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Bike Rally

Hero rider Goncalves impresses in opening stage of Silkway Rally



Hero MotoSports rider Paulo Goncalves finished sixth after the opening stage of the Silkway Rally.

Irkutsk, Russia: Hero MotoSports Team Rally has made an impressive debut at the ninth edition of the Silkway Rally. Led by its newest Rider, former world cross country champion and the Dakar Runner-up in 2015, Paulo Goncalves, who finished Stage 1 of the Rally in sixth position.

Closely following him was the team’s second rider, ‘Best Rookie of Dakar 2018’ and two time top-10 finisher of the Dakar, Oriol Mena, who finished the stage in 10th position.

The Hero MotoSports Team Rally has come to the Silkway Rally on the back of a solid training program and strong performances in the new season, including podium finishes at the Mezouga Rally in Morocco and Desert Storm Rally in India.

The much-awaited debut of Paulo Goncales in the Hero MotoSports Team Rally colours, happened on Saturday as Paulo and Oriol rolled off the inaugural podium of the Rally, amidst the festivities and cheer in the town of Irkutsk.

Stage 1 on Sunday, took the competitors from Irkutsk and put them to the test on first special stage of 51kms of technical tracks alongside the shores of Lake Baikal to reach the first rally bivouac at Baykalsk. The total stage distance covered was 255 km including the two-liaison stage making up the 201 kms. Stage 2 on Monday will give the first taste of the rally to the competitors with a long day of riding covering 413 kms from Baykalsk to the Ulan Ude bivouac.

Hero MotoSports Team Rally rider Oriol Mena

The Silkway Rally 2019, touted as one of the most large-scale cross-country rallies in the world and the largest in the FIM calendar of events, opened its doors to the bike category for the very first time and also became one of the key rounds of FIM Cross Country Rally World Championship.

Starting on July 6 from Irkutsk (Russia), it’s a unique 2700km adventure, divided into ten varied and technical stages with a start in east Siberia, the crossing of Mongolia from North to South and the famous Gobi desert and its ocean of dunes, to judge the finish, on July 16 in Dunhuang (China).

Commenting on the performance, Hero MotoSports team manager Wolfgang Fischer said: “This is a new and exciting adventure for the rally lovers across the world and all the competitors. For us, this is an important rally as we present Paulo Goncalves to the Rally world for the first time as a part of Hero MotoSports Team Rally. As this is a long race, and the terrains, climate and tracks are completely new to us, our aim will be to bring both the bikes and the riders safely across the finish line.”

On his display, Paulo Goncalves said: “I am very excited on making my debut in the Silkway Rally with Hero MotoSports Team Rally. I am happy with the preparations we have made and how the team has bonded so well during the training sessions and feel there’s a great positive energy within the team. I got a good feeling out there today and I am really happy with my Hero 450 RR. It was a short stage with just about 51 kms to be done on the clock, but it was a bit tricky as the ground was slippery due to overnight rains. So, I rode fast enough to avoid unnecessary risks and happy to see the back of the first stage. Looking forward to the next one.”

Further, Oriol Mena said: “I have had a good season so far and good preparations with the team. For me this race, like every race is about getting more experience, learning and improving my skills. It is a great opportunity for me to be racing alongside Paulo and learn from him. Happy to finish the first stage of the rally. I rode well today, with a good feeling on the bike. The piste was full muddy and slushy with water holes and some stones as well. It’s just the start of the rally so I did not want to take any risks. I am happy for myself and Paulo that we made a good start for the team today.”

Provisional Rankings after Stage 1

1.      Kevin Benavides            Monster Energy Honda          30m 51s

2.      Luciano Benavides       Red Bull KTM                           +36s

3.      Xavier De Soultrait      Yamaha Rally Team                 +51s

6.      Paulo Goncalves          Hero MotoSports                      +01m 36s

10.    Oriol Mena                   Hero MotoSports                      +03m 31s

Bike Rally

Goncalves helps Hero MotoSports finish Stage 9 of Silkway Rally in second position



Jiayuguan, China: Hero MotoSports Team Rally rider Paulo Goncalves delivered yet another class act in the most challenging off-piste stage of the Silkway Rally 2019, to finish in second place. The ninth stage of the rally concluded with another strong run for both team riders, as they made it to the finish line safely.

Finishing just 43 seconds behind the stage winner, Paulo showed yet again why he is considered as amongst the best in the world of rally racing. This was the sixth time stage podium finish for the team in the rally.

Team’s second rider, Oriol Mena, continued to work his way up the rankings steadily and consistently with yet another solid stage under his belt. He finished the stage at ninth position and is now placed at sixth position in the overall rankings.

The ninth stage took competitors for a 501 km run, out of which 290 kms made up the special stage for the day. The stage offered a fast and beautiful route, mostly set along sandy roads, only to turn a bit slower in the later half as bumps and dunettes mixed with dry riverbeds made life more challenging for the riders. The last few kilometres set up the competitors for a fast dash to the finish line to reach the Jiagyuguan bivouac, marking the end of the penultimate stage of the Silkway Rally 2019.

Paulo Goncalves (Comp No: 4) expressed his excitement saying: “It was a beautiful stage today with lot of dunes and sand tracks. I felt really good during the stage and the bike worked perfectly as well. I finished just 43 sec behind the stage winner so it is a really good outcome for the team. I pushed myself hard today to improve my timing and speed. Now only one more day left in the Silkway Rally and I hope everything goes well tomorrow to finish my first rally with Hero MotoSports Team Rally.”

Oriol Mena (Comp No: 25) said: “It was a difficult stage towards the end with some really dangerous piste. I brought the bike to the finish stage safely for the team so I am really happy with that. I am feeling quite good and confident about my riding and looking forward to finishing the rally tomorrow.”

Provisional Rankings of the Stage 9

1.  Andrew Short                        Rockstar Energy Husqvarna         03h 52m 28s
2. Paulo Goncalves                    Hero MotoSports                            +43s
3. Adrien Van Beveren             Yamaha Rally Team                        +01m 45s
4. Sam Sunderland                   RedBull KTM                                    +04m 19s
9. Oriol Mena                             Hero MotoSports                             +20m 51s

Overall Rankings at the end of the Stage 9

1. Sam Sunderland                     RedBull KTM                                   23h 27m 27s
2. Andrew Short                          Rockstar Energy Husqvarna        +22m 51s
3. Adrien Van Beveren              Yamaha Rally Team                        +23m 42s
6. Oriol Mena                              Hero MotoSports                            +48m 47s
16. Paulo Goncalves                   Hero MotoSports                            +50h 32m 29s

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Bike Rally

Mena scripts first-ever stage victory for Hero MotoSports in the FIM World Championship



Dalanzadgad, Mongolia: The sixth stage of the Silkway Rally 2019 proved to be a special one for Hero MotoSports Team Rally, as the team achieved its first ever stage victory in the FIM World Championship. Rider Oriol Mena claimed the win and consequently reached the second position in the overall rankings.

Hero MotoSports team has continued its impressive this season and is looking at yet another notable finish, close on the heels of its podium finish at the Merzouga Rally.

The sixth stage of the Silkway Rally threw everything at the riders during the stage—from rain, thunderstorm, lightning to searing heat. Oriol, however, successfully tackled the weather gods on a superfast stage on wide steppe roads. This was the last run for the riders in the Mongolian terrains before moving to China.

For the second team rider, Paulo Goncalves, it was not the day he wanted, as he had to forfeit the stage due to a technical snag in the motorcycle. Overall, a day of mixed fortunes for the team, as it needs to work towards getting Paulo back into the race in the last three stages in China.

An excited Oriol Mena later said: “I am super happy to win the first-ever stage the team. Now I am in the second position in the overall rankings, which is amazing. I am keeping my fingers crossed and my focus on maintaining the same performance for the last three stages as well.”

Paulo Goncalves said: “Not a good end to my Mongolian leg as I could not finish today’s stage due to a mechanical issue with my bike. But these kinds of things happen in rally so it’s ok and I am looking ahead now to the three days of racing in China. I will try to make the best of the remaining stages and achieve a good finish for the team.”

Provisional Rankings of the Stage 6

1. Oriol Mena                     Hero MotoSports                            04h 28m 32s

2. Adam Tomiczek           Orlen Racing                                   +16s

3. Joan Barreda                Monster Energy Honda               +03m 03s

4. Sam Sunderland          RedBull KTM                                  +04m 52s

5. Laia Sanz                       RedBull KTM                                  +05m 09s

*DNF (Did Not Finish) – Paulo Goncalves of Hero MotoSports

Overall Rankings at the end of the Stage 6

1. Sam Sunderland          RedBull KTM                                   15h 02m 50s

2. Oriol Mena                   Hero MotoSports                           +21m 10s

3. Luciano Benavides     RedBull KTM                                   +23m 17s

4. Andrew Short               Rockstar Energy Husqvarna       +26m 59s

5. Franco Caimi                Yamaha Rally Team                      +30m 19s

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Bike Rally

Mena, Goncalves finish on the podium in Stage 2 of Silkway Rally



New Delhi: Hero MotoSports Team Rally riders continued their good performance at the Silkway Rally 2019, with a fantastic run today to tame Stage 2 with great authority, breaching the top three rankings.

Oriol Mena in particular was on a roll today, relentlessly pushing ahead to catch several riders ahead of him. His performance resulted in a second-place finish for him, enabling him to climb up to sixth position in the overall rankings. Paulo Goncalves was not the one to be left behind, as he too, made a blazing run to get another solid stage under his belt. With a third-place finish today, he moved up by a few of places to third place in the overall rankings, breaking into the top three early in the rally.

The first in the series of long stages of the Silkway Rally covering 411.5 kms including a special stage of 212kms was held from Baykalsk to Ulan-ude.

The stage offered fast navigation in a diverse set of landscapes to the competitors, starting with a stony broken road section filled with water holes, then following it up with an endure style special section passing through the forest, river bridges, Siberian hills ending in a fast dash to the finish line across steppe plateaus.

Paulo Goncalves (Comp No: 4):”It was a good stage for me today. There were a lot of stones and water fills in the beginning but 90% of the stage was in the forest terrain. Towards the end it became a bit slippery but the bike handled superbly. It’s just the beginning of the rally so my focus is on closing all the stages in the same way for the rest of the rally.”

Oriol Mena (Comp No: 25): “I rode really well today and am quite happy with the results. It was a fast stage today with muddy holes to start with. I rode carefully in this section to avoid any crashes. After about a 100kms the terrain changed into a fast piste and hard ground. Finally after 150 kms of eating a lot of dust at the back of the lead pack, I pushed hard and managed to overtake the rider in front of me.  I am feeling good on the bike and quite confident, so happy to see the back of one more day.”

Provisional Rankings of the Stage 2

  1. Sam Sunderland              Redbull KTM                                   02h 20m 30s
  2. Oriol Mena                       Hero MotoSports                           +39s
  3. Paulo Goncalves             Hero MotoSports                            +50s
  4. Kevin Benavides              Monster Energy Honda                +01m 07s
  5. Joan Barreda                   Monster Energy Honda                 +02m 40s


Overall Rankings at the end of the Stage 2

  1. Kevin Benavides              Monster Energy Honda                  02h 52m 28s
  2. Sam Sunderland              Red Bull KTM                                  +08s
  3. Paulo Goncalves             Hero MotoSports                             +01m 19s
  4. Luciano Benavides         Redbull KTM                                    +02m 25s
  5. Joan Barreda                   Monster Energy Honda                 +02m 39s
  6. Oriol Mena                       Hero MotoSports                            +03m 03s

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