Both the riders from Hero MotoSport completed the first stage of the Silkway Rally in the top ten. The total distance covered was 255km including the two liaison stage making up for the 201 km.
Hero MotoSport Team Rally had a positive start at the Silkway rally, 2019 at Irkutsk, Russia. Both the riders recorded good times at the end of the stage. Paulo “Speedy” Goncalves, in his debut run with Hero MotoSports, finished at the sixth position, while Oriol Mena secured the tenth position at the end of the stage. The first spot was occupied by Monster Energy Honda’s Kevin Benavides and he was closely followed by Red Bull KTM’s rider Luciano Benavides
The 255-km long first stage saw participants traverse stony terrain later leading turning into forest roads. The course also consisted of river beds and dusty Siberian hills. The riders had to be extra cautious on the slippery sections of the track following the rains that fell the night prior. The competitors started from Irkutsk and covered 51km of technical tracks alongside the shores of Lake Baikal to reach the first rally bivouac at Baykalsk.
Speaking about the stage, Paulo Goncalves said,“ I got a good feeling out there today and am really happy to finish the first stage with my Hero 450 RR. It was a short stage with just about 51km to be done on the clock, but it was a bit tricky as the ground was slippery due to overnight rains. So I drove fast enough to avoid unnecessary risks and am happy to see the back of the first stage through. Looking forward to the next one.”
Teammate Oriol Mena said, “Happy to finish the first stage of the rally. I rode well today, with a good feeling on the bike. The piste was full muddy and slushy with water holes and some stones as well. It’s just the start of the rally so I did not want to take any risks. I am happy for myself and Paulo that we made a good start for the team today. ”
Rankings after Stage one:
1.Kevin Benavides, Monster Energy Honda- 30min 51sec
2. Luciano Benavides, Red Bull KTM- 31min 21sec
3. Xavier De Soultrait, Yamaha Rally Team- 32min 12sec
6. Paulo Goncalves, Hero MotoSports- 33min 48sec
10. Oriol Mena, Hero MotoSports- 37min 19sec