Nothing seems to stop Ashish from getting back into the Dakar fray
Nothing seems to stop Ashish from getting back into the Dakar fray|Rally Zone
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2021 Dakar | Ashish Raorane back in the saddle for the Experience category

Following the go-ahead from the doctors, the first Indian in the Malle Moto class at the Dakar is set to return

Sudipto Chaudhury

Ashish Raorane’s 2021 Dakar dreams are by no means over, as news has come in of the third Indian at the Dakar rally set to finish his debut outing as part of the Dakar Experience category. Raorane had earlier stunned quite a few when he announced he’ll be participating in the 2021 Dakar in the Malle Moto category, which essentially comprises a privateer tackling the Dakar armed with just his technical expertise when maintaining his motorcycle. His exploits soon gained the attention of many with his steady uptick through the rankings. However, a crash just ahead of the final waypoint in Stage 5 meant Ashish had to call off his debut Dakar attempt.

While recovering from what initially seemed to be serious injuries (to the head, no less), Ashish expressed disappointment at his maiden Dakar venture being cut short. However as luck would have it, post the 48 hours he was under observation at the hospital in Ha’il, the doctors were happy with his overall improvement. Once the CT scans were found to be clear, he was discharged from the hospital and almost immediately swung to action, getting his bike back to spec and filling out the relevant documents to continue riding as part of the Dakar Experience category.

The Dakar Experience category is a class where competitors who have been injured may claim reinstatement after gaining approval from the medical staff. Further, Dakar Experience competitors can only be considered in the stage-wise classifications, and can neither be considered in the overall classification, nor can they claim a spot on the Dakar finishers’ podium.

That said, all the other facets of the Dakar stage, chiefly with regards to the level of difficulty, stays exactly the same for the Experience competitors as well. Suffice to say, it takes a special kind of toughness to re-attempt the Dakar while nursing injuries from barely a few days ago. But that’s what the Dakar Spirit is all about, isn’t it?

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