Yesterday KTM Australia’s Ben Grabham suffered a heavy crash in the fourth stage of the Dakar Rally between San Juan and Chilecito, ruling him out of a promising Dakar campaign in which he had run as high as ninth overall after finishing sixth in the second stage of the event.
Due to a heavy head knock he wasn’t available for comment immediately after his retirement from the event, but the champion racer has subsequently surfaced to add a little more detail to the incident.
And although he’s completely devastated by the fact that he will not be riding across the finish line in Chile as a Dakar finisher this year, the three-time Finke Desert Race winner showed he still hasn’t lost his sense of humour.
Ben Grabham: “I’m a bit sore and sorry for myself as I started in 79th place yesterday and the dust was so bad that even though I was trying to take it easy I clipped a rock on top of a mountain and ended up going over a pretty big drop. The bike and I tumbled close to 100 metres down the mountain. I’m pretty sore all over but lucky not to have done worse. My head was knocked a bit silly for the day and the bike was not coming out of where it was without a chopper to lift it out. It took me an 8-hour taxi ride over the mountains to catch back up with the team.
I didn’t know where I was and neither did anyone else for about 7 hours – and to make matters worse, no one around me could speak any English, my phone was flat and I was starting to think I was going to have to live there until I learned how to speak Spanish!”
Three-time winner Marc Coma (KTM) won the fifth stage of the event from Jordi Viladoms (KTM) and Helder Rodrigues (Honda).
Coma now leads the event by 41 minutes over the Honda of Joan Barreda Bort and the KTM of Francisco Lopez Contardo.
For more information on KTM motorcycles visit www.ktm.com.au or www.facebook.com/KTMAustralia
2014 Dakar Rally overall rankings after Stage 5:
1. M. COMA (ESP) KTM 18:45:11
2. J. BARREDA BORT (ESP) HONDA 19:26:21 00:41:10
3. F. LOPEZ CONTARDO (CHL) KTM 19:38:52 00:53:41
4. J. VILADOMS (ESP) KTM 19:44:09 00:58:58
5. A. DUCLOS (FRA) SHERCO 19:47:24 01:02:13
6. J. ISRAEL ESQUERRE (CHL) SPEEDBRAIN 20:08:41 01:23:30
7. O. PAIN (FRA) YAMAHA 20:12:33 01:27:22 00:15:00
8. K. PRZYGONSKI (POL) KTM 20:28:13 01:43:029. D. CASTEU (FRA) KTM 20:37:52 01:52:41
10. H. RODRIGUES (PRT) HONDA 20:43:29 01:58:18