Dutch rider Edwin Straver dies a week after Dakar fall
The 48-year-old is the second rider to die as a result of a fall in this year’s gruelling event
Dutch motorcycle rider Edwin Straver has died after crashing on the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia last week.
The 48-year-old is the second rider to die due to a fall in this year’s gruelling event, held for the first time in the Middle East.
Portuguese rider Paulo Goncalves died after a crash in the seventh stage. Goncalves, 40, was the first competitor to die in the endurance event since Polish motorcycle rider Michal Hernik in Argentina in 2015.
RTL and regional public broadcaster Omroep Brabant said Straver died on January 24 from injuries suffered during the 11th and penultimate stage over desert dunes from Shubaytah to Haradh on January 16.
According to media reports, Straver broke one of his upper neck vertebrae during the fall and had no heartbeat for 10 minutes before being resuscitated.
He was flown by helicopter to Riyadh before being transferred in a coma to the Netherlands this week. Straver had been competing in his third Dakar on a privately entered KTM in a category without assistance crews but basic resources provided by organisers.
The Dakar Rally, originally conceived as a race from Paris to the Senegalese capital in West Africa, has claimed dozens of lives — many of them non-competitors — since it started in 1978.
Hyundai wins Monte Carlo Rally
Belgian Thierry Neuville won the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally for Hyundai on Sunday and ended Sebastien Ogier’s bid for a record eighth victory and seventh consecutive one in the principality.
Neuville finished the final power stage 12.6 seconds clear of six-times world champion Ogier, who ended up 1.7 seconds ahead of his third-placed team mate, Elfyn Evans, on their Toyota debuts.
It was Hyundai’s and Neuville’s first win in Monte Carlo, with the Belgian missing out by 2.2 seconds last year when Ogier won for Citroën.
“The target was to win this rally and take revenge and it feels good right now,” he said. “Monte Carlo is one of the most historic events that every WRC driver wants to win at least once, and we’ve done it.”
Welshman Evans had led overnight, with the top three separated by just 6.4 seconds, but Neuville won all four of Sunday’s slippery asphalt stages in the French Alps to go from third to first. Neuville won nine of the 16 stages in total.
M-Sport Ford’s Finnish driver, Teemu Suninen, took three bonus points for third in the stage, Evans two for fourth and M-Sport’s Esapekka Lappi one for fifth. Lappi ended the rally fourth overall, ahead of Toyota’s Kalle Rovanpera and nine-times world champion Sebastien Loeb in sixth for Hyundai.
Estonia’s world champion, Ott Tanak, who switched from Toyota to Hyundai at the end of last season, crashed out of the rally on Friday.
Champions Hyundai lead Toyota by two points in the overall manufacturers’ standings. The next round is in Sweden on February 13-16.
Zwartkops to host Passion for Speed event this weekend
Pretoria’s Zwartkops Raceway hosts its 19th annual Passion for Speed racing event this weekend.
On the Saturday bill are the cars, with motorcycles entertaining the two-wheeled fans on Sunday.
One of the most anticipated Saturday races is the Historic Grand Prix cars, which include an iconic 1950s Maserati 250F that’s said to be the most valuable racing car yet to race on local soil.
Greats of the 9 Hour such as the Porsche 917 and Ford GT40 will feature in the Castrol Pre 66/68 Le Mans Sports & GT 45-minute race. Another exciting category is the International Sports Racing Prototypes, including the Group 5 modified production cars and the GT racers of the early 1970s.
The Race of Champions will feature iconic production cars such as the Ford Galaxie and Mustang challenging the Chev Novas, Chevelles, Lotus Cortinas, BMWs, Volvos, and Alfa Romeos.
Apart from the oldies from the so-called golden era of motorsport, there will also be modern speedsters in action in the form of the Mobil1 V8 Supercars, Bridgestone BMW Car Club Series, and G&H Transport Extreme Supercars.
On Sunday it’s the turn of the two-wheelers with national 1,000cc and 600cc superbikes, the Red Square Kawasaki ZX10 R Masters, and Bridgestone Superbikes in action, among others.
The family-focused event will include drifting demonstrations, car club displays and children’s entertainment. A weekend ticket is R240 for adults, R160 for students, and free for children under 12. More information is at www.zwartkops.co.za.