Hero MotoSports finish round three on a high despite changes to the Silk Way Rally stage structure
Hero MotoSports completed the third round of the Silk Way Rally with all the three riders in the top 10. Franco Caimi seemed to enjoy the track more than his teammates and finished a solid third. Sebastian Buhler maintained a steady ride through the stage, finishing fifth. Joaquim Rodrigues managed to finish ninth even after facing a technical difficulty.
This race was supposed to start in Russia and finish in Ulgii in Mongolia. The organisers decided not to cross the border of Mongolia for the remainder of the rally. They elected to run the remainder of the stages inside Russia. The Silk Way Rally has also been cut short to five stages from the initial ten.
The special section of round three was 166km long which had a climb to a plateau along stony roads with many sharp rocks. Post the ascent, the remainder of the special stage consisted of fast stretches along the mountain plateau as well as water crossings across the numerous mountain rivers. Caimi and Buhler were able to challenge the unforgiving conditions with relative ease when compared to teammate J-Rod, who had the engine of his bike flooded with water while trying to cross a river. He showed his resilience by taking the engine apart, draining the water and then assembling it back together before finishing the stage.
This is what J-Rod had to say about the stage, “Today was not a good day for me. Around 80km into the stage, we had a river crossing, and I did not realize how deep it was. The water was up to my shoulders and the bike fell over, causing the engine and other parts to get flooded. I was able to get the bike out of the water, but I had to take the bike apart to drain the water from the engine. I lost a lot of time because of this, but luckily, I was able to restart the bike and complete the stage. Things are not going my way, but this is racing. I am healthy, and I will keep pushing.”
Under the new race schedule, the track of this stage was changed as well. This stage was treated as the first leg of the marathon stage. This meant that the riders did not have assistance from their team and had to carry out repairs by themselves in the bivouac set up for them in Kosh-Agach.
The riders will have to complete the same track in reverse for round four. They will trace their path back to Gorno-Altaysk, where they will be reunited with their service teams. The rally then will host the fifth and the final round on July 6. The rounds will host a loop around Gorno-Altaysk, before concluding the event with the podium ceremonies.