The Sherco TVS rider beats his own 2021 record of P20 with an Overall P11 in Stage 8
Hail (Saudi Arabia), 15 January 2024: Sherco TVS Factory Rally Team rider Harith Noah created history by becoming the first from India to win a Stage in any class at the Dakar Rally as he won the 678-km Stage 8 in his class, the Rally2 category for Bikes, here on Monday. Four more days are left in the gruelling Dakar 2024 edition which concludes on Jan 19.
The 30-year Kerala rider covered the technically-challenging stage of 458-km Special and 220-km Liaison from Al Duwadimi to Hail in 3 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds on Monday. He was third overall in the general ranking for the Rally2 class while he is in Overall P13 after eight stages in the general ranking. Today, he finished Stage 8 in a creditable P11, just 07minutes 09seconds from the overall leader in Dakar Bikes section.
The rider from Shoranur, thus beat his own record, a P20 he set in 2021, to become the fastest rider from India in the Dakar Rally history with 11th place in Stage 8. With four more days to go, he is taking it day by day to keep his cool to complete his fifth attempt in a successful manner. He became the fastest at Dakar in 2021 when he completed the dreaded rally in 20th place beating the Indian record of pioneer CS Santosh’s P36-finish. In this edition, he also got a top-3 finish in Rally2 class in Stage 3. The Sports Science graduate is sponsored by Sherco TVS Factory Rally Team, TVS Racing, Red Bull and Casio.
Thankfully for the riders, stage eight at Dakar lessened the intensity a little with the 458-kilometer timed special split into two sections, a 179-kilometer liaison joining the two very different halves. The first leg consisted mainly of sandy tracks and dunes, but the second half posed more of a challenge with stones and rocks covering much of the final 119 kilometres leading to the finish in Ha’il.
“Felt good on the bike and my sickness is getting better too. I guess everything feels good when you do good. I am focussed on navigation and pushed when comfortable. I lost some time trying to find the way in the second part. Tomorrow is another day and the Dakar is far from over,” said Harith Noah from Saudi Arabia.
Earlier on Sunday in Stage 7, Noah finished the Stage in Overall general ranking of P13 and P5 in his class, Rally2 despite a running nose throughout the day. Tomorrow, the stage 9 would be from Hail to Al Ula.