the argentinian motorcyclist kevin benavides (KTM), who had been the first South American to win the Dakar when he triumphed with Honda in 2021got his second crown this Sunday in Saudi Arabia, an achievement with suspense that he reached this time with the KTM team after a very hard fight until the final meter with the Australian Toby Price. Barely 43 seconds was the advantage achieved by the Argentine rider, who became the first to win the motorcycle category with two different brands.
Price had a 12-second advantage in the final stage, but Benavídes was able to come back: “It’s incredible to get the victory after this crazy Dakar and by such a small difference”, say the Argentine rider, born in Salta and with a luxurious baggage that shows him as three-time Latin American enduro champion in the junior, E2 and scratch categories, then Latin American E3 enduro champion in 2014, winner of the Dakar Series Desafío Guaraní in 2015, and now He has already won the Dakar twice on motorcycles, the first to do so with different brands. “I feel very proud” he said excitedly.
Benavídes had debuted on Dakar motorcycles in 2010, in the edition that was held between Argentina and Bolivia, with a spectacular fourth place.
In 2017, when he was already among the candidates for the final victory, he was unable to compete due to a broken hand 15 days after the race.
His progression continued and in 2018 he was second, fifth in 2019 and 19th in 2020, in a turbulent landing in the first edition held in Saudi Arabia due to an engine failure on day six and a penalty for changing it. In 2021 he finally won his title, which he repeats two years later after 2022 in which he was lost during the first stage, being relegated.
This year he showed experience and serenity. In even more complicated terrain due to the heavy rains, he preferred to build his victory behind those in charge of opening the slopes. The other factor that allowed him to win was the assist he gave to Matthias Walkner in the penultimate stage, recovering 23 minutes and sitting ideally 12 seconds behind Price before the final blow.
Easily recognized in the Dakar caravan by the platinum color of his hair, the rider trained on the slopes of the Andes Mountains has seven stage victories in six participations. A lover of water sports and cycling, Benavides quickly opted for motorbike, a discipline to which he pushed his little brother Luciano, 27, a very outstanding disciple, capable of winning three stages in this edition of the Dakar and signing the sixth place in the general classification.
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