A privateer rider from Utah is now leading the motorcycle class at Dakar. He doesn’t have a huge factory backing from the manufacturers but does receive some support from KTM and other sponsors. Howes took over the overall lead after Stage 3. Howes quickly moved up the standings after a 4th place finish. “Honestly, I’m just having a lot of fun and I am feeling comfortable on the bike. After all, just a dude from Utah riding a dirt bike in Saudi Arabia, gotta have fun with it,” says Howes. Toby Price was the winner of Stage 3. Defending champion Ricky Brabec currently sits 13th in the standings and has a lot of work ahead of him if he is to repeat a win.
Things are bittersweet in the SSV class. Polaris factory driver Kristen Matlock lost a large amount of time making repairs in the dunes. Unfortunately, she had to withdraw from the SSV class. The Dakar Experience class allows her to continue on to finish the event. Husband Wayne Matlock is still in the rally running 20th overall. Seth Quintero and the Red Bull Junior team took a stage 2 win in the lightweight vehicle class.
Meantime in the car class, Nasser Al-Attiyah, Carlos Sainz and Stephane Peterhansel all continue to battle. Al-Attiyah claimed a stage 3 win. Peterhansel leads the overall rankings for the X-Raid mini team.