Ashish Raorane at Dakar 2021: Maintaining the momentum in Stage 2
Stage 2 at the Dakar 2021 – from Bisha to Wadi Ad-Dawasir – was a long one, coming in at 685km of which 457km was the special stage. Additionally, it was the first time Ashish Raorane was riding his 2019 KTM 450 Rally Replica on the extensive dunes, which had even the top riders struggling.
Overcoming the learning curve meant a few tumbles for Ashish in the first 30-40km as well, recovering from which took quite a toll, considering the weight of the fully fuelled bike. Nevertheless, he hit his stride after 60-70km despite the soft sand that felt easy to sink into.
In the midst of all this, Ashish chanced upon KTM Factory Racing's Matthias Walkner, who was stranded in the dunes due to issues with his clutch. It was with Ashish’s offering of a spare clutch (showing true rally spirit!) that Walkner was able to continue along his way, though the intervening pause slightly impacted Ashish’s times.
In the end, Ashish reached the bivouac before sundown, having dropped only one spot (86) from his previous standing. That said, he now stands at 23 in the Original by Motul (formerly officially called Malle Moto) class which is an improvement of one spot over his stage 1 ranking.
Ashish now looks forward to Stage 3, which will be a circuit route around the dunes of Wadi Ad-Dawasir, a total distance of 629km with a 403km special.