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Ténéré World Raid Team Enjoy Perfect Start in Morocco

Ténéré World Raid Team Enjoy Perfect Start in Morocco

The Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team, in partnership with Riders for Health, kicked off the Morocco Desert Challenge in superb fashion, with riders Rodney Faggotter and Pol Tarrés securing second and third during the Prologue in Agadir to ensure they begin Monday’s Stage 2 from ideal positions.

The Morocco Desert Challenge (MDC) got underway on Sunday with a 33.5 km liaison to the start of the 38.4 km Prologue. In Rally Raid, the Prologue decides the positions for the beginning of the second stage, with finishing first being a disadvantage as it means you must lead out the other riders and have no trails or markers to follow. Similarly, finishing the short special too far down the standings can see competitors stuck behind slower riders or suffering from visibility issues due to the dust kicked up by those ahead of them.

With that in mind, the Ténéré World Raid Team, now managed by Marc Bourgeois and his company MBSM on behalf of Yamaha, could not have enjoyed a better start, despite the dusty conditions making the Prologue challenging. The team ensured they will begin the 356 km second stage from the optimal starting spots after Faggotter and Tarrés ended the day second and third in the Motorbike & Quad category, plus also recorded a 1-2 in the Big Bike class (600cc and above).

For Australian Faggotter, who is racing as a replacement for Alessandro Botturi during the MDC due to a scheduling conflict with the Campionato Italiano Motorally, it was the first time he had ridden in a competitive rally since the 2020 Dakar. Despite this, the experienced 47-year-old immediately felt back in the groove and used the power of his Ténéré 700 World Raid to cut a swathe through the dust and overtake several slower riders, finishing the opening stage in second with a time of 32 minutes and 55 seconds, three minutes and 22 seconds behind the stage winner.

His teammate Pol Tarrés showed his class by blasting through the sand and dusty trails to finish just 19 seconds behind his teammate in third, with a time of 33 minutes and 14 seconds. The Andorran rider has shown incredible growth after making his rally debut at the Tunisia Desert Challenge last year. Even with a small navigation error due to the lack of visibility caused by the dust kicked up by other riders, the 29-year-old from Andorra recovered superbly to get the rally off to a trouble-free start and put himself in an excellent position for Stage 2.

Monday’s second stage involves a 271 km liaison from Agadir to Page Blanche before a 356 km special that begins with a 25 km sprint along the beach. The riders will then head off into the valleys for a mixture of rocky trails, soft sand, and fast, full-throttle tracks before finishing at the bivouac in Assa.

Rodney Faggotter - P2 (32m 55s)

Ténéré World Raid Team

“It was a fast start with a big, long straight, and the Ténéré 700 World Raid just ate that up. I caught a load of riders early on, and it was tough because they were kicking up so much dust, but I worked my way through it, navigated well, and honestly, it was pretty much perfect, apart from having a dust-free run. I passed 15-20 riders; the bike was stable and powerful, and everything was spot on. I haven’t touched the settings since I rode the bike for the first time, and I don’t need to change anything after today. I am really looking forward to the rally starting in anger tomorrow with a 356 km stage. I can’t wait to get into the grind and see what we can achieve.”

Pol Tarrés - P3 (33m 14s)

Ténéré World Raid Team

“The prologue was pretty much perfect for me. I made a tiny navigational mistake due to the dust kicked up by the other riders, as when I overtook them, I missed a marker. It was a minor mistake, but honestly, apart from that, it was perfect! The Ténéré 700 World Raid worked perfectly, and I am thrilled with how today has gone. It was tough, as the stage featured a lot of soft sand, which you don’t normally get here in Morocco, but the bike coped superbly. To finish in P3, just behind Rodney, shows just how good the bikes are and means we both should have a great start to the second stage tomorrow.”

Marc Bourgeois

Ténéré World Raid Team – Team Manager

“I am happy with how today went! This is a new team and project for 2023, and it is great to have Pol return after showing incredible potential in his maiden rally season, as well as Rodney showing his class even though he is new to the project and is adjusting to the bike. I am delighted to see them both finish in the top three for tomorrow. Even though it was a short stage, it was a great warm-up for the bikes, riders and team and allowed us to understand Pol and Rodney’s feelings with the Ténéré 700 World Raid bikes. It is a long stage tomorrow, but we have got off to a great start and put ourselves in the best position possible for the rest of the week.”

Would you like to participate in a Rally Raid alongside the Ténéré World Raid Team? Thanks to the Ténéré Spirit Experience, which provides the perfect balance of adventure and enjoyment, you can discover the joys of rally while riding a route adapted to suit your riding skill level. Click here to learn more and book your place on one of the four remaining events in 2023.