You are about to leave this website. Are you sure?

I agree, take me there

Ténéré World Raid Team Rewrite the Record Books at the Africa Eco Race

Ténéré World Raid Team Rewrite the Record Books at the Africa Eco Race

The Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team arrived at the end of the Africa Eco Race, alongside the legendary Lac Rose in Dakar, Senegal, with riders Pol Tarrés and Alessandro Botturi finishing in fifth and 24th, respectively, and they achieved the feat of becoming the first twin-cylinder adventure bike to complete the entire rally, plus recorded a 1-2 in the +700 class.

The epic Africa Eco Race has involved 12 stages, covering over 6000km from the start in Monaco, all the way down the West Coast of Africa, through Morocco, Mauritania and the finish in Senegal. Stirring the memories of Cyril Neveu’s victory for Yamaha in the maiden Paris-Dakar rally in 1979, Tarrés and Botturi brought their Ténéré 700 World Raid bikes back to their spiritual Dakar home on Sunday in the Africa Eco Race in an emotional moment for both the riders and team.

The first order of the day for Stage 12 was a 201km liaison from Mpal to Dakar, something which moisture and sand in the air made a tricky prospect, before riding together during the 22km special parade alongside Lac Rose to the official finish line of the race.
Tarrés has been flying through the African desert all rally, showing incredible speed and consistency, only finishing outside of the top seven once, securing his maiden rally podium on Stage 9 and besting everything the rally could throw at him. Despite temperatures reaching 50 degrees Celsius, extreme humidity, the cancelled Stage 6 and the infamous dunes of Mauritania, nothing could stop his charge. The 29-year-old duelled with the 450cc bikes on several stages and came out on top, which shows just how capable the combination of the Spaniard and his GYTR-kitted Ténéré 700 World Raid bike is.

After reaching the finish line at Lac Rose, in just his second rally, Tarrés secured fifth in the general classification with a combined time of 50 hours, 16 minutes and 42 seconds. In doing so, he became the first person to complete the Africa Eco Race on a twin-cylinder adventure bike by winning the +700 class in some style, with his teammate Botturi making it a 1-2 for the Ténéré World Raid Team. In fact, Yamaha completed a lockout of the podium with Malles Moto rider Wolfang Piccardo on his standard Ténéré 700, finishing third in class.

Botturi, who won the team’s first race in April, the Tunisia Desert Challenge, and was chasing a hat-trick of victories at the Africa Eco Race, experienced contrasting fortunes during the rally. The Italian showed his class by storming to victory on Stage 2 but then experienced a technical issue on the third stage that meant he lost time.

He bounced back with a podium on Stage 4 and was fighting his way back up the general classification before a broken chain on Stage 8 saw him stuck overnight in the searing heat of the dunes in Akjout, awaiting the rescue truck. Over 24 hours later, and having been forced to miss Stage 9, the 47-year-old returned to the bivouac exhausted and dehydrated from the experience, but after his team worked through the night to strip and rebuild the bike, “Bottu” showed his legendary determination to take to the start of Stage 10 and finish the rally.

His overall classification of 24th with a penalty-effected time of 96 hours, 55 minutes and 21 seconds was not representative of his pace, but the Italian and his team’s inspiring never-give-up attitude ensured he joined Tarrés on the +700 class podium. Plus, achieve the aim of both riders reaching the end of the rally on their Ténéré 700 World Raid GYTR-kitted bikes.

After such an epic race for Pol and Alessandro, have you been inspired to take on a two-wheeled adventure, maybe even to replicate the historic route of the original Dakar rally and create your own memories alongside Lac Rose? If so, Yamaha Motor Europe has teamed up with Riders for Health, powered by Two Wheels for Life, to give you a chance to win one of the official rally-spec Ténéré 700 World Raid machines used by the team. To find out more about the project and enter the prize draw, click here.

Pol Tarrés – P5 (50:16.42)

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team

“Wow, what an incredible feeling! This is only my second rally, and to be the first person to ever complete the entire Africa Eco Race on a twin-cylinder adventure bike and write my name in the history books is amazing. Honestly, this has been a tough rally, with the heat, humidity and length of the stages, plus the Mauritanian dunes. I worked extremely hard after the Tunisia Desert Challenge to prepare for this race, and all the hard work has paid off. I enjoyed battling with the 450cc bikes on some stages, and it shows just how good the Ténéré 700 World Raid is that I could take on and beat lighter and more nimble bikes, especially in the soft sand. Thank you to my whole team, who provided me with a perfect bike every day, and to Alessandro, who always encourages and motivates me. I am already excited about the next challenge.”

Alessandro Botturi – P24 (96:55.21)

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team

“What a day. To arrive at the finish line with Pol on our Ténéré 700 World Raid bikes by the Lac Rose in Dakar was like a dream come true. This was the goal all along for the project, and everyone has worked so hard to make it happen. It has been a challenging rally; the heat and dunes made it extremely tough. I started well, I won a stage and had another podium, but a couple of technical issues and the night in the dunes, which meant I missed Stage 9, made it difficult. Still, my team and I never gave up, and their attitude was inspiring. It is incredible to think you can take part in the Africa Eco Race on a bike you can buy from a dealer and not only get to the finish but compete with the more specialist 450cc machines. It has been an emotional rally. Thanks to all of the team for their hard work, and congratulations to Pol for his fifth-place finish. I am looking forward to taking on another epic adventure soon.”

Manuel Lucchese

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team – Team Manager

“I am so happy! I could not ask for more. It is a great reward for all the hard work the team and riders have put in. Thank you to Yamaha Motor Europe, who trusted us and gave us this great opportunity. Every team member gave their best and went above and beyond what was asked of them. They set up the bikes perfectly every day and ensured the riders were looked after in the best way. I truly believe Yamaha has written a new chapter in the history of rally racing as the first manufacturer to bring production adventure bikes into racing. It just goes to show the great potential of the Ténéré 700 World Raid by the fact that it has been competing immediately for the top positions. To lockout the podium in the +700 class, with our two official bikes and Wolfang on the standard Ténéré, is sensational! We are already looking forward to the next rally.”

Alexandre Kowalski

Yamaha Motor Europe Off-Road Racing Manager

“The 2022 Africa Eco Race was really important for Yamaha and the Ténéré 700 World Raid bike, which is now part of the racing program, and this rally is extremely tough. It covers over 6000km, with some very long stages through Morocco, Mauritania, and finally arriving in Dakar, Senegal. Considering how hard it was, everyone at Yamaha is incredibly proud of the achievements of Pol and Alessandro. Pol did a great job during the entire rally, he was in control the whole time, which is impressive when you consider he does not have a huge amount of rally experience. He has demonstrated to everyone how much he has matured and how he could manage in such a race. Alessandro also performed brilliantly. He is the winner of the last two editions of the Africa Eco Race, so he was under a bit of pressure. He started superbly but then had some bad luck that cost him time, but this is rally. With such a long race, anything can happen, but when he did not have any issues, he showed just how good he is and was always battling at the front. Managing to finish this rally with the Ténéré 700 World Raid is incredible. It is a production bike fitted with GYTR parts, so it just shows how good this bike is and the conditions it can conquer. Congratulations to the whole team, from the riders, manager, mechanics, drivers, and everyone involved. They all made this possible. We are already looking forward to the next challenge together.”