Rallye

Joaquim Rodrigues Calls Time On An Illustrious Racing Career

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Photo of Hero Rally Rider Joaquim Rodrigues on stage eleven of the 2022 Dakar Rally
Joaquim Rodrigues has called time on a racing career of 35 years.

Hero Motorsport rider Joaquim Rodrigues has called time on an illustrious racing career with the Portuguese rider announcing his retirement from racing after over 35 years at the top level of various disciplines.

“For 35 years I was devoted with all my heart and soul to Motocross, Supercross, Enduro and, most recently, Rally. I have always done it with passion and passion. It wouldn’t make sense any other way,” Rodrigues wrote on social media.

“The dedication that led me to the Motocross World Championship and then the coveted AMA Supercross in the United States has been with me throughout my career. The same dedication and enthusiasm as I put in rally raids.

“It wasn’t easy, it never is. Leaving home, still a kid, to go to an official Motocross World Team, alongside the two-champion of the World, is the dream of any young rider, packing his bags and heading to the United States, alone, not knowing what to expect from the most ferocious supercross championship in the world.

“It reached a point where, more than the lack of motivation, it felt it was time to stop, to change course. The enthusiasm wasn’t the same and I’ve always respected the teams the sponsors and everyone around me.

“So was it, too, in the Rallies-Raides. Attracted to the great marathons, fell in love with the desert. We started in the Dakar adventures with success, defeats, joys, good days and not-so-good days, but I never gave up on what I intended, because giving up is not part of me.

Photo of Hero Rally Rider Joaquim Rodrigues on stage eleven of the 2022 Dakar Rally
Rodrigues raced at the top level including the FIM Motocross World Championship, AMA Supercross, and the World Rally-Raid Championship for the past eight years. 

The death of his brother-in-law and Rally legend Paulo Gonçalves hit hard.

“It was the pain felt with Paulo’s accident, on that damn January 12, 2020, that cost me the most and everything changed. I suffered a lot, but also for him I returned to Dakar and overcame fears, fears and with his help we have conquered a milestone in 2022,” Rodrigues explained.

“I know I never felt the same rider again. Not out of fear or fear of accidents, but a loss so immense makes us realise everything else and see life differently.

“I never gave up training, working hard and dedicating myself to achieve the goals we set out to work on. But as time goes by, doubts start to arise, if this is really where we want to be and lately these doubts have started to arise. I recently followed the Abu Dhabi trial outside and, for the first time in my career, it felt good to be there, not wanting to put in first place and start as I saw my colleagues leave for the track. I felt I was in the right place.

“We returned home and spoke openly with the team who immediately understood and accepted my desire to leave the competition. Felt like it was time to leave and should do it the same honest way I have always run my career. It wasn’t right to be there fooling Hero, the sponsors, those who always supported me, making a present body figure when my head told me it was time to stop. I decide then to step out on my own.

“So I’ve made the decision to never go back to competing professionally.

“Hope everyone can understand my decision We should all know when to stop and respect those who wish to stop. A stop that is not a goodbye Fortunately, Hero once again showed that it is more than a team, a real family, and invited me to stay connected to the team, which I hope I can help and contribute to its success,” Rodrigues concluded.

His close relationship with the Hero Motorsport team was reflected in a statement made by the Indian manufacturer.

“While we’re miserable knowing we won’t see #27 racing again, we’re deeply thankful for his long-standing journey with us. He has been a significant part of all our highs and lows, right from the very inception of Hero MotoSports in 2016,” the statement began.

“His extreme dedication and passion to the sport over 35 illustrious years is unparalleled. JRod’s @dakarrally 2022 Stage Win played a major role in propelling Hero MotoSports to the big league. His continuous contributions have helped develop our racing machines and off-road products such as the Hero XPulse to the formidable statures they enjoy today.

“Thank you for the unforgettable ride, JRod! Looking forward to be part of your new adventures.”

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