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5 takeaways for Sherco TVS Factory Rally Team from Dakar 2018

Joan Pedrero
TVS Racing

The 2018 Dakar Rally came to a conclusion on the 20th of January, with Matthias Walkner winning the competition among bikers. Sherco TVS Factory Rally Team acquitted themselves very well in what was their fourth time at the rally. The Indian outfit impressed everyone with their reliability and competitiveness and would be looking to build on their performances this year.

Here are five takeaways for Sherco TVS Factory Rally Team from the 2018 Dakar:

1) Dakar veteran Joan Pedrero impresses with his riding and leadership

In what was his 10th time at the Dakar rally, Spanish veteran Joan Pedrero put in an extremely consistent and courageous effort, finishing 11th overall after the completion of all 14 stages of the rally. Having set himself a lofty goal of finishing in the top 10, Pedrero came very close to achieving the goal he had envisioned. He ended up just eight minutes and 38 seconds behind ninth-placed Daniel Oliveras Carreras and three minutes and 32 seconds behind Pablo Quintanilla in 10th.

The 40-year-old Pedrero has two previous top five finishes at the Dakar and if the team continue to develop at the same pace, he can achieve a top five finish again in the near future.

2) Injuries take the sheen off a solid Dakar 2018

KP Aravind Dakar 2018
KP Aravind had to bow out of the Rally midway due to an unfortunate injury

Joan Pedrero's 11th place finish was a great result for Sherco TVS Factory Rally Team, but they could have done much better had it not been for injuries to their other riders. Frenchman Adrian Metge had to leave the rally after suffering an ankle injury in the second stage while Aravind KP had to quit the rally due to a broken ankle suffered in stage five. Both of them had made good starts to Dakar 2018 and looked on track for a top 50 finish. However, their withdrawals took the sheen off what could potentially have been a game-changing year for the team at the Dakar rally.

3) Aravind KP looked the part and gained more valuable experience

KP Aravind Dakar 2018
KP Aravind in action during Dakar 2018

Participating in what was only his second Dakar rally, Indian rider Aravind KP showed the necessary pose and guts needed to succeed in the most gruesome endurance event out there. After crashing out in the second stage in the 2017 rally, Aravind worked hard on his navigation techniques and fitness to be able to ride fast and understand the machine better and it was working very well. Till his withdrawal due to an injury in the fifth stage, he had finished the first four stages and had negotiated the tough terrain in Peru in an admirable manner.

Though he had set himself the lofty goal of finishing the rally, Sherco TVS Factory Rally Team would have been very proud of the manner in which Aravind rode and if he works on his fitness and stamina further, he can continue to pursue the goal of finishing at Dakar next year.

4) Pedrero and Sherco TVS Factory Rally Team peaked in Argentina after surviving tough Peru & Bolivia

Joan Pedrero TVS Sherco Dakar 2018
Joan Pedrero rode admirably to keep the team's flag flying high at Dakar 2018

Prior to the Argentina leg, Joan Pedrero was having a tough time negotiating the tough, mountainous terrain in Peru and Bolivia, with the sand dunes making riding very difficult. The altitude in the Bolivian leg was also an added issue that hindered Pedrero's progress from time to time. His highest finish across the first two legs was 13th, as he fought to preserve the bike's performance and finished the stages in solid fashion.

However, he really rose to the occasion once the rally moved to Argentina, finishing the four stages that took place in 10th, eighth, fifth and 10th position. His best finish came in stage 13 as he ended up fifth, just over 13 minutes behind the eventual winner, strengthening his challenge for a top 10 finish. Had bad weather not caused cancellation of two stages in the Argentinean leg, the 40-year-old could well have finished in the top 10.

5) Bright future ahead for Sherco TVS Factory Rally Team

TVS Sherco Team
The Sherco TVS Factory Rally Team pose for a photo at the end of a grueling expedition at Dakar 2018

Despite two of their riders having to withdraw from the 2018 Dakar due to injury, the Sherco TVS Factory Rally Team secured their best ever finish at the Dakar thanks to Joan Pedrero and are primed to improve their performance next time around. Before the injuries to Metge and Aravind, it looked that the team would be able to see all three of their riders finish within the top 50 positions, making the 2018 edition a truly historic one for them.

Having finished the highest they have ever done due to Pedrero's brilliance, Sherco TVS Factory Rally Team would be looking to use that as a stepping stone for future successes at Dakar and their next goal would be a top five finish in the coming editions.

Edited by Saransh Gehlot

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