Sara Jugla raced Dakar Rally 2021 for the first time- what an experience!

Sara Jugla raced Dakar Rally 2021 for the first time- what an experience!

Sara Jugla raced Dakar Rally 2021 for the first time fulfilling long-held goals of competing in the world’s most grueling Rally across 12 consecutive Stages. Having gained entry by racing and winning 2020 Andalucia Rally in Bike category, Sara knew all challenges that Dakar presented would amount to incredible race experience.

Sara Jugla Dakar Rally 2021 Photo Credit: ASO

And The Dakar Rally didn’t disappoint. Sara gained real insight on how tough the Rally would be through-out early Stages, testing the determined #102 rider over terrain which varied far more often than Sara was used to.

Sara: ‘I didn’t expect the race to be so technical. The physical and mental aspect was ok. The hardest part for me were the obstacles through-out the race. My physical fitness was put to the test from the first day and I had to keep mentally focused to get through the Stages day after day’.

Racing for Team Baines Rally the KTM 450cc rider encountered a number of ‘pick-bike-up’ situations making for long, hard days in early Stages. By Day 3, Sara welcomed support from Original by Motul rider Alexandre Bispo, together pushing each other to make it to the finish each day.

Sara: ‘Without Alexandre I wouldn’t have finished the first Special. I couldn’t stop falling on the rocky parts and each time he helped me pick up my bike. We finished together, exhausted but happy to have met each other. And the sentiments were the same for Alexandre: ‘We’re stronger together, as we can see better riding side-by-side. Sara: ‘At some parts where there were soft sand and dunes, we had to get off and push our bikes together, one after the other’.

Sara Jugla and Alexandre Bispo Dakar Rally 2021 Photo Credit: ASO

Such comradeship remains paramount within The Dakar Rally spirit, whereby competitors look out for each other, help and support riders and drivers where needed during and post racing. More poignant is fact that Alexandre himself has experienced more than most, as a teenager spending 2 years in hospital to overcome leukemia. To race Dakar, and share experience with fellow rider Sara Jugla, remains truly exceptional.

The mounting toll of racing consecutive Stages proved more challenging by the day, with depleting energy, loss of sleep putting paid to both Sara’s and Alexandre’s wish to complete Final Stage 12. At Stage 9, both riders had to make final call to withdraw- til next time.

For Sara, the decision was far from disheartening as the first-time Dakar rider had punched well above her weight for total of 9 days racing. Sara: ‘I was filled with great pride racing and finishing each day. With hindsight, I can say my whole race was a success, as I remember everything in a positive way’.

Most certainly, Sara’s Dakar Rally competition received due recognition for achieving such courageous undertaking in an Official ceremony held at her home province of la Ville de Lesparre-Medoc. Receiving a medal as acknowledgement of Sara’s achievement, bravery and dedication to race Dakar has certainly provided the tenacious French rider ‘food for thought’ to race Dakar again.

Words: Sharon Cox.

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