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January 9th, 2024

The Countdown is on for the Start of the 2024 Dakar Rally

4th Jan 2024, Saudi Arabia: With the bonus of starting the Dakar Rally a little later this year on January 5th, the Monster Energy Honda Team riders convened at the enormous bivouac in Al Ula to get themselves prepared for this year’s adventure through the desert.

After a positive shakedown on Tuesday morning for all the riders on the new Honda CRF450 RALLY, attention turned today to administrative and technical checks as the final preparations got underway while the team also made time to celebrate team rider, Adrien Van Beveren’s birthday in the bivouac, ahead of his ninth Dakar Rally start.

With scrutineering checks passed for the entire team at this year’s opening round of the 2024 World Rally-Raid Championship, the Monster Energy Honda Team can now prepare themselves for the monumental task that lies ahead; two weeks of spectacular racing across Saudi Arabia.

With 179 riders in total, 23 of them in the RallyGP class, they’ll be ready for mountains, dunes and 1000s of kilometres of desolate desert as they tackle unfamiliar terrain aiming to be the fastest to the waypoints along each stage, of which there will be twelve across Saudi Arabia’s magnificent landscapes.

Action kicks off on 5th Jan 2024 with a prologue loop around AlUla which is a 28km test and a liaison of 130km with the results setting the starting order for stage one the following day. Organisers have promised that this opener will be pushing competitors to the limit from the get-go with sand, rocks and off-track sections on the menu, in what is a real test before the rally gets underway for the first big stage of 405 kms on January 6th.

Honda is no stranger to winning the world’s toughest rally, its first victory coming in 1982 at the hands of Frenchman Cyril Neveu who went onto win it again in 1986 and ’87, before Edi Orioli and Gilles Lalay took over the top step with the ever dominant NXR750 in the two years that followed when it was the original Paris-Dakar Rally in Africa.

Ricky Brabec added his name to the history books in 2020 and Kevin Benavides made it a second consecutive victory for Honda in 2021 as the Monster Energy Honda Team will now look to make a return to the victory circle with a strong rider line up.

The 2024 Dakar Rally is shaping up to be harder than the previous editions as the riders will not only endure 7,967 kilometres of riding across a prologue and 12 stages but it’ll also include the new ’48-hour chrono’ stage which will test the endurance of man and machine across the legendary Empty Quarter in Saudi Arabia.  There’ll be no communication with the outside world, no help from mechanics and entrants will have no idea where they are in relation to their fellow competitors when they bed down for the night at one of seven bivouacs dotted across stage six.  Plus it’ll hit at just the midpoint of the event, so although a rest day follows, there’ll be a further six days of action to go.

The fifth Dakar in the spectacular Saudi Arabian desert will see 60% of all-new sections on the stages as the route starts at the historical AlUla before winding across to the far Eastern town of Shubaytah before returning to the finish at the coastal town of Yanbu by the Red Sea after 14 days of rallying.  Expect plenty of stunning backdrops as the riders make their way through this epic adventure in a test of skill, speed and endurance.

In the words of the creator of the world’s most famous motorsport event, the late Thierry Sabine,“A challenge for those who go. A dream for those who stay behind” and this challenge will commence for the Monster Energy Honda riders on Friday 5th January 2024 and will culminate on 19th Jan 2024.


Ruben Faria,

We’ve been in Saudi Arabia for a week which has given the riders and team members a chance to acclimatise ahead of the toughest round on the 2024 calendar. With the final checks passed today the team is motivated and ready for the Dakar Rally, so now it’s time for the action to begin. A lot can happen over the next fifteen days, but our team is ready to fight for the victory!


Pablo Quintanilla

This is a special one as this is my twelfth Dakar, so I’m super motivated to start plus I feel really good and strong and, I am without injury and that’s important for this race. As always I will do my best with the goal to win. I will do everything to achieve this as the most important thing when you finish a rally is to feel like you gave 100% to fight for the victory.


Ricky Brabec

I’m looking forward to this edition of the Dakar as we will be going in through rocks and riding a bit more in the open desert so that’s good for as I feel like it’s my strong point on the motorcycle.It’s going to be a long 12 days with many new things out there with the 48h Chrono stage, fresh locations and the unknowing factor of the weather as things like this all play a factor. I’m really looking forward to getting to the finish of this Dakar as this is my ninth one, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed and keeping my hopes high for a good outcome.


Skyler Howes

I am pretty excited for the 2024 Dakar. The route looks really fun with some new challenges and looking at the differences in terrain with more broken rocks and stones, it looks like this year it’ll be very physically demanding which is good for me. I prefer to have a rally like this as it makes things more challenging with the navigation plus this makes for a good rally. I am feeling focused and confident so I’m excited to see what this Dakar can bring us with the new motorcycle.


Adrien Van Beveren

We compete in the World Rally-Raid Championship but the Dakar Rally is the one that everybody wants to win and that’s also my dream; my life is centred around this so I’m really happy to be here for another chance to go for victory.The new Honda CRF450 RALLY is amazing. I had some requests after the Morocco rally and the Monster Energy Honda Team and Japan have been working really hard for me that’s made me really happy with the modifications on my bike. I can’t wait to start.


Tosha Schareina

It’s very exciting as it’s my third Dakar and the first with the Monster Energy Honda Team. We know it’ll be a tough rally but it’s the first year I arrive with my homework done regarding navigation and bike training as having been able to do the World Rally-Raid Championship and having done extra kilometres of training in the desert, this has given me extra confidence to face the Dakar properly.


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