Saudi Baja 2023: Stage 2

4/2/2023 11:46pm, Saudi Arabia

After yesterday’s navigation mishap while opening the stage I was the 16th bike away today for Stage 2.

It was another freezing cold morning but fortunately we only had a short 60km liaison to the start of the 184km long special stage.

At the start we were straight into the dunes for a short period. For the next 70km it was deep, deep sand with tracks going in every direction making the navigation very difficult again.

I managed to pass a couple of bikes before the fuel stop at the 100km mark.

The following 70km of the stage was fast and sandy, probably one of the fastest sections I have ever  ridden. Quite a few times in the sand I glanced at my speed and it was 150km/h. In this section I managed to pass a few more bikes and 2 quads.

The last 30km were crazy fast. #22 Brett Hunt from the UK came past me at a stupidly fast speed in the deep sand so I decided to race him for the remainder of the stage. We were absolutely putting our lives on the line and it paid off when we crossed the finish line.

I finished in 6th place overall for today’s stage and was pretty happy. I had made every waypoint and maybe only lost 5-10 minutes with navigation throughout the stage.

Later in the evening when the results were posted I was given a 5 minute penalty and dropped to 8th for the stage. The penalty was for a lost time card, which I had not lost !!!!

The officials had lost it after I handed it in at the end of the stage.

When I went to ask about this I was told I could put in an official protest to have it overturned but I would have to lodge the protest along with 250 Euros.

The 5 minute penalty really didn’t affect my overall results for the rally so I decided to leave it.

The result has been a good start to the year for me in the 2023 FIM Bajas World Cup, and way above what I came here expecting to achieve.

  • 1st overall in the Vets World Cup class
  • 9th overall in the World Cup open class

I’m now on a 5.30am flight back to Australia in the morning, and straight into preparation for Round 2 in Qatar in 5 weeks time.