Ricky Brabec rode at lightning pace to take the stage win, with teammate Kevin Benavides in tow for a one-two podium finish for Honda in Stage 12 of the 2021 Dakar
Stage 12 from Yanbu to Jeddah was the shortest stage on paper, but with the dunes in the menu, would have cost riders a lot of time if stuck. The final stage of the 2021 Dakar saw team Monster Energy Honda riders, Ricky Brabec, at P1 with a timing of 02:17:02 hours and Kevin Benavides at P2 with a difference of 02:17 minutes. At P3 was Red Bull KTM Factory team’s Matthias Walkner, with a difference of 04:13 minutes from the leader.
Winner of Stage 11 Red Bull KTM Factory rider Sam Sunderland was the first rider to start the last day special. After the 99km mark, Sunderland lost 11 minutes to Benavides and 10 minutes to Brabec, which was definitely not a good sign for him. At the first Waypoint (WP), we saw Brabec in the lead and following him was teammate Benavides with a difference of one minute. With just 50km to go, we saw Benavides in the lead, followed by teammate Brabec with a difference of just 30 seconds.
The last special was concluded with Ricky Brabec giving tough competition to teammate Kevin Benavides and taking the stage win. However, in the overall rankings, it was Benavides who took the victory in the 2021 Dakar, his cumulative time of 47:18:14 hours putting him a scant 4:56 minutes (not including the 2-minute penalty) ahead of Brabec.
Lastly, this was the first time in almost 34 years that Honda has secured a one-two finish, after Cyril Neveu and Edi Orioli’s feat in 1987.