Dr. Emilio López-Vidriero y Miguel Puertas

Miguel Puertas´ surgery

Miguel Puertas undergoes a successful prosthetic radial head implant carried out by Dr. Emilio López-Vidriero and his medical team.

The Granada-born driver had lost 75% of the radial head so the decision was taken to remove it and the loose fragments found and to implant a prosthesis of the same size. Puertas is now convalescing at his home in Utrera and his rehabilitation programme is due to commence next week.

“A complete success,” is how Dr. Emilio López-Vidriero describes the operation performed yesterday afternoon by the medical team at his International Sports Medicine Clinic in Seville. “First, we x-rayed the elbow to check its stability. We found three loose fragments of the radial head, of which only 25% was still in decent shape. We located the fragments, removed them to check their size and then chose the right size of prosthesis. We also detected a partial rupture of the lateral ligament, which we repaired. The elbow had lost some of its mobility before the operation and this has now been fully restored. In a procedure similar to that used on Rafa Nadal’s tendons, we also applied plasma rich in growth factors, which accelerate regeneration of cartilage and of the ligament tissue. Miguel was suffering some pain today but this is to be expected after an operation of this kind. We discharged him from hospital wearing a special protective elbow cover. Rehabilitation will get underway next week at our International Sports Medicine Clinic in Seville. A process is now about to start that is even more important than the operation. I expect Miguel to be back on his motorbike within the next three to six months,” commented Dr. Emilio López-Vidriero this morning a few minutes before the HIMOINSA Team rider’s discharge.

The Spanish Air Force Lieutenant Colonel is currently resting at home following the latest stage in this gruelling recovery process that started the moment that the accident occurred. “I was really keen for the operation to go ahead, to turn a page and to get fit again. The injury is a fairly major one so the sooner this process starts the better. I’ll visit the doctor again next week at his clinic, when he’ll explain the full recuperation plan to me,” said Puertas as he left the hospital.

Dr. Emilio López-Vidriero y Miguel Puertas con la prótesis

Dr. Emilio López-Vidriero and Miguel Puertas

Codo de Miguel Puertas

 Miguel Puertas´ elbow

Podio todos

Stage 13. End of Dakar

HIMOINSA Team reaches the final podium in Dakar 2015

The team of Spanish multinational energy company, HIMOINSA, shone at this year’s Dakar with two of its three riders reaching the final podium. Rosa Romero becomes the third Spanish woman in history to finish the toughest trial in the world. The rider from Madrid, Antonio Gimeno, ends his second appearance at the rally with his second finisher. Miguel Puertas had to retire during the sixth stage after a spectacular fall that fractured his elbow.

A resounding success is how we can classify HIMOINSA Team’s participation at the 37th edition of the Dakar Rally, as the team raced this year through Argentina, Chile and Bolivia, with the competition starting and ending in the city of Buenos Aires, where today the whole team were received like genuine heroes. Thirteen stages in fourteen days with a rest day and two marathon stages; in a rally where this year the competitors experienced even more extreme situations than in other editions with the heat, cold, rain, and all the problems that the riders came up against on each of the days.

We review the final standings of our riders. Rosa Romero finished the trial in a commendable fifty-second position after more than seventy-one hours on the bike (52nd, 71h18m25s) to complete the course, and becomes the third Spanish woman of all time to finish the Dakar in the motorcycle category. The pioneer was Amparo Ausina in 2005, followed by Laia Sanz and now Rosa. Antonio Gimeno meanwhile finished his second Dakar having taken part in two editions, finishing in fifty-third position (53rd, 71h24m53s). The rider from Madrid has shown class at this year’s Dakar, always choosing the perfect strategy for Rosa and him to follow on the days of the competition. Remember Miguel Puertas had to retire in the sixth stage and is currently awaiting surgery next week. In the overall standings there were no surprises with first place in the bike category taken by the favourite Marc Coma.

With regard to today’s stage, with a lot of the competitors usually taking the opportunity to have fun with everyone and receive the greetings of the fans, the organization had to end it at CP2 on the special stage, because the rain made it impossible to continue on the bike. Following the podium finish in Technopolis, Buenos Aires, we were able to chat with our riders to let them tell us about all the emotions and how they felt after achieving the team goals, and in the case of Rosa making history. “I’m really very happy. This is the result of a job well done throughout the year. We started with Antonio in February, and later thanks to Miguel we were able to start building the HIMOINSA Team and this is what has shaped our Dakar and made it possible for me to finish. Every year that I have come, something has always happened and it seemed as if the race was chasing me. With regards our way of facing the stages we set a very solid pace, we didn’t want to take chances. There are a lot of days of competition with this pressure to not fail, not wanting to fall and when you find yourself here, it is a relief and you end up feeling excited. It was a really tough Dakar, all of us on the motorbikes are the ones who suffer the most, but the positive attitude shown by Antonio Gimeno really helped me to get here. Everyone thought that today would be a stage for having fun, and yet it has become a stage with lots of sliding about and with the sight of riders on the floor all the time, we have not had it easy on even one day. Nani is very happy for me but, unfortunately, we weren’t able to enjoy a double celebration. All the time I remembered my family, and friends and that friend I told you about, who is overcoming a tough disease. I know what it is like to experience one of these races in front of a computer and I imagined them watching all the time to see if we had passed. Now I’m going to call home, but even though they were far away it was like I was riding along with them. I always carry some of my children’s drawings with me. I always keep them with my pass card and sometimes they stamped them when I went through the check points, it was fun. This year I really enjoyed it and if I have the opportunity to repeat the Dakar under these conditions, I would do it again but for now I know it’ll be a while before I want to ride a bike. I also want to thank HIMOINSA, the other day it was really nice to receive the support and warmth of all the clients who have come out to the Dakar Rally”.

Podio

Podio

 

Podio

Podio

 

clients who have come out to the Dakar Rally”.

We also chatted with Antonio Gimeno, who was euphoric having achieved the goal they set out many months ago. “Mission accomplished. It’s a shame about Miguel having to retire but overall I’m very happy with the way things played out on a day to day basis, with Rosa’s evolution and I’m happy because we didn’t have any major incidents. I am very happy, the goal has been achieved and I’m already thinking about the Dakar 2016. I have helped Rosa to achieve her dream. The best moment was now, when I arrived with Rosa, to see her break down in tears when she saw Nani was very emotional. With regards the route, the Bolivia stages were epic, and the second and third stages were also very hard. My first call was home; you think about the whole family, this is an effort involving a lot of people. At the Dakar Rally you don’t have time to think about how people are experiencing it on the other side, you don’t perceive it. You know you are here in the middle of it every day but when you talk to people at home you realize that they are suffering the most. I have made a lot of friends. I must have helped more than twenty riders. I gave them straps, ropes; I helped getting bikes out of a river; I turned over a quad so it could continue the race… Thanks to HIMOINSA Team and everyone. During these last few days I was able to talk to Francisco Gracia, CEO, and everyone is very happy with the impact it has had.” Thus concluded Antonio Gimeno, with his mind already set on next year’s Dakar.

And so we come to the end of another Dakar in which we remember all the people who made it happen, everyone who helped us and, of course, especially our support team and mechanics Manolo Díaz, José Ruíz and Miguel Ángel Vicente-Ruíz for their tremendous work at all times. We also want to thank the other sponsors Yanmar and Vision Advisors for their support, as well as all the partner companies.

Overall Standings:

 

General final general final pilotos

Antonio Gimeno

Stage 12. Termas de Río Hondo / Rosario

Last tango to the final podium in Buenos Aires

The HIMOINSA Team is just one special stage away from reaching the final podium in Technopolis, Buenos Aires, ending the gruelling loop of this year’s 2015 Dakar with wins by Rosa Romero and Antonio Gimeno. Their five senses are on the alert for this last stage, to seal what would be a success in the project’s first year.

The end of the penultimate stage of the Dakar between MOTO GP circuit of Termas de Río Hondo and the city of Rosario. The riders once again met up with the support team after the second of the marathon stages and were able to rest some more, on a mattress and in better weather conditions. The highlight of the stage was the decision by the organization to let the riders load their bikes onto the assistance vehicles for the last 600km of liaison of the day. A gesture which although late, was well received after some days of extreme hardship.

               “We have now finished stage twelve. It was a very fast stage, the truth is that I had no grip and it was very slippery, I had to be careful. We rode at a calm and safe pace, which worked out very well for us. During the refuelling we caught up with the riders, who were ahead of us, but then a quad got in the way and because of the dust it was impossible to overtake. We were riding along quite slowly for about forty kilometres, but in the end the quad got a puncture and we were able to get past. We have now loaded the bikes onto the truck and we are heading along the liaison to get to Rosario.” Rosa Romero told us with her thoughts already on tomorrow’s stage, where the Catalan rider can fulfil the dream of a lifetime of completing her first Dakar. A goal which she set herself many years ago when the race was held in Africa and which is now within her reach after all her work and all the effort of the HIMOINSA Team. Her partner on this adventure, Antonio Gimeno, also finds himself just 383km away from reaching his personal goal, with two finishers in the two editions in which he has taken part. A perfectly coordinated team effort, with Gimeno putting his experience at the service of the HIMOINSA Team and becoming an instrumental part of the project.

Rosa Romero

Rosa Romero

With just one stage to go, we also wanted to talk to the Sports Director and rider Miguel Puertas, so he could share his feelings with us about this next stage, as well as the latest about his operation. “I am very happy. Nearly so much so that it makes up for my bad luck in this situation. The project which was initially started by HIMOINSA is reaching expectations. I know that for my part I have done well, I was very unlucky not to be able to finish, but these are factors that are out of my control. Rosa has been waiting for this moment for such a long time, when she reaches the end tomorrow she is going to feel a tremendous relief. It is a very personal effort, something you experience deep inside yourself and when you achieve your goal it is amazing. No matter how much external support you have, in the end it is you who has to overcome the challenge every day; it makes great demands of you. A trial like this, with such a difficult Dakar Rally, to finish it would be a success. We have given 100%.Since you asked me about my operation; I can tell you it will be next week. It’s as if my elbow exploded, they cannot rebuild it and I will have to have a prosthesis, the internal ligament is also broken. It will be about 5 to 6 months approximately, before I can get back on the bike. On Monday I have to go back to Barcelona to see Dr. Mir again because there is also a possibility of having the operation done in Seville, but I want his approval.

Antonio Gimeno

Antonio Gimeno

 

Going back to the race and reviewing what remains to be decided, it will be very difficult for those who are now heading their respective categories to lose their privileged position. Marc Coma in motorcycles, Sonik in quads and Al-Attyah in cars have it almost wrapped up. The main duel will be between the Kamaz trucks where Mardeev has a twelve-minute lead over Nikolaev.

Motards Sound: 

 

Overall standing: 

 

General buena General pilotos buena

 

Stage 13. Rosario / Buenos Aires (Liaison: 219 km, Special stage: 174 km)

None of the Dakar competitors consider the race won before finishing the last day. And rightly so, each year, at least one vehicle has to retire in the final stage. On the fast tracks of the Special stage caution is required, at least for those who don’t have to defend a position. Especially with the podium awaiting the giants of the 2015 edition in Technopolis, Buenos Aires, it will be the great moment of emotion everyone came for.

 

Perfil 13

Rosa y Antonio

Stage 11 Salta / Termas de Río Hondo

The riders had to sleep on the ground at the end of a marathon stage. HIMOINSA Team just two stages from the final podium.

With fluctuations in temperatures of as much as 45º C – a low of -10º C and a peak of 35º C -, the second of the marathon stages has drawn to a close. And the riders had to spend the night on the ground with just a blanket. Once again the final stretch was made even more gruelling and unpleasant by a downpour.   Rosa Romero remains in 52nd position in the overall standings with Antonio Gimeno one place behind.

The Dakar always has surprises in store and our riders were astonished to discover that after their efforts on the first day of this second marathon they had to sleep  … on the ground! They had just completed half of one of these stages during which they are unable to call on the services of the support truck and mechanics. They worked hard checking the bikes four times, ensuring that they were in optimum shape to cope with the special and today’s stage.  A day when the extremes of this year’s Dakar were again in evidence. The start is in Cachi in Salta province, and the entire support team is waiting in Termas del Río Hondo.

“Yesterday was tough. We started by crossing the Andes in freezing temperatures and had a really gruelling time. The liaison was almost 400 km, dawn was breaking and it was very difficult. You feel like you could cry on the bike because you’re struggling to cope. We took off our warm clothing and started the special, it was really good. At the bivouac we had to sleep with just a blanket on the ground rather than with a roof over our heads and we were pretty cold Today’s was a fun mountain stage though my road book was damaged and I had to drive very cautiously because I wasn’t aware of the dangers. We  managed to sort out the problem for the second half though we climbed again to 3,000 metres and it began to pour with rain, just for a change. I’m pleased that there’s not far to go and that we’ve nearly made it. I’m very happy.” This was what Rosa Romero had to say to us  upon her arrival at the Termas del Río Hondo bivouac.

 

Roa Romero

Rosa Romero

“After two days including a marathon, it’s been tough. Yesterday temperatures fell as low as -10º C when we crossed the Andes and we were all absolutely frozen. The special was fun and the final liaison climbed to 4,800 metres on mountain trails. We reached the bivouac for the marathon stage in good shape with the bikes in one piece. We carried out four checks on them before bedding down for the night and were amazed to discover that we would be sleeping on the ground with just a blanket rather than in beds, as we did after the other marathon stage. We didn’t get a great deal of rest. Today’s special was 351 km of which a 50-km section was neutralised. These two special sections were very beautiful though on the second stretch we endured a severe downpour between gullies. We managed to reach the bivouac and returned to soaring temperatures of around 35º C. There are only two stages to go, with a 1024 -km stage ahead of us tomorrow, but we’re on the verge of achieving our goal.”  These were the words of Antonio Gimeno. The Madrid native is pulling out all the stops in his second appearance in the Dakar.

Antonio Gimeno

Antonio Gimeno

With regard to times in today’s stage, our riders were once again among the top sixty from WP1 until the end of the special. They even achieved their best positions of the day right at the last moment. Rosa ended the stage in 57th place (+1 hr 20 mins 40 secs) and Antonio in 58th (+1 hr 21 mins 09 secs).

At the top of the overall standings, Marc Coma took another step towards claiming his second consecutive title, with Paulo Gonçalves of Portugal suffering a fifteen minute penalty for an engine change. Marc now holds a 21 minute, 12 second advantage over the Honda rider.

Motards spanish sound:

Overall standings:

general general pilotos

Stage 12. Termas de Río Hondo – Rosario (Liaison: 726 km , special: 298 km)

 

The Dakar spent the night near the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, which regularly hosts the Argentine rounds of the GP and WTCC motorbike championships. But the Dakar’s competitors are set for a long cross-country journey, battling it out in this tension-packed penultimate day.. A combative driver could still shake up the leaders’ positions even at this stage. And drivers who become too distracted could be caught by surprise by the surrounding vegetation!

 

Perfil

Perfil

Rosa y Antonio

Stage 10. Calama / Salta

The riders arrive in Cachi (Salta) on the marathon stage. The end is in sight with just three more stages

After another freezing night in the bivouac, the riders embarked on the 10th stage of the Dakar, which took them back into Argentine territory. HIMOINSA Team crossed the Jama Pass with the temperature hovering at around 3 degrees After arriving in Cachi, the riders, once again with no support because they are in the middle of a marathon stage, will tune up their bikes for the final stretch of the Dakar. Today’s scare was provided by Nani Roma, whose MINI crashed and rolled several times. He and his co-driver emerged unscathed.

Another rainy day on the Dakar  The riders began the special section back on Argentine soil again on the Salinas Grandes salt flats. Once again participants had to battle the same foes as in in recent days on the Salar de Uyuni salt pan: salt and water. Although we experienced a few problems with the online tracking of the race, with both Iritrack and even the GPS fitted on the bikes so that they can be located by the organisers developing faults from time to time, our HIMOINSA Team headed by Rosa Romero and Antonio Gimeno enjoyed another great day.

371 km of special and over 500 km of liaison, leaving behind yesterday’s excruciatingly uncomfortable stage owing to the terrain and fesh-fesh that Rosa Romero so detests and again entering mountainous and more technical areas on which the Catalan rider feels more at ease.  Rosa Romero finished in 59th position (+1h 28 mins 27 secs) with Antonio Gimeno alongside her in 60th place, having lost exactly the same amount of time. We were unable to establish direct contact with the riders because they are in the middle of a marathon stage but we will be able to chat with them again tomorrow at the end of the day, when the support truck and riders will share the same bivouac.

Rosa Romero y Antonio Gimeno agua

Rosa Romero y Antonio Gimeno agua

At the top of the standings, Joan Barreda put an end to his rotten luck in two stages by claiming victory in today’s race, while the overall leader Marc Coma was able to further extend his advantage over the Portuguese rider Paulo Gonçalves to around seven minutes A special mention goes to Laia Sanz, who remains in the top ten in the overall standings. Today’s most notable withdrawal was Matthias Walkner, the Austrian rider who has claimed a stage win and was the first rider to help Puertas following his accident, who felt unwell and was unable even to start stage ten.

 

Overall standings

 

general general pilotos

 

Stage 11. Salta – Termas de Río Hondo (liaison: 161 km , special: 351 km)

The rally takes two different routes along the famous Ruta 40 and catches an eyeful of its magnificent landscapes. However, the riders and drivers will have no time for sightseeing on these fast tracks: their accumulated fatigue 11 days into the rally (and the fourth marathon stage for motorcycles and quads!) requires a laser-like focus on the course and the notes in the road book. Car and truck crews will also have to be on the lookout in the many sections where the tracks are lined with trees.

 

 

 

Perfil

Rosa Romero

Stage 9. Iquique / Calama

The Dakar says goodbye to Chile and HIMOINSA Team survives another stage. They now face the second marathon day

After two days of extreme weather and a 450 km-long special section, the longest one left, the motards are in good position. Antonio Gimeno is 61st with Rosa Romero just behind him. Yet another success for the team’s strategy on their KTM 450 EXCs which are proving to be ideal for HIMOINSA Team’s goals. Miguel Puertas is due to be examined in Barcelona on 14 January to ascertain the extent of his injury.

You never know what is going to happen in The Dakar before it begins and much less how the race is going to pan out. What is important is that the riders are in great physical shape and are able to handle their bikes. This has proven to be vital this year as the race gets tougher.  Despite the dangers, the rough terrain and other problems typical of The Dakar, Antonio Gimeno and Rosa Romero found today’s special easier thanks to the better weather.

“We finished a long timed 450 km stage. Yesterday we saw in the roadbook that today was going to be ugly and decided to take it easy as our times were good going into the special section. And we didn’t want any technical problems with the bikes. They were sections of fesh fesh, rough paths, loads of stones and hidden stones, but we achieved our goal. Tomorrow we head for Salta to start the marathon stage and we won’t have any backup again. We’ve got to get the bikes ready now along with the whole team so that we can really go for it tomorrow,” said Antonio Gimeno after the stage, stressing that tomorrow they will be without backup as it is a marathon stage. This is unlikely to be a problem for our riders as they have already survived the first marathon stage plus over two days without their support truck when it broke down.

Antonio Gimeno

Antonio Gimeno

Even though Rosa Romero had a tough stage, she beat her previous best and is very much focusing on one day at a time, well aware that it would be a mistake to dream of the podium in Buenos Aires too soon. She knows that The Dakar can throw up last-minute surprises. Rosa was also able to chat with her husband, Nani Roma, who won today’s stage despite breaking down on the first day. “Today’s stage was long and I found it difficult. Fesh fesh makes for hard going and we had nearly 400km of it. At the starting line I was told to focus, which I did. Tomorrow we’re back on mountain tracks which requires greater technique, and that suits me better. We’re now setting off towards Argentina, not long to go now”.

Rosa Romero

Rosa Romero

We also want to keep you up to date on another HIMOINSA Team rider and will continue to do so until he goes into the operating theatre and is on his way to recovery. Miguel Puertas is due to arrive in Barcelona on 14 January where he will see Dr. Xavier Mir at the Instituto Traumatológico de Barcelona to discuss a date for his operation and subsequent recovery. That evening, Puertas will appear on a special programme broadcast by Teleporte to celebrate the 37th Dakar Rally. The programme will be on live at 22:30, and fans will be able to find out how his fracture is as well as listen to the experts’ views.

Honda rider, Helder Rodríguez, won today’s stage. Stefan Svitko dropped 21’40´´, Toby Price 23’09´´ and Pablo Quintanilla 23’15´´. Coma remains in the lead, closely followed by Portugal’s Gonçalves, just 5’28” behind him. Our riders are 62nd and 63rd.

Motards spanish audio:

Antonio Gimeno

Antonio Gimeno

Rosa Romero

Rosa Romero

Overall standing:

General General pilotos

 

Stage 10. Calama / Cachi (Link: 520 km • Special: 371 km)

The bikes and quads set off on their second marathon stage! After following the border between Chile and Argentina, today’s special starts in Salinas Grande, at over 3,600 meters. The altitude is likely to affect the riders and their engines. The strongest could break the deadlock at the end of this more technical stage.  The link section will then take them to Paso del Acay, at 4, 970 meters.

 

perfil

 

Rosa Romero II

Stage 8. Uyuni / Iquique

End of a very tough marathon stage with atrocious conditions and the drivers nearly refusing to go out. Despite this, HIMOINSA Team obtained its best classification

The cold and the rain made this second part of the marathon stage even harder. The riders left the Salar de Uyuni salt plain and completed a special section divided into two parts with a neutralised section. Rosa Romero and Antonio Gimeno enjoyed their best stage yet and are still 45th and 47th respectively. Given the atrocious weather conditions the drivers contemplated refusing to go out. According to the latest reports, Miguel Puertas is due to travel to Barcelona to be examined by the medical team headed by the doctor Xavier Mir, who operated on his torn ligaments in the past.

After spending the night at 3,600m and having completed the first part of the marathon stage, Rosa Romero and Antonio Gimeno joined the rest of the motards for an early start. Given the low temperatures and the heavy rain, raincoats, fleeces and coats were very much the order of the day. The drivers gathered around Marc Coma to try and persuade him to refuse to set off in such inclement conditions but the organisers refused to budge and the stage eventually got under way. During today’s 784 km-long stage, up to 46 drivers suffered from hypothermia and many had to be airlifted from the race and forced to withdraw.

Antonio Gimeno gave us his views on the punishing past two days of The Dakar. “We’ve gone from a stage with extreme temperatures and suffered dehydration to a mammoth stage and nearly hypothermia. It began to rain in the last 100km yesterday and that, combined with being at 4,000m, was sheer madness. We were soaked through and freezing cold by the time we reached the bivouac … When we got up this morning it was still raining and apparently it had even snowed in the night. The organisers didn’t want to cancel the special stage so we set off for Salar de Uyuni which was like crossing a marsh. Loads of bikes skidded and there were tonnes of problems. But we’re still in one piece and thinking about tomorrow.”

Antonio Gimeno

Antonio Gimeno

We were also able to speak to Rosa Romero who had yesterday finished exhausted and today told us she couldn’t believe the special stage had gone ahead. “We made it today. The past two days have been really tough, especially yesterday. It rained and the terrain was extremely slippery and we had about three hours to cover the last 100km. I arrived at camp on the brink of hypothermia, I saw the doctors and then had a hot shower and something to eat. I had a really bad time yesterday. It didn’t make any sense to go out today in such treacherous conditions, the organisers wanted to go ahead and I just couldn’t believe it. Everyone overtook us as we were going at 120km/hr but we were lucky as our engines held out, our radiators didn’t get clogged up and we were able to overtake lots of drivers. Antonio’s advice today was spot on.”

Rosa Romero

Rosa Romero

The HIMOINSA Team duo are sticking to their flawless strategy in The Dakar and are 51st and 52nd. Other Spanish drivers had to pull out today, including Jordi Viladoms whose engine packed up.

Miguel Puertas, the airforce Lieutenant Colonel forced to withdraw, is already in Utrera, Seville, resting with his family. He’s due to fly to Barcelona to be assessed by Xavier Mir’s medical team. Dr. Mir has operated on his shoulder in the past and has also operated on Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa and Marc Márquez. Puertas will be treated by one of the leading joint specialists and will soon be on his way to recovery.

In the push for victory, Joan Barreda has had to withdraw from The Dakar. Today his bike wouldn’t start and he had to be towed away by Jeremías Israel. This comes just one day after he’d managed to mend his broken handlebar. So Coma is still in the lead, 9´39″ ahead of Gonçalves and 13´45´´ ahead of Quintanilla.

Motards sound:

 

 

Overall standing:

General General motos

 

Stage 9. Iquique / Calama (Link: 88 km / Special: 451 km)

On the day we bid farewell to the Atacama Desert, all the competitors will gather together to set off on a 50 km-long special section over sand and dunes. They must savour the sensations as the stage will be heavy going. The bad weather means the route will be bumpy, strewn with potholes and mounds, while the narrow tracks bodywork will be scratched.

Etapa 9 perfil

Rosa y Antonio

Stage 7. Iquique / Uyuni

HIMOINSA Team reaches the Salar de Uyuni salt pan on a marathon stage

Rosa Romero and Antonio Gimeno put in outstanding performances to complete the 7th stage of the Dakar rally in  71st and 72nd position respectively at 2hrs 33mins 27secs and 2hrs 33mins 54secs from the race leader. The majestic Salar de Uyuni salt pan is the most incredible destination in Bolivia imaginable for the riders. Meanwhile, Miguel Puertas is expected to arrive in Spain at 09.00 tomorrow, and a decision will then be made on where the operation will take place.

The first day without Miguel Puertas in the Dakar, something that has not happened since 2004, when the Granada native was forced to withdraw from his first ever rally. Today’s stage was unusual and special due both to the peculiar route drawn up the organisers and the absence of our Sporting Director and rider. Puertas is currently on a flight to Seville, where he is expected to arrive at around 09.00 tomorrow Spanish time. A decision will be taken on his operation once he has arrived in Spain.

Regarding the stage itself, the organisers came up with three impressive different routes for the various categories: a special route for trucks, another for cars and a third for motorbikes and quads. This was the second marathon stage for cars and trucks and the the first for motorbikes and quad bikes. On marathon stages the riders cannot receive assistance from their support truck at the end. They must perform repairs themselves with the spare parts that they are carrying and tune up the bikes as usual. A 392 km liaison section and a spectacular 321-km special section

In contrast to yesterday’s stage, there was joy for HIMOINSA Team after Rosa and Antonio put in incredible performances, their best since the start of the 37th edition of the world’s most gruelling rally raid. They ended the stage in 71st and 72nd position in the overall standings respectively, having ridden superbly over extremely muddy terrain in the second section that was even more treacherous than usual because the cars had already driven over it.   Now the team just needs to keep up the hard work. The riders will have to deal with spending the night more than 3500 metres above sea level with the physical problems this entails. Many will endure headaches and vomiting during this adventurous night on the marathon stage when the riders will have to deal with their bikes themselves.

Rosa Romero y Antonio Gimeno

Rosa Romero y Antonio Gimeno

“After sorting out the mechanical issue and getting through three days, the whole group is finally together. It’ll be tough to deal with the absence of Miguel because he is a unique character and we’ll really miss him, but this means we’re even more motivated to finish the Dakar and to bring this project to a happy conclusion. The riders were very happy and in a much stronger position at the end of this marathon stage.  Now we’re recharging our batteries and using this day to sort everything out and catch up on all work that needs to be done.” Manolo Díaz, head of the support team, informed us.

Antonio Gimeno

Antonio Gimeno

Rosa Romero

Rosa Romero

Victory in the stage was claimed by Paulo Gonçalves, with the most significant development being the performance of Marca Coma, who made up six minutes on Joan Barreda after the latter was forced to cover more than 120 km with broken handlebars. Tonight’s work will be essential for Barreda’s aspirations in the Dakar and a colleague will have to sacrifice their own handlebars so that he remains in the running to end the race on the winner’s podium.

Stage 8.  Uyuni – Iquique (Liaison: 24 km, special: 781 km)

The Dakar bows to the rules of nature. Hence, the weather will decide which route will be taken to leave Bolivia.  If it’s dry, the start could take place in the Salar de Uyuni, for a 100km route across a smooth road of white salt.  The route then slows down abruptly, with the longest part of the special stage taking place on more technical mountain terrain.

Etapa 8

Etapa 8

Iquique

Rest Day

False day of rest for the HIMOINSA Team

The team took the opportunity to visit Miguel Puertas, who is waiting to be transferred to Santiago de Chile, and from there to Spain for surgery. The assistance truck was able to reach Iquique and is already working on the bikes ridden by Rosa and Antonio for the marathon stage tomorrow.

It is called a day of rest because the riders do not ride their bikes, but after six stages, with two of them practically unassisted, now it is anything but rest. The team members have had a busy day. The first stop for the HIMOINSA Team was at the hospital where Miguel Puertas is waiting to be moved to Spain after his accident yesterday. This is how Miguel told us about what he was going through at the moment, still full of anger. “I am very disappointed because throughout the whole stage everything was going well, I wasn’t taking any unnecessary risks and considering that the next day was the rest phase, I could regain my strength for the second part of the Rally. What happened is that in the final kilometres of the stage, the route taken by the trucks coincided with that of the motorbikes. The trucks go too fast and usually activate their Sentinel system to warn you that they are going to overtake when they are right behind you and without slowing down. On a narrow sandy path, a truck activated the Sentinel to pass me. There was very little warning. The only option was to accelerate and get to the end of the path before the truck. Physically there was no room for both of us to pass at the same time. Just when I accelerated to perform the manoeuvre quickly and make way for the truck, the wheel of the bike got caught in the sand and I was thrown off, flying above the bike. Hitting the floor, my first point of support was my hand and that’s when I realised that my elbow was out of place and my arm was broken. The truck was only a few inches away when it passed me, I almost got run over.” Miguel Puertas told us what happened while suffering from serious symptoms of fatigue and felt sorry for leaving the rest of the team alone in the Dakar Rally.

Miguel was paid a visit by each and every one of his team members, even the mechanics and support manager, Manolo Diaz, people who are like brothers to him. The assistance truck completed more than 2,000 km to join up with Rosa Romero and Antonio Gimeno and prepare the bikes ahead of the marathon stage which lies ahead. Also passing through the hospital wards was the Executive Director of HIMOINSA The Energy, Francisco Gracia.

 

 

Miguel Puertas en Iquique

Miguel Puertas , Iquique.

 

 

Meanwhile, Rosa Romero has taken a big step reaching this rest stage, although she knows the second part of the rally will be gruelling. “To be at the rest stage is a giant step but still just a step, there is one more step to go. The goal up to now was to get here. We’ve been through all sorts of things but we are here now without any problems.” We wanted to ask Rosa Romero what she thought was the toughest stage so far this year. “The second stage was in two parts, a very fast part and then an off-road area with bushes and very high temperatures. I had to take my clothes off because I was becoming dizzy, I had lost Antonio but found some spectators who gave me water and a food stick. I was with them for about twenty minutes; that allowed me to recover and finish the stage.” Another major problem experienced by the team in the latter stages was the absence of the assistance truck. The Catalan rider told us how they have been able to overcome these obstacles: “When we reached the third stage, because our truck always carries the HIMOINSA flags we can always find it quickly, but this time we couldn’t see them and we were told that the truck had broken down. We were able to talk to them and they said they were not going to arrive. The bike needs maintenance and not having our mechanics and tools was very hard, but in the Dakar Rally the fellowship among the teams is highly valued. We were given clothing, tools … On the second day we started to really suffer, there are a lot of things you need from the truck. Now we have to focus on the fact that we managed to get this far and that we are all together”.

Rosa Romero IV

Rosa Romero

We also had time to hang out with Antonio Gimeno, the Madrid rider is experiencing this year’s Dakar from another point of view and the first thing he did was to talk about the hugely important retirement of Miguel Puertas. “What a blow, Miguel was our only sure thing, a guarantee of success. The area where we found the bike was not a place where riders tend to fall, we were looking for him, we found the bike but he was nowhere to be seen. Seeing that the bike started ok, I feared the worse. We were about 20 or 30 km from the finish line and when we got to the special stage they confirmed what had happened. He’s really affected, because no one had more enthusiasm than him. We wanted to review the gruelling second stage with Antonio, where there was even the death of a rider to mourn. “In the second stage, I was amazed. When I did the Dakar before I was further ahead and in this rally where we are further back we found ourselves in a trap. With the cars overtaking us it was impossible to move, it was incredibly hot and there wasn’t a drop of air. Every 300 or 400 m a rider was thrown off. I asked Rosa to make a special effort and told her we had to come off the track in whatever way we could so we could eat and drink” Antonio knows that now he has to back up what he has done in this first part and dedicate this Dakar to Miguel Puertas.

Antonio Gimeno III

Antonio Gimeno

At the moment the team of mechanics are working on the bikes so that tomorrow there will be no problems and our two riders who still have chances in the race are able to achieve their goal of reaching the podium in Buenos Aires.

Miguel Puertas

Miguel Puertas

 

Stage 7.  Iquique / Uyuni (Liaison: 396 km, Special stage: 321 km)

The difficulties accumulate in the first part of the Bolivian marathon stage. From the start, the long liaison gives the riders a morning wake up, before a progressive climb to more than 3500 m. Once on the high plateaus, the start of the special stage begins, with the importance of giving utmost care to following the road-book, to be prepared for the abundance of intersections. Among the challenges of the day, the economy of the tyres could be very significant. Once in Uyuni, only the outward part of the marathon stage has been completed.

 

Etapa 7

Miguel Puertas

Stage 6. Antofagasta / Iquique

HIMOINSA Team is left without Miguel Puertas. Rosa Romero and Antonio Gimeno continue and successfully reached Iquique.

Although Rosa Romero and Antonio Gimeno were able to reach the city of Iquique finishing the stage, today was marked by sadness in the HIMOINSA Team, after the withdrawal of Miguel Puertas. A fall 15 km from the finishing line produced an internal fracture to the elbow, bad luck that meant the rider from Granada had to be rushed to hospital and say goodbye to his challenge to complete his tenth consecutive Dakar.

Sixth stage of the Dakar Rally, and a day which got even harder for the HIMOINSA Team as the team had to face the last two stages without its assistance truck. The morning started with good news: the assistance truck was already repaired and, if everything turned out according to plan, on the morning of the day of rest the participants would be able to re-unite with their mechanics, assistance and truck and come together as a team again. Gone were the two long days of asking for help, spare parts, clean clothes and even a place to sleep. 688 km lay ahead with 318 km along a special route and a new trial for the motards of the HIMOINSA Team.

Miguel Puertas, Rosa Romero and Antonio Gimeno were clear that the aim of the day was, as usual, not to take risks, maintain the mechanical condition of their vehicles and wait for the day of rest before facing the first of the marathon stages, something which is not going to catch members HIMOINSA Team by surprise. The stage unfolded exactly as planned, Rosa and Antonio losing more time than usual from the WP5, but they gradually returned to normal in the subsequent way points. The alarm bells rang when Miguel Puertas should have reached the goal according to the race times and had not done so. Calls and messages from the HIMOINSA Team in Spain to contact Chile followed and it was finally confirmed what we did not want to hear: Miguel Puertas had fallen about fifteen kilometres from the end, and his bad luck meant this was not going to be like just another of the numerous falls which we are used to. Miguel suffered a fracture to one of his arms at the elbow and the organization had to go by helicopter to evacuate him from the route and thus confirmed the retirement of Miguel Puertas from Dakar 2015. In the coming hours medical decisions will be taken on where and how the rider from Granada will undergo surgery. The latest medical reports have revealed that Miguel will be moved to Santiago de Chile, there he will fly to Spain and will have the fracture operated on within three days. From what we’ve managed to find out from his family, Miguel is fine but very tired from the effort of this inhumane Dakar and devastated because of the moment when the fall occurred and how it happened.

On a positive note the day ended well for Rosa Romero and Antonio Gimeno. Another stage completed by the HIMOINSA Team duo and which means Rosa Romero has completed more days than ever at a Dakar Rally. Rosa recorded 99th position for the stage and Antonio was right behind her in one-hundredth place. Overall at this year’s Dakar Rosa is situated in 92nd position and Gimeno one place behind her. A Dakar in which today also saw the retirement of Spanish rider Marc Guasch meaning there are now only 110 participants in the motorbike category.

At the HIMOINSA Team we would like to highlight what Miguel Puertas represents for the Dakar Rally and especially for the other participants. He has earned respect year after year with each of his appearances and because he is always helping others. Last year he was able to put up with broken shoulder ligaments in the final stage to finish the Dakar but this year the outcome is very different for Miguel.

Equipo

HIMOINSA Team

In the fight for the ultimate prize Joan Barreda and Marc Coma continue to give us a beautiful struggle that has been repeated every day, and again today with the man from Castellón gaining two minutes over Coma in the overall standings. Today’s stage was won by Honda rider Helder Rodrígues, who received the warmth of all the spectators in the city of Iquique.

 

Overall Standings

General motos día 6

General pilotos día 6

 

Rest day for motorbikes and quads.