Sara Garcia takes 2nd podium at Baja Portalegre 500 Final Round

Sara Garcia takes 2nd podium at Baja Portalegre 500 Final Round

Sara Garcia gained 2nd Overall at Baja Portalegre 500 in Women’s category, bike class at the weekend. Having completed Baja du Pinhall Round One in 3rd position, the Final Round of the World Cup proved extra challenging for the Pont Grup Yamaha rider who managed to steer herself through wet, slippery terrain to take 2nd podium.

Sara Garcia taking 2nd place at Baja Portalegre Final Round of World Cup. Photo Credit: Sara.

With date for racing Dakar Rally 2021 inching closer, Sara took opportunity to race Baja Rounds 1 and 2 in Portugal as beneficial bike time, which has been cut short this year due to COVID-19 pandemic. And, as always, Sara rose to challenge of racing her Rally bike instead of lighter Enduro model, pushing the Spaniard to manage conditions ahead of Dakar start-date.

Sara: ‘I am very happy to have been able to win another new World Championship medal for Spain. In addition, I have been able to add kilometers and gain more confidence with the bike for Dakar next January’.

‘I knew it would penalize me to go with the rally bike since, with the weather forecasts that were available, it would be more difficult to go with a heavier bike. But I thought it would be more positive to add kilometers with the bike that I will use in the Dakar and I also managed to feel really comfortable riding with ‘la gorda’ .

After the prologue of 3,31kms on Friday, the second 75kms special stage began:

‘I had managed to reach a very good rhythm with the rally bike, overtaking about 5 or 6 riders. The terrain was very delicate due to the huge puddles and the incessant rain. I found my rhythm and was enjoying the route, until around the kilometer 60, in a river fording, my motorcycle stopped when I entered. It took too long to get going and I lost a valuable 10-15 minutes getting it out of the river and starting it. I ended the day at only 8 ’46’ ‘from first place’.

Sara Garcia Baja du Pinhall Round One Photo Credit: Baja du Pinhall.

Saturday’s 304 kms special was shortened to only 79kms due to heavy rain on the route. This threw curve ball as Sara had mentally prepared race strategy over scheduled distance.

I was psyched up for a long special, and in so many kilometers I had the chance to cut the few minutes that separated me from first place. But with the new mileage, it was very difficult.  I won the third special but was unable to cut back time difference  and completed Round 2 in 2nd place’. 

Dakar Rally 2021 January 3-15th Saudi Arabia.

Words: Sharon Cox.

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