Returning to the fray as part of the Dakar Experience category won't be a cakewalk
Returning to the fray as part of the Dakar Experience category won't be a cakewalkRally Zone

Dakar 2021 Stage 9 | Ashish Raorane safely finishes his first Dakar Experience stage

Not even a week since his Dakar campaign-ending crash, Ashish Raorane is back in the saddle as part of the Dakar Experience class

Saying that Ashish Raorane is tough would be an understatement, considering he elected for his Dakar debut to be in the formidable Malle Moto (or Original by Motul) class. He then achieved relative success in his four days of riding all day followed by wrenching till the wee hours, making up quite a bit of ground before his Dakar campaign was cut short by a particularly nasty crash that left him in hospital with possibly serious head injuries. But spending two days of hospital (and getting medical clearance to continue), Ashish was back in the saddle and all set to re-enter the Dakar, albeit as part of the Dakar Experience category.

The first stage for him to be back in the saddle was the positively daunting Stage 9, a tough stage to come back to, courtesy both its length as well as the borderline treacherous terrain, comprising technical sections with lots of stones and sand tracks. Add to that the passing cars and trucks throwing up dust and impacting visibility meant Ashish was understandably a bit tentative on the bike for the first 30km. And to make matters a bit worse, he also suffered a crash about 85km short of the finish, the resultant impact sending him flying over the handlebars, though the airbag deploying averted any serious consequences.

Overall, Ashish found the stage to be quite a struggle, not half due to the fact he had to finish the last 60km or so dealing with darkness and the gradual loss of visibility. Ultimately, he finished the stage in P59, and though it isn’t something to write home about, the ever positive Ashish remarked how it means he ‘won't be the last to start tomorrow!’

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