Indian manufacturers leaving a mark in International motorsport events seemed like a distant dream a few years back but the current scenario indicates that some key players like TVS and Hero MotoCorp are doing pretty well in events like the Dakar Rally. And now, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, the motorsport team of Hero MotoCorp, has further augmented the team’s profile with the appointment of Argentine Franco Caimi as its fourth rider.
Franco brings the best of varied racing with him – a rich experience of enduro racing and promising performances in the rally racing world.
In 2004, Franco became the youngest rider in enduro history to win a Gold Medal at the age of 16. One of the most successful riders ever from South America, Franco has won two Latin American championships, three national championships each in Argentina and Chile and a staggering six gold medals at the prestigious International Six Days Enduro. In 2017, Franco moved to the rally racing arena where he clinched the title of Rookie of the Year with an eighth-place finish at the Dakar Rally. With speed and consistency as his forte, he matched his debut year result at the 2020 Dakar.
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the Team is set to commence its Road to Dakar 2022 with the upcoming Andalucia Rally scheduled from May 11-16, 2021 at Villamartin, Spain. This will also be the first outing for Franco in Hero MotoSports colors. Hero MotoSports Team Rally kicked-off the year 2021 with an impressive performance at the Dakar Rally with two of its riders – Joaquim Rodrigues and Sebastian Buhler posting their best-ever Dakar standings finishing at the 11th and 14th positions respectively.
The Team’s campaign in 2020 was disrupted by the Covid-19 enforced restrictions, providing little opportunities for training and development through the year. However, making the most of the limited opportunities the team managed to quickly regroup and spent valuable time in training and developing their new bike in Portugal and Spain. As the motor sports activities gradually resumed across the globe, they had two very productive and successful outings in the Andalucia Rally and the BAJA Portalegre, winning the latter, with Sebastian Buhler and Joaquim Rodrigues securing the 1st and the 2nd place respectively. With this win, Sebastian was crowned the winner of the FIM BAJA World Cup, giving Hero MotoSports Team Rally their first BAJA World Cup win.
Wolfgang Fischer, Team Manager, Hero MotoSports Team Rally said, “We are excited to kick-off the Road to Dakar 2022 campaign with a strong addition to our team. Within a short span of time, Hero MotoSports Team Rally has created a differentiated position for itself and we are glad to appeal to talented riders like Franco. It is definitely a big boost for us. I am confident that Franco’s rich experience and consistent record at Dakar will help us in going a notch up in our preparedness and competitiveness. Currently, we are prepping-up for the Andalucia Rally and are extremely excited to have Franco represent the Team. We wish him good luck for a successful journey with Hero Motosports Team Rally.”
Franco Caimi, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rally said, “It’s an honor for me to be associated with Hero MotoCorp, which has a rich heritage and has achieved great significance in the rally sport. I am extremely thrilled to join the team and thank them for bestowing their faith in my abilities. The team has been delivering impressive performance over the years and I look forward to riding alongside some of the best and promising riders in the sport. It’s a crucial time for the team currently as we train and prepare for the upcoming race. I have already had a very productive training session with Joaquim and Sebastian and now looking forward to competitive racing.”