- The HIMOINSA Racing Team rider earns the 8th position in the 2016 Dakar, making him the first Spanish rider in the race
- A faultless finish for the team, with all its five riders past the finish line.
Gerard Farres culminated a very successful season in Rosario with his 8th place in the Dakar Rally, and the first Spaniard, and ending an unbelievable year with the HIMOINSA Team. These are his impressions about the race:
Question: Gerard, how are you? How do you feel the day after finishing Dakar?
Answer: I am doing great, very tired but very happy with the outcome we have achieved. Being eighth in a the Dakar like this is amazing. Yesterday was a very intense and exciting day: last stage, podium ceremony and then the celebration with the team. I was eager to go to bed!
What has been your best moment of the race?
The best moment was undoubtedly the podium yesterday in Rosario. Going up the ramp together with the five riders of the team is amazing. Getting everybody to the finish line is very difficult, barely any teams are able to arrive with all their riders to the finish. To feel what it’s like to finish after having suffered so much is the best.
What about the worst feeling?
The stage of San Juan was brutal and I managed to finish it. It was 50º C, with fesh-fesh. I struggled physically from the beginning and had to endure it until the end. I was destroyed at the finish, I had a really tough time with the heat. I even went to the doctor and he said I had 39 ° C fever, but I was so tired I couldn’t even notice, you just know you are exhausted.
Your 8th place is remarkable, what will you need to be even better?
For 4 or 5 years I have been racing Dakar with different teams but without regularity. We did this race but then disconnected for the rest of the year us and did not do any more tests. That’s a problem, in the past I had the desire and illusion, but I have never had the pace. Despite everything we have achieved, what I need now is to be active throughout the year. I think that way we will gain speed. Now I have nine years of experience, but I was not able to go fast, it is not the same to navigate slowly than at full speed. For many years I have been a backup, some years I burnt down my bike (laughs) and for other years I was super slow. The only two years that I have been able to race were with Bordone Ferrari and this year, with HIMOINSA Team, and now we have to get faster by navigating well. My rivals have been with their bikes for a long time and they are very fast. Now the most important thing is that we have a fully active year, with the same people, good material and infallible KTM.
What do you think of the negative part of the race, dropouts like Joan Barreda and many others?
This race is very unfair sometimes, breakdowns can not be controlled and can happen at any time. It’s not up to you and you can not train this, bad luck is there. We have been lucky and have not had any mechanical problems. We also have a very good technical team, they have done an unbelievable job. Then there are the crashes, which are very dangerous because the speeds are huge nowadays.
This year you assisted Faria when he crashed, how do you recover from finding a fallen comrade on the track?
You go down the track and you find a mate lying, screaming in pain. It is a horrible experience, but we have this rule of Fair Play and we always stop. You disconnect from the race and get into another mode which is to help a friend. You stay with him until the organization gets there, and then I take a couple of minutes to focus again before leaving. When you leave you no longer remember what just happened, even though some kilometers later you remember it, you can not avoid it. We try not to think about it, but the risk is there. Besides, the speed is brutal, which makes things worse.
How do you approach next year?
Well, it’s still early, but the first thing is to analyze how we have done and find out what we need to improve. On a personal level I know where I have to work as I have said before, and team-wise we do know that we will do more races and preparatory work for the 2017 Dakar, starting now. Now I have a few days off with my family and then get the new season started.
How did you see yourself as a team leader?
Well, actually I’m not, each of the five drivers of HIMOINSA Team has its place. Yes, it is true that I am the most experienced in Dakar, and try to help others when they have doubts, but not a leader. In the end we all learn from each other, we go through countless moments on track.
How do you see the HIMOINSA Team from within?
The relationship is very good. In the race there is always tension, but we have never had any problems, on the contrary, we are very pleased and help each other a lot. One day you are happy and the next you are weaker, but we push each other. It was a nice experience to share this Dakar with them, we are a great group.