Hero MotoSports puts up a strong show in their maiden Silk Way

Paulo Gonçalves © RallyZone

The Silk Way Rally came to a grand finish in the Chinese city of Dunhuang today with the conclusion of Stage 10, which took the riders on a final run of 556 kms including the final 255 kms of special section.

Hero MotoSports Team Rally also closed their maiden campaign in the Silk Way Rally with another consistent finish by Paulo Goncalves coming in 7th and Oriol Mena in the 9th place in stage 10 today.

In the overall standings, Oriol Mena finished in a commendable 6th place and Paulo Goncalves in 15th place in his first outing with Hero MotoSports Team Rally.

Paulo Goncalves, was a world class act through and through as he raked in 4 stage podiums for the team. It took an unfortunate mechanical failure in the stage 6 to deny him of a well-deserved podium finish in an otherwise clinical performance.

Oriol Mena was at his consistent best, bringing home one stage after the other and gave the team their maiden Stage win on a World Championship stage, besides 2 stage podiums. His evolution as a rally rider has been a revelation and exudes much promise for the team.

Overall, it was a rally where Hero MotoSports Team Rally clearly stepped up their game in both the skills and competitiveness, with 6 stage podiums and their maiden stage win, all credit to some fantastic and consistent performances by both their riders.

The Silk Way Rally 2019 has been a great addition to the cross country rally sport and the level of competitiveness, the organization and the new terrains have been a target of much appreciation and compliments by all the competitors.

Paulo Goncalves (Comp No: 4): « I am so happy to finish the Silkway Rally. It has been a good rally for me as I secured 4 stage podiums for me and my team Hero MotoSports Team Rally. It was a really long and tough rally running over 5000kms so I tried to push hard and increase my speed with every stage. Especially in China I did really well in the tough stages. For me the important thing was to get my first race experience with my team Hero MotoSports. So thanks to the entire team for this opportunity and giving a fantastic support throughout the rally. I am confident that with this bike and the team, it is possible to fight for the top positions in the upcoming rallies. »

Oriol Mena (Comp No: 25): « I am really happy with to finish the Silkway Rally, especially because I won one stage for the team. I finished 6th overall and very happy with this result. Congratulations also to my team mate Paulo for a great first race with the team. Many thanks to my teammates for doing a great job during the rally. My thanks to the entire Hero family for their support and encouragement to us. I have learnt a lot in this race and now I take this experience and go back to my training for the next races. »

Wolfgang Fischer, Team Manager, Hero MotoSports Team Rally: « We are very happy to have both the riders finishing safely in this new big adventure in the far-east. The Silk Way Rally turned out to be a fantastic race through the magnificent landscapes of Russia, Mongolia and China and opened a new horizon in the cross country rally sport. For Hero MotoSports Team Rally, it was a big step up in competitiveness, collecting 6 stage podiums and a maiden stage win for the team and Mena. Paulo showed his world class pace and experience in two of the most difficult stages in China, but lost out in the overall results due to a technical issue in the stage 6. It was really high level of competition in the rally as evident from stage wins for all 5 factory teams so all in all a very good race. My compliments to both the riders and thanks to my ever professional and efficient team mates. Many thanks to everyone at Hero MotoCorp and all our fans for the support. Special thanks to our CTO Dr. Markus Braunsperger, who started this amazing journey with us 3 years ago. The whole team wishes Markus and his family all the best for his return to Europe. »

Dr. Markus Braunsperger: « My congratulations to the entire team for their highly successful maiden campaign at the Silk Way Rally. It was a particularly interesting race, being the only other race similar in length and competitiveness to the Dakar. So our performance here is even more gratifying. When we signed Paulo for the team, we knew about the world champion he is, and in this rally he showed exactly why he is considered amongst the best. And Oriol has been a tremendous performer for us since day 1. His consistency is enviable and his learning curve has been steep. With the experience of Paulo and JRod and the firepower of Oriol and Santosh, we now have a combination that can definitely fight for top positions in any rally. I want to thank the team for having given me the opportunity to be a part of so many proud moments, the most memorable being on the finish podium of our very first Dakar in 2017. As I am transitioning out of the role of CTO and Head of Hero MotoSports, I will continue to follow the exploits of this team and wish them many more memorable performances. Lastly my earnest thanks to all our fans and supporters for making this journey even more special. »

Provisional Rankings of the Stage 10
1. Kevin Benavides, Monster Energy Honda, 02h 40m 49s
2. Adrien Van Beveren, Yamaha Rally Team, +01m 50s
3. Andrew Short, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna, +02m 02s…
7. Paulo Goncalves, Hero MotoSports, +05m 36s…
9. Oriol Mena, Hero MotoSports, +07m 34s…

Overall Rankings at the end of the Stage 10
1. Sam Sunderland, RedBull KTM, 26h 12m 47s
2. Andrew Short, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna, +20m 22s
3. Adrien Van Beveren, Yamaha Rally Team, +21m 01s…
6. Oriol Mena, Hero MotoSports, +51m 50s…
15. Paulo Goncalves, Hero MotoSports, +27h 06m 07s…

Press release,