Steady progress for Hero Motosports at stage 2 of Desafio Ruta 40

– Ross Branch moves up within overall top-5

Hero MotoSports Team Rally, the motorsport team of the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters – Hero MotoCorp, continued their impressive performance at the Desafio Ruta 40 2023, completing the 2nd stage of the rally with good results.

Ross Branch brought his Hero 450 Rally home in the 4th fastest time of the day, while his team mate Sebastian Buhler completed the stage in the 9th position. After 2 successful stages of the DR40, the Rally GP class rider duo are placed well within the overall top-10 ranks – at the 4th and 8th positions respectively.

Moving on from the start city of La Rioja, the rally continued their exploration of the vast Argentinian outdoors, this time visiting a variety of landscapes across the provinces of La Rioja and Catamarca. The W2RC competitors embarked on Stage 2 early in the morning, to cover a road section of over 120 kms. The 339 km timed section that took them to the small town of Belén was one dotted with a bit of everything – fast tracks, salt flats, lots of fesh fesh, sand, dunes, and rivers. While they enjoyed fast riding through the first half, the second half of the day required them to navigate carefully, and quickly adapt with the frequently changing terrains.

Factory rider Ross Branch found the day challenging, as he had not ridden through fesh fesh in quite a long time. The Botswanan hero still enjoyed a great time on his Hero 450 Rally, and his commendable performance today awards him with a 4th place, just 3 minutes from the podium.

For Sebastian Buhler, Stage 2 was a long and tough one. Even though he started really fast, the varying terrains after the refueling point posed some difficulty to maintain a good rhythm all through. However, the German young gun pushed well to finish within the top-10 once again.

The Rally has reached Belén, a historic small town which is also considered to be the capital of the famous Argentine poncho. The competitors will camp here for the next three nights. Stage 3 will be a 464 km loop that takes the riders to explore the north-east regions of Catamarca, and will feature lots of sand and dunes.

Ross Branch: « Stage 2 was amazing! It had a little bit of everything – the morning we could just flat out without much navigation, and then came the fesh-fesh. I haven’t ridden in fesh-fesh for a long time, and so it was quite interesting. We then had some nice dunes and sand sections after refueling. My bike has been performing incredibly well, and I’m really happy at the moment. And I hope to continue the good momentum. »

Sebastian Buhler: « We’re done with the 2nd Stage –it was a pretty long and hard stage. It started really fast, and then after refueling we went off-piste, and towards the end there were some long rivers to cross. Overall, it was a nice stage, but with lots of changing terrains – so it was difficult to maintain a good rhythm till the end. I’m happy with the result, and look forward to tomorrow. »

Provisional Rankings – Stage 2 (Rally GP Class)
1. Tosha Schareina, Honda Team, 3h 27m 40s
2. Luciano Benavides, Husqvarna Factory Racing, + 4m 42s
3. Ricky Brabec, Monster Energy Honda Team, + 7m 39s
4. Ross Branch, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, + 10m 32s
9. Sebastian Buhler, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, + 16m 54s…

Provisional Overall Standings after Stage 2 (Rally GP Class):
1. Tosha Schareina, Honda Team, 7h 22m 40s
2. Luciano Benavides, Husqvarna Factory Racing, + 4m 43s
3. Adrien Van Beveren, Monster Energy Honda Team, + 13m 20s
4. Ross Branch, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, + 14m 38s
8. Sebastian Buhler, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, + 25m 37s…