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Indian rider Aishwarya Pissay finishes fifth in Spain Baja

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Aishwarya Pissay during the Baja Aragnon race in Spain.

Aragnon (Spain): India’s Aishwarya Pissay (Team Sherco TVS) finished fifth in the women’s category and 24th Overall in the Baja Aragnon, the penultimate round of the FIM Bajas World Cup, here on Sunday.

Bengaluru-based Aishwarya picked up 11 points after completing the 827kms-long course. It helped her maintain the top position on the women’s World Cup leaderboard.

Going into the final round in Hungary (Aug 10-11), the 23-year old Indian enjoys a seven-point lead over Portugal’s Rita Vieira (45 points) with Spaniard Sara Garcia Alvarez (36) in third spot. Aishwarya is also placed second in the junior category, trailing Chilean Tomas de Gavardo by 19 points.

“Baja Aragnon was the scene of my big crash last year that put me out of action for over six months. So, I was determined to shrug off those bitter memories and complete the course, which I did. It was a very technical course and I lost lot of time in the process. I definitely need to train more in order to get faster in the technical sections. But I’m happy of my progress from last year and crossing finish line on a strong note.

“More importantly, I managed to maintain my lead in the World Cup standings. To prepare for the last round in Hungary, I am staying back in Spain for training so that I can perform better and win the World Cup,” said Aishwarya.

Bike Rally

Hero MotoSports ride on Mena’s heroics to secure top-10 finish in Silkway Rally

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Dunhuang, China: Hero MotoSports Team Rally continued their impressive run this season with yet another consistent performance at an international rally. The team concluded its campaign in the Silk Way Rally 2019 with a top-10 finish in the overall rankings.

Oriol Mena finished at the sixth position, adding to his notable performances this season. While Paulo Goncalves, the team’s second rider, finished at the 15th position, in his first race for Hero MotoSports.

Mena was at his consistent best during the entire rally successfully finishing all the stages. He also achieved three stage podiums, including the team’s maiden Stage win on the World Championship stage. His evolution as a rally rider over the past couple of years is a very positive sign for the team.

Paulo Goncalves had a very impressive and strong first race with Hero MotoSports, as he raked in four stage podiums in the 10 stage rally. It was a clinical performance by him and an unfortunate mechanical failure in stage six denied him an even better result.

Overall, it was a hugely positive outing for Hero MotoSports. The team stepped up their game, both in terms of skills and competitiveness and achieved six stage podiums and a stage win during the rally.

The Silk Way Rally 2019 came to a grand finish in the Chinese city of Dunhuang with the conclusion of Stage 10, which took the riders on a final run of 556 kms including the final 255 kms of special section.

This rally has been a great addition to the cross-country rally sport, for not just the high level of competitiveness it presented but also for the good organisation and new terrains it offered.

Paulo Goncalves (Comp No: 4) said: “I am so happy to finish the Silkway Rally 2019. It has been a good rally for me as I secured 4 stage podiums. It was a really long and tough rally running over 5000 kms, so I tried to push hard and increase my speed with every stage. Especially in China I did really well in the tough stages. For me the important thing was to get my first race experience with my team Hero MotoSports. So, thanks to the entire team for this opportunity and giving me fantastic support throughout the rally. I am confident that with this bike and team, it is possible to fight for the top positions in the upcoming rallies.”

Oriol Mena (Comp No: 25) said:  “I am really happy with to finish the 2019 Silk Way Rally, especially because I won one stage for the team. I finished sixth overall and very happy with this result. Congratulations also to my teammate Paulo for a great first race with the team. Many thanks to my teammates for doing a great job during the rally. My thanks to the entire Hero family for their support and encouragement to us. I have learnt a lot in this race and now I take this experience and go back to my training for the next races.”

Wolfgang Fischer, team manager, Hero MotoSports Team Rally: “We are very happy to have both the riders finishing safely in this new big adventure in the far-east. The Silk Way Rally turned out to be a fantastic race through the magnificent landscapes of Russia, Mongolia and China and opened a new horizon in the cross country rally sport. For Hero MotoSports Team Rally, it was a big step up in competitiveness, collecting six stage podiums and a maiden stage win. Paulo showed his world class pace and experience in two of the most difficult stages in China, but lost out in the overall results due to a technical issue in stage six. It was really high level of competition in the rally as evident from stage wins for all five factory teams, so all in all a very good race. My compliments to both the riders and thanks to my ever professional and efficient team mates.”

Provisional Rankings of the Stage 10

1. Kevin Benavides                Monster Energy Honda                              02h 40m 49s
2. Adrien Van Beveren         Yamaha Rally Team                                    +01m 50s
3. Andrew Short                    Rockstar Energy Husqvarna                      +02m 02s
7. Paulo Goncalves               Hero MotoSports                                          +05m 36s
9. Oriol Mena                        Hero MotoSports                                          +07m 34s

Overall Rankings at the end of the Stage 10

1. Sam Sunderland                 Red Bull KTM                                                 26h 12m 47s
2. Andrew Short                     Rockstar Energy Husqvarna                      +20m 22s
3. Adrien Van Beveren          Yamaha Rally Team                                     +21m 01s
6. Oriol Mena                          Hero MotoSports                                         +51m 50s
15.  Paulo Goncalves              Hero MotoSports                                         +27h 06m 07s

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

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

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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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