stage. But he is only 33 seconds ahead of Honda star Kevin Benavides.
“Howes is really a private rider,” confirmed KTM advisor Heinz Kinigadner, 250 cc motocross world champion in 1984 and 1985. “He actually has a production motorcycle. He got a slightly better engine in the Dutch BAS KTM Dakar Racing Team. However, he has installed the standard chassis, the standard fork and the original WM shock absorber in his KTM 450 Rally. He is a back-up driver whom we are now supporting with material so that one day he might join the works team. We will see…”
Skyler drives under the application of the BAS team. “We also support the Dutch HT Husqvarna Rally Team with Xavier de Soultrait, who was third after three days,” reveals Kinigadner. “They also get good prices for the material they need. We have some private teams that do a really good job. I also have to mention our Polish team, which also works very well. “
So far, no favorites have emerged at the Dakar rally in Saudi Arabia. “So far it has been difficult to say who the real favorites are,” admits Kinigadner. “At some point there will come a day when navigation is easy. Whoever gets to start first on this day could be the big winner. “
At the Dakar, the road book is only given to the teams every day before the start of the stage. As a result, private drivers are better able than before to stick to the works drivers, who in the past were able to prepare and supplement their road books with the help of specialists.
The limit of six rear tires per driver makes it difficult. “But such a rear tire can last up to 1500 km,” says Kinigadner. «That is not an insurmountable problem. The six rear tires are always sufficient in Saudi Arabia, because a lot of sand is driven on sand and little on stones. Today everyone starts the third day with the same rear tire. You can swap the mousse inside the tire as often as you want. The first day was very rocky. therefore the first rear tire was removed. It is now carried as a reserve in the support vehicles. The number of front tires is not limited. “
The 60-year-old Tyrolean, who never crossed the finish line in seven attempts at the Dakar Rally, but won three times as a KTM team manager, regrets the bad luck with the material (clutch defect) of fellow countryman and protégé Matthias Walkner on Monday. “It should be mentioned that Hiasi is the only one who drives a different clutch than the others. He uses stronger springs. There has never been a problem with that in the past three years. Now we have to investigate whether the wear on this coupling is possibly greater than on the others we use. “
Yamaha works driver Andrew Short was out on Monday because the fuel he had supplied by the organizer was contaminated with water. “Our Toby Price was also affected when he tapped the additional tank,” reports Kinigadner. “But he got off lightly and didn’t lose a lot of time. Such a thing shouldn’t happen. Fortunately, it has not happened at the Dakar for a long time. “
Dakar rally: status after three stages
1. HOWES Skyler (USA), KTM, 12 h 04:48 min
2. BENAVIDES Kevin, (ARG), Honda, +00: 00’33 sec
3. DE SOULTRAIT Xavier (F), Husqvarna, +00: 01’28 min
4. PRICE Toby (AUS), KTM, +00: 01’52 min
5. SUNDERLAND Sam (GB), KTM, +00: 05’27 min
6. EVAN BRANCH Ross (BWA), Yamaha, +00:07’14 min
7. BENAVIDES Luciano (ARG), Husqvarna, +00: 07’56
8. BARREDA Joan (E), Honda, +00: 09’02 min
9. VAN BEVEREN Adrien (F), Yamaha, +00: 09’09 min
10. CORNEJO José Ignacio (CHI), Honda, +00: 09’24 min