Rosa Romero

Stage 5. Copiapó / Antofagasta

HIMOINSA Team reaches Antofagasta, and finishes the 5th stage without its support truck

We witnessed a mammoth effort from Miguel Puertas, Rosa Romero and Antonio Gimeno who had to seek help from other teams, including Team Fernández and in particular the Pedrega team, which provided them with tents, a place to sleep and the necessary spare parts. The breakdown of the support truck, which has not yet been able to return to the race, conditioned preparations for the 5th stage. They will have to get help from the Dakar camp again tonight.

In The Dakar everything counts. In the first stage we saw how the current leader in the car category, Nani Roma, said farewell to a new victory after just three kilometres along the special section and how mechanical problems forced Carlos Sainz to withdraw. In The Dakar everyone and everything count.

Bad luck hit HIMOINSA Team during the fourth stage when its support truck broke down. The truck carries everything the drivers need, including the mechanics, to tune-up the bikes after each day’s stage. A failure in the injectors left HIMOINSA Team without its truck. At the end of this long stage the Spanish drivers had to form alliances and seek help from the other teams competing in The Dakar 2015. As we saw on the Fernández Team’s social media sites (this team features a father and son from Lorca), they welcomed our motards into their Dakar family, although above all the logistical support came from the Pedrega Team in the shape of tents, essential spare parts and a place to sleep The truck is expected to rejoin the team in Iquique for the rest day just before setting off on the marathon stage.

With less rest than expected and the added complication of not having its support team available, our motards set off from Copiapó in the morning with the imposing dunes forming the backdrop. The special section looming not long after the first link sections was in everyone’s minds. As we saw yesterday, keeping the bikes working was going to be fundamental due to the lack of support once the drivers arrived at the Antofagasta camp. One of the few special sections for all categories is the 458km-long stretch over earth and stones, climbing to 3,000m at the end before dropping down to the camp at the end of stage.

Our motards continue to climb in the general classification, with Miguel Puertas already in place. while Rosa and Antonio have climbed several places to 92nd and 93rd in the overall standings respectively. Today, and despite having no assistance from the support truck, the riders again dealt perfectly with the conditions they faced. If they get through tonight and again receive assistance from one of the teams, they will reach the rest day in a much stronger position, with the HIMOINSA Team expected to be at full strength again. “No spare parts, nowhere to sleep, no clothing, not even flip-flops. Here we’re working with what we’ve been left. First we need to think about being able to set off tomorrow and then about ourselves,” declared Antonio Gimeno to colleagues from Teledeporte

Antonio Gimeno

Antonio Gimeno

Rosa Romero

Rosa Romero

 

Miguel Puertas

Miguel Puertas

In the fight for the trophy, Marc Coma enjoyed his first partial triumph and has gained just over two minutes in the general classification, closing in on the unrivalled Joan Barreda who continues to lead the pack. Unfortunately, charismatic Bolivian rider “Chavo” Salvatierra was forced to retire from this eventful rally.

Overall Standings:

General motos General pilotos

 

 

Stage 6.  Antofagasta / Iquique (Link: 369 km / Special: 319 km)

The route once again heads up the Pacific coast and on towards Iquique. In the special section the bikes and quads will have to cover extra kilometres: they will have to go off-road and climb peaks affording ocean views. Afterwards they will cross the dune-like massif which runs along and dominates the coastline. But the descent to camp will follow a different route. For the first time ever in The Dakar, this halfway stage will feature a podium installed in the centre of Iquique where the drivers will be given a rapturous welcome, particularly after the earthquake which hit the region at the beginning of 2014.

Miguel Puertas

Stage 4. Chilecito / Copiapó

HIMOINSA Team successfully crosses the Andes and enters Chile.

HIMOINSA Team is still in the competition following the 4th stage of the Dakar. The riders had to drive at altitudes of close 5,000m before reaching the camp in Copiapó, Chile. Miguel Puertas finished in 85th place,  1h 25m 26secs behind stage winner Joan Barreda, while Rosa Romero and Antonio Gimeno achieved times of 2h 01m 06secs and 2h 01m 37secs to complete the stage in 96th and 97th place respectively. The support truck had a faulty injector at the start of the day and this issue had not been resolved at the time this press release was sent. The British rider Sam Sunderland, one of the overall race favourites, has had to withdraw after fracturing his shoulder in a fall.

The Dakar Rally temporarily left Argentine soil to enter Chile via the impressive San Francisco pass, with the riders crossing the Andes at an altitude of 4,748m and tackling an initial liaison section of 594km. The day got off to a bad start when a problem was detected with one of our support truck’s injectors. This meant everything had to come to a standstill until a mechanic arrived. At the time this press release was sent we had not received confirmation that the team could set off again and an alternative solution was being sought to restore support to the riders as soon as possible.

The fourth stage began with a 200-km special section which tested riders’ ability to deal with muddy and stony terrain and the altitude declined considerably. Next they faced a daunting 115 km of sand and the first dunes, with the realisation hitting home that anyone wishing to complete this Dakar Rally would have to be in supreme physical, technical and mental shape. Miguel Puertas was once again the fastest of our riders, passing all control points at regular intervals, and ended the stage in 85th position, almost one and a half hours behind the Castellon-born Joan Barreda, who notched up another stage win. Thanks to his performance, the Granada native climbs to 81st position in the overall standings.

Miguel Puertas

Miguel Puertas

As the photos once again show, Rosa Romero and Antonio Gimeno survived another gruelling stage of more than 900 kilometres on their bikes consisting of a special section and a liaison section, drawing strength from one another. In a race from which contestants are withdrawing daily, the Catalan rider is proving that all the hard work she has put in this season to be part of the HIMOINSA Team project has been worthwhile, greatly increasing the prospect of the wife of Nani Roma successfully completing further stages. In her best Dakar Rally performance, Romero withdrew after the fifth stage, and she has the chance to match this showing tomorrow in the fifth round of the competition’s 37th edition. Rosa and Antonio are already in the top 100 in the overall classification in 95th and 96th place respectively.

Rosa Romero

Rosa Romero

Joan Barreda again claimed victory in today’s stage, which also saw the British rider Sam Sunderland forced to retire with a fractured shoulder.

The real challenge starts now and our riders will have to draw on their many years of experience to deal with tonight’s challenges without our support to the camp. We hope that Miguel Puertas, a Fair Play Raider rider always prepared to help colleagues who are at risk, will assist in this task. Looking for basic support and a place to sleep will be vital if tomorrow’s stage is to be successfully negotiated.

Antonio Gimeno

Antonio Gimeno

 

Antonio Gimeno II

Antonio Gimeno II

Miguel Puertas II

Miguel Puertas II

Miguel Puertas III

Miguel Puertas III

Miguel Puertas salto

Miguel Puertas salto

Rosa Romero II

Rosa Romero II

 

Overall standings: 

 

General

 

General pilotos

General pilotos

Stage 5.  Copiapó – Antofagasta  (Liaison: 239 km / Special: 458 km)

This is the first of the rare special stages in which all categories will compete. At the start of the race, the most confident drivers will be able to take advantage of the fast tracks to try to move up in the overall standings. But the temptation to do so may be risky, particularly in the hard-to-handle fesh-fesh areas where absolute self-control is the only guarantee of success. Overtaking here requires exceptional precision handling.

 

Etapa 5

Etapa 5

Miguel Puertas

Stage 3. San Juan / Chilecito

HIMOINSA Team overcomes canyons and clifftops to reach Chilecito

Miguel Puertas is well on path to reaching his personal milestone of 100,000 km in the Dakar event and is currently placed 83rd in the general rankings. Rosa Romero (ranked 102) and Antonio Gimeno (103) remain committed to their objective of having the three HIMOINSA Team riders on the podium in Buenos Aires on 17 January.  Debutant Matthias Walkner took the honours for the day, while Joan Barreda remains at the head of the overall standings, ahead of Portuguese rider Gonçalves and Austrian Matthias Walkner.

Third stage of the 37th Dakar Rally, which this year provides no let-up due to its frenetic time schedule, demanding that teams work around-the-clock if they hope to conquer or even complete the world’s flagship rally raid event. Following yesterday’s gruelling special, which saw race organisers having to neutralise the last eighty kilometres of the stage, today’s leg forced riders to face their first altitude-related challenges of the race so far as they vie to complete a 220 km special and a liaison spanning 437 km, taking in earth tracks and breathtaking clifftops and canyons.

Despite the shorter length of the special, many riders were still doubtlessly recovering from the physical strain of yesterday’s outing and so nothing could be taken for granted today, as with all the legs making up the Dakar event. It is, after all, the world’s most demanding rally. Competitors must have all five senses focused on both bike and track, as any loose stone could knock them out of the race. It turned out to be a highly technical stage, with a very dangerous last section as riders navigated rivers swollen with recent rainfall, uneven terrain and steep gullies.

Miguel Puertas was the first off the line this morning, starting the special at around 9:42 am and finishing 3h34m46s later. Over most of the control points along the way, the native of Granada recorded impressive gains in the general standings, wavering between 62nd and 69th. However, he lost his way somewhat over the last few CPs, dropping to 86th for the stage and standing 83rd in the general standings. “Yesterday’s stage took a lot out of me. There were people arriving at night, even though they are now back in it due to the neutralisation. This meant almost all bikers were unable to sustain much of a rhythm today. For me it was a simple, rolling and relatively easy stage. A day like this has not been bad for us. It was scorching yesterday, but today we’ve been up at around 3,000 meters so at least we were 10º o 15º cooler, which certainly helped us. The route had a lot to offer; quick at the outset but then becoming more technical as we hit the rivers and canyons. Position-wise I was up all day, but then I came across Gerard Farrés, who was stranded, so I stopped to help him and give him fuel”. Miguel Puertas, speaking on today’s stage.

Miguel Puertas

Miguel Puertas. Source: Sueña Viaja Vive en KTM

 

 

Also worthy of special mention is the hard work and results being shown by Rosa Romero, with the invaluable support of teammate Antonio Gimeno, as she strives to finish her first Dakar. Despite her punishing schedule yesterday, Rosa relied on sheer willpower as she and Antonio crossed the finishing line with their options still intact. They are now placed roughly one hundred in the general standings. In her Dakar adventure last year, Rosa withdrew during stages 4, 3 and 5.

Rosa y Antonio etapa 3

Rosa y Antonio etapa 3. Sourcee: Sueña Viaja Vive en KTM

Unfortunately, the day was overshadowed by the death of Polish rider Michal Hernik, aged just 39. May he rest in peace.

Austrian rider Matthias Walkner took first honours against the odds aboard his KTM. This marks the European biker’s first Dakar event and he was certainly euphoric with his win, although he was also quick to acknowledge that he will have a hard time of things once the real navigation challenges commence. Joan Barreda remains on the top of the general rankings ahead of Portuguese rider Gonçalves (+5´33´´) and Walkner (+10´33´´).

Rosa Romero y Antonio Gimeno

Rosa Romero y Antonio Gimeno

Miguel Puertas

Miguel Puertas

Rosa Romero y Antonio Gimeno agua

Rosa Romero y Antonio Gimeno agua

 

Standings Stage 3: 

Etapa 3, clasificación

Etapa 3, Puertas

Etapa 3, Rosa y Antonio

Overall Standings:   

General 3

General 3 Puertas

General 3 Rosa y Antonio

 

Stage 4 –  Chilecito / Copiapó               (Liaison: 594 km, special: 315 km)

Dakar is soon to reach Chile! Bright and early start for riders with an ascent of up to 4,800 meters, before the riders cross the border at the San Francisco Pass. The real competition starts with a gradual warm-up on the mining slopes before facing off with the Atacama Desert, with its open sandy terrain. After that, the final 40-kilometre stretch, which will already be shrouded in night for many riders, will throw up the sand dunes and giant depressions of Copiapó. Deft riding skills and instinct will see riders through.

Miguel Puertas

Stage 2. Villa Carlos Paz / San Juan

HIMOINSA Team prove their credentials on the longest special section of the Dakar rally.

Miguel Puertas crossed the finishing line in 85th position, 3h35m37s behind stage leader Barreda in a gruelling test of endurance that forced him to stop for over two hours to counter early signs of dehydration. Rosa Romero and Antonio Gimeno put on a great performance for us during the special stage, the end stretch of which had to be shortened so that the second half of the field, Rosa and Antonio included, would be able to start tomorrow’s third stage in view of the difficulties posed by the route and the stifling temperatures. Joan Barreda set an impressive 5h46m06s to cement his position at the top of the Dakar leaderboard.

To mark Three Kings’ Day, rally organisers threw the riders the longest special of the event at 518 km, and let us not forget we are only at stage 2 out of 13. Setting off from Villa Carlos Paz, Córdoba, today’s raid passed through the provinces of La Rioja and San Luís before finally reaching San Juan. This second stage turned out to be similar in many ways to last year’s, offering a wide range of different goings; hard surface at the start of the race, followed by stretches of dusty terrain and finishing with a sandy final leg to the finishing line. In a day that saw the mercury hit 42º, rally organisers had to shorten and neutralise part of the special for the safety of those bikers placed in the second half of the rankings, who were already exhausted following the long stage.

Problems began to emerge with only 200 km of the special to go, particularly in the sandy section. Today we have been able to confirm just how hard the stage is, with bikers speeding past each other in different directions, off pistes, and problems with bike bibmousses failing, which forced Marc Coma to limp through the final 60 km without a rear mousse. Turning to our bikers, Miguel Puertas put on a great showing for him, passing though a number of control points of the leg in close to 60th place and finishing the special without having to be neutralised. The HIMOINSA Team rider eventually closed off the leg in 85th place, impressing with his riding skills and drawing on his military mental composure to get him through to this stage of the event. “It’s been one of the hardest days I can recall in the Dakar rally, along with last year’s blisteringly hot stage. I got off to a good start on the first stage of the rally, which threw up the most mountainous terrain, but I reached a point where it became impossible to continue. Not only due to the sheer mileage behind me, but above all because I was becoming dehydrated. Even the organiser vehicles had run out of water. I was forced to make stops that must have lost me roughly two hours. From that point on I had make stops every 5 km, stopping the bike to ask the public for water and catch my breath in the shade. It has been a punishing and brutal knock-out leg. Just imagine yourself racing in these conditions during the hottest part of the day and also with the fesh fesh thrown up by the riders ahead of you. The fact that Rosa Romero finished this leg is testament to her skill”. Miguel Puertas, talking on today’s stage on returning to the bivouac.

Miguel Puertas

Miguel Puertas

 

 

Similarly, Rosa Romero and Antonio Gimeno once again rode the day out together, demonstrating perfect team tactics. According to the online tracking for the leg, both had reached the last CP when the race organisers decided to neutralise the leg for those riders still out there. This means everyone will start on the third stage of the rally tomorrow, which should invigorate them. It is an epic achievement for Rosa Romero to finish off this gruelling leg and congratulations to Antonio Gimeno for his admirable work alongside her.

 

Rosa Romero y Antonio Gimeno

Rosa Romero y Antonio Gimeno

 

Turning to the head of the field, and apart from the disastrous setback suffered by Brit Sam Sunderland, who squandered 2h26m48s after taking a wrong turn following CP11, Marc Coma was the race favourite to suffer the greatest blow, finishing 12’32” behind stage winner Joan Barreda.

 

Miguel Puertas

Miguel Puertas

Rosa y Antonio

Rosa y Antonio

Rosa y Antonio

Rosa y Antonio

Stage Standings: All of motard keep on The Dakar. Waiting for Rosa and Antonio Standings

 

 

Stage 3.  San Juan – Chilecito (Liaison: 437 km / Special: 220 km)

The pressure endured by the competitors yesterday, to a very late hour for some, will drop a notch on the route to Chilecito. The decrease in mileage and intensity will allow the competitors to enjoy the majestic landscape. The red earthen tracks overlooking cliffs or plunging into canyons will take the Dakar to the heart of one of Argentina’s most beautiful regions. However, the competitors will have to resist the temptation of tourism, especially in the bike and quad categories for which the route holds several bumpy sections in store. After avoiding thousands of rocks, all it takes is one to ruin this splendid day!

 

Etapa 3

Etapa 3. Fuente Dakar

Antonio Gimeno

Stage 1: Buenos Aires / Villa Carlos Paz

Successful debut by HIMOINSA Team in the prologue

British rider Sam Sunderland of KTM wins Stage 1 (with a time of 1:18:57) and grabs the early lead towards the winner’s podium in Buenos Aires, with little trouble for Miguel Puertas (102th, +00:25:50), Rosa Romero (118th, +00:30:52) and Antonio Gimeno (116th, +00:30:51).

The 37th edition of Dakar, the world’s toughest rally raid, has officially started. The first stage was all on Argentine soil running across the countryside from Buenos Aires to Villa Carlos Paz. The pilots faced 838km, with a special 175km timed section. Fast tracks, technical tracks and rally tracks with dirt and gravel made technique extremely important to make it through today’s stage.

The official race start began at 5:50am from Buenos Aires, with 161 motorcycles taking part after US rider Tony Gera was was not cleared. After a first liaison, reigning champion in the category Marc Coma took the exit to the special section at 7:50 am. The turn for the first of our pilots, Granada-born Miguel Puertas, came just after 8:30am in the first timed section. A Lieutenant Colonel in the Spanish Air Frace, Puertas clocked a time of 00:12:28 for the first way point located at the 15km mark. He held a steady pace throughout, with his position in the remaining WP of the special section varying from 105th to 93rd. Puertas ended up finishing in 102th place with a time of 1:44:47, back 00:25:50 from the day’s fastest rider, Sam Sunderland. “This was not a stage where big gaps could be opened. Our plan was to get a feel, since the bike came from Spain and it was if we were riding it for the first time. It was the first real chance to test it, since we spent several days with preparations and going to bed late. Until you start, you don’t really disconnect from this part. It will be pretty hot tomorrow and we still don’t know how the stage will be. We’re working on the route planner. If we had pressed more today, we might have shaved off 10 minutes, but that was not our goal. There were a lot of people yesterday, and the last 200km today were brutal. You could barely get through on your motorcycle the last kilometer”.

Miguel Puertas

Miguel Puertas

Rosa Romero, wife of last year’s champion in the car category, enjoyed the first stage, which went as planned, sticking close to Madrid driver Antonio Gimeno. The Catalan woman, one of the team’s main attractions the day before in the symbolic start, finished the first stage according to plan, but nothing is predictable in the Dakar. Rose starts this edition of Dakar showcasing great technical skill on the motorcycle, having competed with it in the Merzouga Rally and training hard in other races, such as the Transanatolia Rally. She performed as expected at all times, moving between 106th and 118th, where she ended up 00:30:52 behind the leader with a total time of 1:49:49. “For being the first day, things went well for us to get into the race and get a rhythm. Tomorrow is a real Dakar day and we are working on the road book. I doubt it will be too slow because of how long it is. It should be a mix of technique and speed. I haven’t had the chance to talk to Nani yet. I don’t want to bother him. I stopped by Mini, but the mechanic was busy with other cars. 

Rosa Romero

Rosa Romero

Meanwhile, Madrid rider Antonio Gimeno followed team orders to perfection. The aim is for all three riders to reach the podium in Buenos Aires on the 17th. Gimeno is two places in front of Rosa Romero, at 116th, with a time of 1:49:48, 00:30:51 behind the youngster, Stage 1 winner Sunderland. “This was an extremely long stage with a heavy going liaison. However, the special was short and easy. The ground was hard, with little navigation, while the presence of the crowd and safety was a big help”. 

Antonio Gimeno

Antonio Gimeno

As for the big names, KTM rider Sam Sunderland took the first special section, just 0:00:05 ahead of Portuguese rider Gonçalves, of Honda, and 0:01:15 ahead of the reigning champion in this category, KTM rider Marc Coma.

Miguel Puertas levantando las piedras

Miguel Puertas levantando las piedras

 

Rosa Romero en su paso por las vías

Rosa Romero en su paso por las vías

 

Antonio Gimeno salto

Antonio Gimeno salto

 

 Standings after Stage1:

 

Clasificación etapa; fuente: Dakar.

 

Clasificacion etapa HIMPOINSA Team; fuente: Dakar.

Clasificacion etapa HIMPOINSA Team; fuente: Dakar.

 

Stage 2: Villa Carlos Paz – San Juan (liaison: 107km / special: 518km)

Stage of Dakar: any rest will be short-lived, as competitors will have a particularly busy schedule: quite simply the longest special stage in the rally, which is varied enough to unsettle even the most experienced of drivers. Hard terrain at the start of the race will be followed by dusty sections in the middle of the day and a sandy stretch to finish. This is the first real test, which can only be successfully overcome through constant vigilance, ahead of Atacama.

 

Etapa 2; fuente: Dakar.

Etapa 2; fuente: Dakar.

Rosa Romero y Antonio Gimeno

Start for the HIMOINSA Team in Dakar 2015

Start for the HIMOINSA Team in Dakar 2015

The Spanish team appeared before thousands of fans in the Plaza de Mayo square of Buenos Aires at the symbolic start line for Dakar.

Having undergone the technical and administrative scrutineering the day before and setting up at the Tecnópolis, where adoring fans visited during the days prior to the race, the HIMOINSA Team was presented on the podium ramp of the symbolic start line of Dakar in the Plaza de Mayo square of Buenos Aires. The presentations began at around 3:15pm, local time, following a performance of the Argentine national anthem. The first rider up was Chilean Paula Gálvez, who finished back of the pack in the quads category last year. The next category presented was motorcycles, which included the HIMOINSA Team riders. Rosa Romero and Antonio Gimeno were the first on the ramp, with riders presented in reverse order to their finish last year or reverse order of their race number.  “The fans are really psyched. They love it and know the names of all the participants. It’s great to be here and enjoy it” said Rosa Romero to Argentine national TV, which aired the entire event live. Later it was Granada-born Miguel Puertas’ turn. Tomorrow he will start Dakar for the 11th time, with a chance to finish his 10th Dakar. The drivers and riders paraded along the first 34 kilometres (17 kilometres each way) of the race from Tecnópolis to Plaza de Mayo square. From Villa Martelli to Casa Rosada, thousands of spectators lined the streets of Buenos Aires to cheer on the riders as if it were a national holiday. “Every time we arrange a start in Buenos Aires it’s a huge success. A real spectacle” said race director Etienne Lavigne.

After the technical and administrative checks, the start list for tomorrow has been finalised. 406 vehicles will begin the race, of which 161 are motorcycles.  To illustrate the magnitude of Dakar, one only need look at the numbers: 53 nationalities represented in the race, more than 720 competitors between riders, drivers, co-pilots and mechanics, 9,000 km to be covered before returning to the podium and, on another note, 80,000 meals served in the bivouac over the 14 days of competition.

 

Stage 1 (Buenos Aires – Villa Carlos Paz)

The first stage, first dangers and first feelings on HIMOINSA Team’s debut in Dakar 2015 covers 838km, from Buenos Aires to Villa Carlos Paz, with 175km of timed sections. This stage should be quick for the motorcycles vying for the overall classification, with a special section almost entirely off-road and three control points at 15km, 69km and 163km. The vehicles will follow old route nine, now a motorway, before exiting at Baradero for the special section to San Nicolás and then returning to the link section until they reach Villa Carlos Paz. The bivouac will be set up on the banks of lake San Roque.   The first motorcycle will start at 5:15am Spanish time, with the timed section expected to begin for the first participant at around 7:50am. We wish our three riders the best of luck in the first stage.

 

Rosa Romero Miguel Puertas Antonio Gimeno