There is no denying to the fact that the Dakar Rally is indeed the toughest rally in the world. Riders and drivers have to pace through thousands of kilometres and the terrain? We all have seen how gruelling it gets. It is so tough that it is considered an incredible feat even when a rider manages to make it to the finish line. The last few years have witnessed Indian riders making their mark in the Dakar but this year was a little more special than the last seasons.
Kerala-based rider Harith Noah managed to finish 20th overall after an incredible run through 12 stages, which is also the highest-ranking for any Indian rider in Dakar so far!
He was also the only Indian to complete the 2021 Dakar Rally as he crossed the finish line at the end of Stage 12. Noah entered the rally as a privateer supported by Sherco Racing while TVS Racing backed the rider after withdrawing from Dakar at the last minute. The 2021 Dakar rally has been full of twists and turns, whether it is Ashish Raorane’s maiden Malle Moto attempt coming to an abrupt end (and his subsequent entry into the Dakar Experience class), or C S Santosh’s crash, due to which the Hero MotoSports Team Rally rider is still in critical condition. Therefore, this marvellous finish to Harith’s second Dakar outing, is exactly the element that Indian motorsport enthusiasts crave!
Noah was riding for the Sherco Factory team, a French manufacturer with which TVS partnered to take on the Dakar Rally as well as other rallies from 2015 to 2020. TVS’s shock announcement of the end of that partnership thankfully did not affect Noah as they continued to sponsor him. Noah managed to remain consistent all throughout the journey while all the other riders kept crashing out. His grit and determination is an absolute testament the riding talent in India if it can be caught early enough, even though Noah himself didn’t exactly get the kind of early start in motocross or enduro that the world’s top riders get.