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.
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.
Rest day for motorbikes and quads.