On paper the short stage five should have been one of the easier stages, but the technical riding, fesh fesh and rocks reveal it to be the toughest stage yet. Once again the stage claimed its victims as the bikes had their first ‘bike only’ stage of the rally.
Starting the stage behind 125 bikes and 30 quads, Simon pushed hard all day in the physical and dangerous riding to regain his position in the starting order. With technical nature of the riding requiring good line choice and careful navigation in the dust of the Fesh Fesh, Simon quickly found himself at home as he began to pass rider after rider.
Despite the stage being only 136km Simon’s clever and aggressive riding saw him pass around 50 vehicles and take an impressive 64th overall. Following the stage the riders headed south across the Chilean border on the spectacular Pan Americana.
Simon Pavey “Wow today was hard! The stage was physical and technical. It was brutal really. Starting at the back of the field makes life so hard; the course is so bad by the time you get there the track is destroyed. The stage was dangerous today too. The fesh fesh was deep, littered with rocks and generally difficult to ride. We crossed a rock field that was 14km long and another gulley that had foot deep fesh fesh ruts.
I tried to ride smart today, even though I pushed on, I stayed out of the fesh fesh completely. Sometimes it cost me time but I’m not going to take the risk of pushing hard when I can’t see. There were so many boulders in the fesh fesh and it’s scary. Overall it was great fun though, the best riding is always technical and I had a really good day. It’s good to get back up the pack again as quickly as I have. The track really is much harder to ride at the back of the race.
It looks like the stage tomorrow will be difficult again. We have a really early start and a long stage ahead. Coupled with that loss of two hours sleep tonight, tomorrow is going to be really tiring.”
The caravan heads south from Arica to Calama tomorrow, with a painfully long stage of 769km for the competitors to enjoy. The stage is meant to be another difficult event, with even more of the dreaded fesh fesh.
Simon Pavey – 64th - 02:25:11
Simon Pavey – 79th - 16:00:03