Barreda vince la Vegas to Reno
644 miglia in due giorni. Oltre 1000 chilometri. Una lunghezza che agli americani fa paura, mentre ai dakariani sembra ordinaria amministrazione. Polvere, deserto e sabbia a farla da padrone, specialmente nel primo giorno quando i piloti al via erano tanti e i sorpassi non sono stati semplici. 342 i partecipanti e Barreda è stato il più veloce con un tempo di 9 ore, per soli 59" non netto. Ha battuto David Pearson per 7'38" mentre il terzo, Jacob Argubright si è ritrovato staccato di 15'34". Barreda era partito terzo in gara e già al termine del primo giorno, dopo 475 chilometri era risalito in seconda posizione guadagnandosi poi la vittoria negli ultimi 560 km dell'ultimo tratto della Long Way - “The Longest Off-Road Race in the United States".
Ottima la prestazione di Michael Metge che non ha avuto vita facile in questa gara. Il francese infatti ha avuto un problema alla ruota posteriore il primo giorno ed è stato costretto a cambiarla, trovandosi così penalizzato e retrocesso in classifica per una penalità appunto di 30 minuti. Partito molto indietro il giorno dopo, ventesimo, Mika è stato capace di risalire in classifica combattendo contro polvere e fatica, e avversari da superare chiudendo quinto la seconda tappa e sesto assoluto la gara.
Joan Barreda proved to be the fastest over the 644 mile ‘Vegas to Reno’ – the longest off-road race in the USA. The race, now in its twentieth year, featured no less than 342 participants. This is the second straight win for Joan Barreda after July’s Baja Aragón triumph and the fourth consecutive victory for Team HRC. The growing list includes: the Merzouga Rally in Morocco, the Desafío Ruta 40 in Argentina, Spain’s Baja Aragón and now the Vegas to Reno race in the U.S. Joan Barreda and Michael Metge made it clear that the Honda CRF450 RALLY is a lethal weapon in the desert. The Spanish rider, starting out from third position, finished the first day’s 475 kilometre stint in second spot. Barreda continued to up the ante with an excellent performance on his maiden Nevada Desert adventure. The Team HRC rider then scorched through the 560 kilometres of dust on day two, holding the lead throughout the day and crossing the line with a 7’30” advantage over the nearest second-place rival.Frenchman Metge favoured less well after a heavy blow to the rear wheel in the first stage made handling difficult. In addition, the rider was sanctioned with a hefty 30 minute penalty for changing the wheel. In spite of having to start from back in twentieth position on Sunday, Metge fought back through the accumulation of dust on the track to take fifth spot on the day and sixth overall.
Team HRC have spent several weeks testing in the Californian desert under the auspices of Johnny Campbell and the JCR Team, who also offered assistance throughout the Vegas to Reno race. The American expressed his satisfaction at the way the team have worked: “We’ve worked really hard with the riders over the last few weeks, both myself and the guys from the JCR Team. We had a great time working with Joan and Mika and I hope to work with Team HRC to achieve the victory at the Dakar. I wish to thank Joan, Mika, all at Team HRC and the staff of JCR for a great job done in the Vegas to Reno 2016, achieving a great triumph for Team HRC. Many thanks also to Taichi Honda and Team HRC for placing their trust in Team JCR to help build a better programme to win the 2017 Rally Dakar”.
Interviews: Taichi Honda (Team HRC Rally Project Leader) - The Vegas to Reno has been a great event. Our riders have performed greatly throughout the race and it has been a good experience for the team. The difficult conditions of the race have been a good test for the CRF450 RALLY ahead of the next Dakar. I would like to thank all the fans, the team sponsors as well as American Honda and Johnny Campbell and the staff at JCR for all the help that they have given us.
Joan Barreda - I’m really happy with the race. It has been an experience where we have learnt a lot. We had a good time today with a really long special stage but without as much dust on the tracks as there was yesterday. I pushed really hard and am satisfied with the result. It was a really long special. Thanks to everyone who has helped us to gain this victory, for the support from the team and also from the fans who have supported us throughout.
Michael Metge - I think that my participation in the ‘Vegas to Reno’ went really well and has been very positive, not only for me, but for the whole team. I’m really pleased to have been able to finish this really long race which was hard because of all the build up of dust on the broken tracks and made it all quite dangerous. It was tough to come from behind and overtake the other riders. My aim was to finish the race, which I achieved and also to accumulate more kilometres of riding and roadbook experience. I’m also very happy for Joan. It has been a long test and it has finished really well.