The final stage of the Silk Way Rally will be held tomorrow, Tuesday. Kevin Benavides, the best positioned of the Monster Energy Honda riders, will be in the battle for the rostrum at the close of the first-ever edition of the rally featuring the motorcycle category.
After the start in Irkutsk and a trek across Mongolia, the Silk Way Rally is heading for its final destination, the Chinese city of Dunhuang. To get there, riders face tomorrow morning’s 255-kilometre final stage which will link the Jiayuguan bivouac with Dunhuang. Today’s route from Alashan to Jiayuguan featured 290.30 kilometres of open track and dunes. The toughest aspects of the day were the searing temperatures which reign over the Gobi desert and the arduous navigation which riders had to endure.
In this penultimate stage, Monster Energy Honda Team’s Chilean rider José Ignacio Cornejo, was the best of the bunch, finishing in a fine fifth position. Kevin Benavides and Joan Barreda, posted sixth and seventh places respectively.
Benavides, after yesterday’s win, was forced to open the track. The Argentinean was making swift progress until he was caught by other riders who arrived back at the Jiayuguan bivouac in a group. Barreda, meanwhile, sought to maintain a fast pace in spite of not feeling very much at ease on the terrain.
Tomorrow sees a final 205-kilometre stage over hard ground, but without the dunes, where Kevin Benavides will be looking to whittle down the gap in the Silk Road Rally general standing which separates him from an overall podium place finish in Dunhuang.