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Ténéré World Raid Team on the Verge of Creating History After Strong Stage 11 at the Africa Eco Race

Ténéré World Raid Team on the Verge of Creating History After Strong Stage 11 at the Africa Eco Race

The Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team completed the Mauritanian leg of the rally during a shortened Stage 11 in style, with Pol Tarrés ending the special in fourth and his teammate Alessandro Botturi in sixth. In doing so, Tarrés will become the first rider ever to reach the end of the Africa Eco Race on a two-cylinder adventure bike after they complete Sunday’s 22km Stage 12 beside the iconic Lac Rose.

Stage 11 of the Africa Eco Race was due to contain two specials, one on each side of the Mauritanian/Senegal border, but due to recent torrential rain, the second leg was cancelled. This left 122km of soft sand and dunes to deal with before a 300km liaison that included the border crossing before arriving at the bivouac in Mpal. Temperatures rose to over 45 degrees Celsius once again, and as the riders approached Senegal, the humidity also increased, so while the special was one of the shortest of the rally so far, it proved to be just as challenging as those that came before it.

Tarrés has been a revelation during the past two weeks, as the Spaniard, in only his second rally, had only finished outside the top ten once before Saturday’s tricky Stage 11. Determined to keep up his excellent form, he was involved in a stunning two-way battle with the rider behind him in the general classification for the last 60km of the special.

Giving it everything, he managed to stay close enough to make sure he retained his fifth position overall by finishing in fourth with a time of one hour, 45 minutes and eight seconds, to give him an overall time of 50 hours, 16 minutes and 42 seconds.

With the final stage in Dakar more of a parade on Sunday, the 29-year-old has effectively also managed to win the +700 class for twin-cylinder adventure bikes and will create history tomorrow when he crosses the line as the first bike of this type ever to finish the Africa Eco Race.  

Botturi has faced the ups and downs of rally racing during the last two weeks. With a stage victory and podium to his name, the winner of the previous two editions of the Africa Eco Race was confident heading into Mauritania. Sadly, a broken chain during Stage 8 and a night in the dunes awaiting rescue meant he had to miss Stage 9.

Showing incredible fortitude and determination, and thanks to the fantastic work of his team, the Italian returned for Stage 10 and showed his class again in today’s special to finish in sixth with a time of one hour, 49 minutes and one second. His efforts mean that when the 47-year-old crosses the finish line in Dakar on Sunday, he will have fought back to secure 24th overall and second in the +700 class to complete a Yamaha 1-2 alongside his teammate.

Sunday’s Stage 12 sees the  Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team, in partnership with Riders for Health, take on a 201km liaison from Mpal to Dakar, where they will then complete a 21.93km special on the beach alongside the legendary Lac Rose before confirmation of the results and the trophy ceremony on the shore.

Have Pol and Alessandro’s exploits in the Africa Eco Race inspired you to want to take on your own two-wheeled adventure? 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 – P4 (1:45.08)

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team

“Today was not easy; despite being a short stage, it was tough in the dunes, and the heat and humidity made it even tougher. The rider behind me in the overall standings was pushing me hard to take fifth position in the general classification. About 60km in, he caught me, and we spent the last 60km racing like kids in a motocross race, just absolutely flat out. It was a lot of fun, and I managed to stay just behind him, so we retained fifth in the standings and to get another fourth-position stage finish, I am delighted. This rally has been incredible for me, and now I can’t wait to ride with Alessandro alongside Lac Rose in Dakar tomorrow.”

Alessandro Botturi – P6 (1:49.01)

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team

“Wow, I have so many emotions after today’s stage. It may have been a short special, but it was tough, and after everything that has happened during this rally, I am delighted to get to Senegal. To finish today’s Stage in sixth was great; I am so happy to have made it to Senegal, with only the 22km special in Dakar to go. It has been a tough rally, with a stage win, another podium, and then having the bad luck of the broken chain and having to miss Stage 9, but we are here, we did it, and the whole team can be very proud. Tomorrow, riding by Lac Rose in Dakar with Pol and our Ténéré 700 World Raid bikes will be very emotional!”

Manuel Lucchese

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team – Team Manager

“I am absolutely delighted! Tomorrow, the Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team will make history and be the first two-cylinder adventure bike to finish the Africa Eco Race. Both riders have had an incredible race. Pol has secured a fifth-place finish in just his second-ever rally and has dominated the +700 class to secure victory. I believe this proves the potential of not only our riders but, of course, the GYTR-kitted Ténéré 700 World Raid bikes. Alessandro has had some bad luck in this rally, but he has shown a great attitude to fight back, and the whole team has made me very proud for the work they have put in and their never-give-up attitude. I look forward to reaching Dakar and making the vision that I have had of the two Ténéré’s with Pol and Alessandro riding alongside each other by Lac Rose a reality. I think we are reigniting memories of the past and inspiring others to take on such an adventure, and it will be an emotional moment for everyone.”