Rallye

Privateer Mason Klein Claims Dakar Rally Stage 2 Victory As Aussies Settle In

Posted:

Photo of rally rider Mason Klein in the 2023 Dakar Rally stage two
At 21 years of age, Mason Klein became the first privateer to take a stage win in six year. Photo: Rally Zone

It has been six years since a privateer had last won a stage on the Dakar but today Mason Klein added his name to the record books with a convincing stage win ahead of Sebastian Buhler and Skyler Howes to take the overall lead.

After leaving the Sea Camp where the Dakar had been based for a long weekend, the riders headed into the inner reaches of Saudi Arabia, where they were confronted with the morning coolness and terrain that was still damp.

The day’s expedition included a part that was synonymous with racing in the mountains, requiring the competitors to tackle narrow tracks and climb up to an altitude of 1,300 metres through a pass at the midway point of the stage. Even though the weather conditions modified the expected nature of the ground under the wheels, making it stonier and trickier, a young man who is growing up quickly, Mason Klein, won in the bike category where many more experienced competitors.

When it came to avoiding stones, American Mason Klein, who came very close to victory yesterday, kept his cool and at the rather tender age of 21 years claimed his first victory on the event, despite a 2-minute time penalty. The new leader of the race self-assuredly dominated the general standings ahead of several references in the discipline, namely Toby Price and Joan Barreda, who nonetheless managed to stay in the reckoning.

“Today I felt really good apart from the speed penalty I got, again,” Klein said. “But other than that, it was super nice. Most of the day I was just following the other guys and then at the last part, they were making jokes about me leading out or not leading out and letting them all do the work. So, I said, fine, I’ll take my turn and I just left them and it was good. The terrain was super good. The navigation was nice. The roadbook was good. The thing is, with the speed, like the top speeds in the speed zones, it’s all so much for me. It’s so much for my brain. Sometimes I just blank. Like, I’ll be paying attention to the speed zone and it will say go, no turns, all you have to do is stay straight and follow this course. I have to almost stop, and I forget what I’m doing. I don’t know if it’s about experience. It’s pretty tough”.

Photo of rally rider Sebastian Buhler in the 2023 Dakar Rally stage two
German Sebastian Buhler, who missed the 2022 Dakar Rally due to injury was second fastest on stage two. Photo: Rally Zone

Sebastian Buhler crossed the finish line with the 2nd fastest time, bagging the first-ever stage podium of his Dakar career. The German, who missed the 2022 Dakar Rally due to injury, winning the Dakar became a dream when he was a teenager. In just his fourth attempt at the mighty Dakar, the 29-year-old has today moved several steps closer to achieving his lifelong dream. Buhler’s impressive performance pushes him into the overall top-10, at the 10th place.

“Today turned out to be a rewarding one. Yet it wasn’t really a fun day, as we were riding the entire day through rocks,” Buhler explained. “I was able to find a good rhythm from the beginning, and that helped me push through. Before the second refueling, I made a slight mistake that made me go back 2kms to validate a waypoint, and I lost some time there. Other than that, I’m very happy with my performance and the 2nd position I’ve earned.”

Photo of rally rider Skyler Howes in the 2023 Dakar Rally stage two
Skyler Howes had a workman like day for third on stage. Photo: Rally Zone

Third-placed Skyler Howes slowly built his speed as the stage progressed, moving up from 24th on time at kilometre 104 to third place at the finish.

“Today was super, super difficult in terms of being hard on the body, hard on the machine, and an incredibly long day,” Howes explained. “I was managing the day well, not pushing too hard and keeping a little in reserve for the coming days ahead. I was riding at a comfortable pace through the rock-strewn tracks early on, but when things opened up in the final 100 kilometres or so I put on a bit of a push because I thought I might well be behind by that point. As it happens, my pace was good, and I brought it home in third. There were no major mistakes on my end, just a couple of little moments, and the bike felt really good over all the different types of terrain. I’m starting third tomorrow, which isn’t ideal for the stage the organisers have promised, but I’ll do my best and aim to put in another solid day.”

Photo of rally rider Ross Branch in the 2023 Dakar Rally stage two
Ross Branch was once again up in the leading pack with fourth place on the days stage. Photo: Rally Zone

Ross Branch found the day to be one of the longest ones he has ever experienced at the Dakar. Still recovering from his crashes in Stage 1, the Botswanan made every effort to ride steadily, avoiding mistakes. His fourth place finish leaves him at the 12th place in the overall rankings table.

“It was a long rocky section today, probably one of the longest such stages I’ve ever done at the Dakar,” Branch said. “But the day was good for me. I wasn’t sure where we were lined the whole day, so the aim was to avoid any mistakes, navigation errors, and most of all, any crashes. I’m happy we’re in a good position for Stage 2, which is also going to be a long one, and I’m hoping for the best.”

Toby Price moved up to second in the provisional overall standings after completing the stage with the fifth fastest time. Photo: Rally Zone.

As the fifth rider to enter the stage, Toby Price made a steady start to the timed special, taking his time to adjust to the intense terrain seen over the first few hundred kilometers. As the stage continued, Price’s stamina and consistency paid off, with the Aussie moving up as high as second place on time after 300 kilometers. Easing off slightly to ensure a safe finish, the two-time Dakar champion placed fifth at the line, just over two minutes down on the leader. The result moves Toby up to second in the provisional overall standings.

“That was a tough stage today,” Price reflected. “The organizers led us through a load of river beds and rocks pretty much the whole way. It’s definitely not easy, and to make it safely to the finish you really have to take things a little steadier and focus on staying smooth. The projected time was around four hours, but it’s taken us close to five and a half to get to the finish. Other than that, I’m happy with how I rode, I’m here in one piece and ready to fight again tomorrow.”

Photo of rally rider Daniel Sanders in the 2023 Dakar Rally stage two
Daniel Sanders looked like he was going to take an easy stage victory but backed off towards the end electing for a better start on stage three. Photo: Rally Zone.

With a ninth-place finish Daniel Sanders maintains his fifth overall placing in the provisional standings! Knowing the importance of posting consistent stage results every single day, Sanders upped his pace when he needed to today, then backed off near the end to bring it home safe and sound in ninth. Daniel now lies just under three minutes adrift of the overall leader with plenty of racing still to go.

“It was a big day today and definitely a long one!” Sanders said, “In the beginning, I pushed hard to make up time and then settled into a decent rhythm. I think the stage win was there for the taking today but this is such a long race that it’s best to not lead out on a stage this early on, and so for tomorrow’s stage in the dunes I’ll now have a decent starting position. There will be a time or two when winning a stage or finishing up front to lead out the next day will be necessary, but today wasn’t it!”

The 2023 Dakar Rally continues tomorrow with an even longer day of racing. Totaling 669 kilometers, stage two from AlUla to Ha’il will include a demanding timed special of 447 kilometers.

Provisional Results – 2023 Dakar Rally, Stage 2
1 Mason Klein (USA), KTM, 5:23:04
2 Sebastian Buhler (DEU), Hero, 5:24:13 +1:09
3 Skyler Howes (USA), Husqvarna, 5:24:17 +1:13
4 Ross Branch (BWA), Hero, 5:25:02 +1:58
5 Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 5:25:20 +2:16
6 Joan Barreda (Honda) 5:25:36
9 Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 5:26:28

Provisional Standings – 2023 Dakar Rally (after 2 of 14 stages)
1 Mason Klein (USA), KTM, 9:38:28
2 Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 9:40:09 +1:41
3 Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 9:40:31 +2:03
4 Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 9:40:53 +2:25
5 Daniel Sanders (AUS), GASGAS, 9:41:23 +2:55
6 Ricky Brabec (Honda) 9:42:49

Share Article:

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Tumblr
Pinterest
Reddit
Email
Print

More News: Latest Headlines

More News: Latest Headlines

AMA Supercross

Aaron Plessinger Forced To Sit Out Remainder Of The 2024 Supercross Season

Motocross

Hamish Harwood Overcomes Hardship To Claim The 2024 New Zealand Motocross Championships

Motocross

Jed Beaton Wins The Final Battle But Loses The War At NZ Motocross Championships

Dirt Track

Juniors Impress Again At The 2024 New South Wales Junior Dirt Track Championship

Enduro

Steve Holcombe Edges Out Andrea Verona For EnduroGP Day Two Victory In Valpacos

MXGP

Jorge Prado And Liam Everts Rise To The Top At MXGP of Trentino

AMA Supercross

Cooper Webb And Haiden Deegan Claim Wins At Foxborough Supercross

Enduro

Winning Ride For Josep Garcia On Day One At Round Two Of EnduroGP

MXGP

Romain Febvre And Andrea Adamo Qualify Fastest For The MXGP of Trentino

Enduro

Josep Garcia Wins Second Super Test At EnduroGP Round Two In Portugal

Speedway

2024 FIM Speedway of Nations Semi-Final Draw Revealed

Industry

Australian Motorcycle Sales Decline In January–March 2024 Quarter

What's On This Week

AORC - R4
Enfield, Vic
Sunday, April 21st, 2024
AORC - R3
Enfield, Vic
Saturday, April 20th, 2024
FIM Speedway Grand Prix - Round 1
FIM Speedway GP of Croatia
Sunday, April 21st, 2024
Vic Senior MX Championships - Round 1
Portland, Vic
Sunday, April 21st, 2024
AMA Supercross Round 15
Lincoln Financial Field - Philadelphia, PA
Saturday, April 27th, 2024
AMA Supercross Round 14
Nissan Stadium - Nashville, TN
Saturday, April 20th, 2024

Featured:

Time to Pivot with Pivot Pegz?

First Look At The All New 2024 Beta 450RX

2024 Yamaha YZ250F Review

Enhance Your Bike’s Protection With Force Accessories Custom Clutch Cover

2023 Sherco 300 SE Factory Ride Review

Michelin StarCross 6 – Inspected

What's On This Week

AORC - R4
Enfield, Vic
Sunday, April 21st, 2024
AORC - R3
Enfield, Vic
Saturday, April 20th, 2024
FIM Speedway Grand Prix - Round 1
FIM Speedway GP of Croatia
Sunday, April 21st, 2024
Vic Senior MX Championships - Round 1
Portland, Vic
Sunday, April 21st, 2024
AMA Supercross Round 15
Lincoln Financial Field - Philadelphia, PA
Saturday, April 27th, 2024
AMA Supercross Round 14
Nissan Stadium - Nashville, TN
Saturday, April 20th, 2024