TVS Racing Factory Racer Harith Noah creates history; becomes the First Indian to Win the Rally 2 Class and 11th position in the overall DAKAR Rally 2024 and joins elite Dakar winners’ list with class win
Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), 19 January 2024: Sherco TVS Rally Factory team rider Harith Noah became the most-celebrated rider from India bagging the coveted Dakar Rally2 victory and an overall 11th place in the general ranking for motorcycles, after 12 gruelling stages and 14 days in the desert dunes and rocky mountains, at the Dakar Rally 2024 which concluded here on Friday. He clocked an overall 54hours, 24minutes and 44seconds for the 12 stages in 14 days.
The 30-year old from Kerala, Harith Noah, concluded his good run at the mighty Dakar 2024 with a cautious 5th place in the 328-km 12th stage in the Rally2 class and managed to retain his 11th position to in the overall general rankings with a splendid P11 in today’s ranking. The dominating performance in one of the most-demanding and toughest cross-country rallies in the world, the Sports Science graduate from Shoranur in Kerala, entrenched himself in the annals of Indian motorsports with a milestone that will be difficult to reach in the near future.
Astride a 450SEF Rally bike tuned by Sherco TVS rally factory team, Noah began the prologue on January 5 in a cautious way finishing 29th but increased the tempo to finish P22 in the very first Stage of Selective Section after Day 1 and managed to improve his riding with stunning results after each stage and each day thereafter. Staying put in the top-20. He delivered a killer punch on the toughest Stage 6 that had two days of marathon without service, and Noah, made the best use of the difficult conditions to shoot to P13 overall. From then on, the second week of Dakar saw his switching up gears into the elite zone, with stunning performance that made many veterans sit-up and take notice.
Then on Jan 15th, with four days to go he touched his peak dishing out his career-best with an Overall P5 and a stage win in his class, the Rally2 category. Later, he won the stage again in the penultimate round and clinched the issue on the final day with a Rally2 victory and a note-worthy 11th place in the Motorcycle category that saw 142 riders from all over the world take the start. Of them, only 99 finished the 12 gruelling stages to get the biggest name that is a “Dakar Finisher”. The German-born is a product of TVS Racing and apart from them; he is sponsored by Sherco TVS Factory Rally Team, Red Bull and Casio. In 2021, he became the fastest from India at Dakar finishing in 20th place and became the third Indian after pioneer CS Santosh and Aravind KP to finish the prestigious Dakar rally.
“I’m happy that I’ve finished. That was the main goal. It is to reach the finishing line and we are here. I’m really blessed to be here. I learned a lot this year, especially during the second week, I felt really strong and it’s something to build on for next year. I don’t know if I won my category. If I have, that’s good. I knew I was somewhere in the top 3, but I didn’t know anything more, that’s nice. I tried to not have any expectations. I just tried to ride every kilometre one at a time. I tried to navigate and not look at the results, just riding the bike. I think the most surprised I was on Stage 10, I think, when I was leading for some time and then I got fifth overall on the scratch. That really surprised me. It’s a really nice feeling to know that you have it in you. I don’t know what happened. I think on the second week I just felt better on the bike, the bike was working perfectly. It was the same bike until the finish, still really strong, so I was really comfortable on the bike, it was good. It feels good to win. I hope it motivates other riders, younger riders, to do the same or try to pursue the same and grow the sport. I never thought when I was a child that I would be here on the Dakar. Then I did my first Dakar, then I finished in 2021, which was amazing, and now here I am finishing, well I don’t know where I’ve finished, but I’m happy. For the next step, we will see and we will talk, plan and, for sure, I’ll be here next year. That’s obviously the goal,” said a jubilant Noah, who is yet to see his results. A racer of different breed, Harith Noah does not look at the results after every stage, lest they disturb his rhythm.