The Kazakhstan Rally is a part of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship which is the premiere championship of ‘Rally Raid’ racing. It is organised by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme or the FIM and the championship has been around since 1999.
Hero MotoSport Team Rally has started its 2021 season on a high note. The team secured P4, P5 and P8 in the Andalucia Rally and is planning to keep the momentum going into the Kazakhstan Rally. They have kept their rider line-up the same for the second round. Joaquim Rodrigues, Franco Caimi and Sebastian Buhler will ride the Hero 450 Rally . This year, they have moved the center of gravity to the lowest point of the bike for better handling, stability and flickability.
In the Prologue round and the two Stages that have been completed, the riders were not really comfortable on their motorcycles but managed to finish in the top 10 for all the three stages. The rear tyres were proving to be a problem for round 2 and the riders had to slow down in order to further damage the tyres to be able to reach the end of the race.
The riders got the first feel of the Kazakhstan terrain in the 2.7km short run in the Prologue Stage. The results of this round were used to determine the starting line-up for stage one. JRod finished the Prologue in P6, followed by Caimi and Buhler in P9 and P10, respectively. This starting line up was a good boost for the Hero MotoSport Rally Team to attack at stage one.
Joaquim started sixth but struggled with the bumpy terrain of the Kazakhstan countryside. But despite that, he managed to put the Hero 450 Rally bike in P6 after some cautious riding. Buhler and Caimi rode carefully and managed to avoid navigation mistakes. They finished the stage coming P8 and P10 respectively.
The stage had a variety of terrains starting from plains, camel grass tracks and hard packed ground. Post this a technical terrain tested the rider’s and the motorcycle’s capabilities. The end was a 10km dash to the finish line with relatively smoother terrain.
Rear tyres continued to bother the Hero riders through Stage two. The team had expected a stage with terrains mixed with desert and dunes. But the stage consisted of many super fast sections over hard grounds and this miscalculation led to the issue with the rear tyres.
JRod managed to have a good pace in the first half of the stage, but had to slow down for the rear tyre in order to finish the stage. He finished the stage in P11. Franco Caimi and Sebastian Buhler also suffered for the rear tyres and had to ride at a much slower pace to complete the stage.
Riders had to cover 300km with varying terrains; deserts, canyons, a rocky descent to the shores of the Caspian Sea. The stage ended with a quick dash to the finish line.