Monster Energy Honda Team competitor Ricky Brabec’s Facebook post after winning the penultimate and longest stage of the 2022 Rallye Du Maroc:
“We’ve definitely got a target on our back now. One stage to go and we’re exactly where we want to be and right where we don’t want to be ha ha ha. Today was the longest special of the rally and we knew that it had to be this day to make moves. Happy for the outcome but now let’s see how we hold on to it for the final day, team never gives up.”
Thursday will mark the final stage of the prestigious Rallye du Maroc and 2020 Dakar Rally winner Brabec is right where he wants to be: A fiercely fought rally boasting many of the world’s elite riders, teams and motorcycles, it all now comes down to a fierce dash across burning sand.
Q: How is it competing in a world-class rally like this? You’re battling it out with other brilliant riders through a desert 3.63 million square miles in size….
RICKY BRABEC: I mean, it really is an adventure. It’s pretty wild to be this far across the world racing a dirt bike, but it’s pretty crazy because you guys are eight hours behind in California and I feel like I’m living in a different world over here, you know? We’re so far ahead on time and I’m doing my daily routine with the team as you guys are sleeping. When you guys wake up and we’re sleeping. I feel like we’re basically a half a day ahead of you guys, but it feels like we’re just in a different universe over here, so that’s pretty cool.
Q: And not only are you racing along at high speeds, but you also have to figure out where in the world you’re going…
RB: Yeah, I mean in life, in general, you’ve got to figure out where you’re going, but the style of racing here is reading road books and reading terrain and trying to figure out where in the heck you’re going at all times, so going back to the culture of this style of racing, it’s a good time. And competing on the other side of the world is really a neat thing and it’s really cool where a dirt bike can take you.
Q: And there is a sort of camaraderie and brotherhood amongst the racers you compete against in these events, isn’t there?
RB: Yeah, I mean you catch up with some riders and if someone makes a mistake, the other rider will help out and help figure out the directions to get to the right waypoints. Sometimes if it’s a different team, they kind of don’t want help, but at the end of the day, we all have to help each other because we are out here in the middle of nowhere racing where it’s not easy to get help, you know? We’re in the middle of Africa and we don’t really know exactly where we are at the entire time, so if something happens, how do you explain to someone where you are at.
Q: You won today’s stage with a four minute advantage over the second place finisher. You appear to be in great shape in the twilight stage of this rally. How do you feel about everything going into tomorrow’s final stage?
RB: I’m in good shape right now. Tomorrow we have to open the stage, so there is definitely a target on our back because we have to open a stage that people can follow tomorrow and it is very easy to lose a little bit of time. Happy to get going and to see where we end up. Fingers crossed that we still make it to the podium and have a good day and end up on a good note. Like I said, with one day left anything can happen, but we are just going to play it smart and safe and make it to the finish line.
Tomorrow it looks like we’re going to have two special stages going from Tan Tan all the way to Agadir and the pace is going to vary. There is going to be rocks and there is going to be sand and there will be fast tracks. We’re even going to race on the beach. The navigation portion can be tricky when you’re trying to race along at 100mph and read the road map and figure out what road to take and what sand wash to turn on and where the dangers are.
It’s things like that. It’s not just riding your dirt bike down the coast on the PCH and enjoying a beautiful day. It’s dodging ditches and it’s dodging camels and it’s dodging people and fisherman and rocks. You’re dodging everything out there, you know? You just try to be as safe as you can and race. In fact, tomorrow we heard that we’re going to be riding down the beach for about 40 miles just wide open on sand. That’ll be pretty cool. And dude, I would say the top speed of our bike the other day was 115mph. It’s scary when you don’t have no cage or seatbelt.