The Hero MotoSports Team Rally is ready for its debut on the international rally scene. Competing with riders CS Santosh and Joaquim Rodrigues in the Afriquia Merzouga Rally in Morocco, the newly formed squad is eagerly awaiting the start of the gruelling six-day event held in the south eastern part of the Kingdom.
Kicking off the proceedings is a prologue on Sunday evening, when the riders are facing a short race against the clock to determine the starting order for the opening stage on Monday morning. For India´s motorcycle star CS Santosh and Portugal´s rookie Joaquim « J-Rod » Rodrigues the rally marks the start of a new era. Recently German rally specialists Speedbrain and the world´s largest two-wheel manufacturer Hero MotoCorp Ltd have formed a strategic partnership. The two riders are competing aboard an upgraded version of the successful and well-proven Speedbrain 450 rally bike. The team is led by Managing Director Wolfgang Fischer.
« This is a new experience for me, » says Rodrigues. « I don´t know exactly what is in front of me during the next days. I will try to learn the maximum I can. Thanks to everyone at Hero MotoSports Team Rally for their support throughout the preparation process. My goal is to finish the race and see where I´m at. »
« I´m really happy to be here at the Merzouga, » adds CS Santosh. « My first encounter with the bike has been exciting. I´m delighted to see we are progressing nicely, obviously working towards the Dakar. It´s good to do some training with the roadbook. I´m trying to have a good result. »
The Afriquia Merzouga Rally has been revamped, renamed and is now part of the prestigious Dakar series. The entry list features a number of high-profile names and over 80 riders altogether. Following the prologue there are more than 1,000 kilometes through the Moroccon desert in front of the participants. The podium finishers and the overall classification will be certain on Friday noon after the chequered flag has fallen for the fifth and final stage.