After Michael Metge won stage 9 for the Sherco TVS Rally Factory team, it was another day of joy for the Men in Yellow and Blue. Their steady racehorse – Aravind KP successfully completed the 2019 edition of Dakar. This was KP’s third appearance at the Dakar and this successful attempt to finish the gruesome rally has brought glory to the team, the country, and motorsport fans across India.
The 2019 event has been touted as one of the toughest editions in the history of the Dakar Rally, where only 55% of the bikes completed the event this year. The 11-day rally saw riders battle with fesh-fesh, sand dunes, beaches and rocks with complex navigation at every stage. After a steady start in the early stages, Aravind KP picked up his pace in the second half of the rally and climbed up the rankings. Despite a few crashes during the intermediate stages, he fought hard and got to the finish line. KP faced a tricky situation in the penultimate stage of Dakar when his bike broke down in the sand dunes. He sought help from some spectators and reached the finish line defying all odds.
Commenting on his achievement, Aravind KP says, “The feeling of finishing Dakar is yet to sink in fully as I have been dreaming and waiting for this moment for 3 years now. It’s difficult to express my feelings at the moment but I am overjoyed to be at the finish line. With multiple injuries in the run-up to Dakar, I always knew I had to push myself beyond the comfort zone to finish the rally. The route this year was extremely challenging but I was ready to fight it out and finish one stage at a time. I would like to thank my team especially my mechanic Prakasham for ensuring my motorcycle was in the best shape at the beginning of every stage. I am also grateful to my mentors at TVS Racing and Sherco for believing in my dream and supporting me all along. Dreams do come true if you truly believe in them. I hope my achievement inspires young Indian riders to chase their Dakar dreams and work hard to put India on the world motorsport map.”
“KP’s teammates – Michael Metge and Adrien Metge finished the rally at the 25th and 22nd positions respectively. Michael had a good start at the rally but had a setback on the second day due to fuel outage. He picked up the pace in the next stages and broke into top 15 in the third stage. On the other hand, his brother Adrien strived hard and picked up the pace in the first two stages but an unfortunate fall in the third stage left him with a sore wrist. His bike fell in the seventh stage and the navigation system got damaged but he continued his journey to finish the rally.
A Dakar rookie – Lorenzo Santolino was the fastest rider of the team this year and broke into top 10 in the third stage. Unfortunately, he had to exit the rally in the sixth stage due to a heavy crash. He is currently recovering from his injuries and will soon be preparing for next year’s race.
On the team’s performance this year, B. Selvaraj, Team Manager, TVS Racing said, “I would like to congratulate all the racers and the team for their outstanding performance at the rally this year. With each passing day at the rally, the level of difficulty shot up manifold and so did our determination. Aravind KP is a talented rider and has a razor-sharp focus on his goal and that’s precisely the reason why we chose him to represent us at Dakar. At TVS Racing, we spend a lot of time with the racers to identify their potential and strive to give them every opportunity to prove their mettle. We believe success doesn’t come to anyone overnight, it is an ongoing journey and one might have to overcome many obstacles before achieving glory. It is a red letter day in the history of TVS Racing and we are honoured to be a part of this success story.”