Stage two of the 2018 Desafio Inca Rally in Peru again comprised a 350km timed special in a looped course held near to the city of Ica. With the terrain consisting mostly of off-piste sand dunes, good navigation was extremely important, especially on the first loop of the day.

Matthias Walkner: “Visibility is a big issue with the dust kicked up by the guys in front…”

Reigning Dakar Rally champion Matthias Walkner enjoyed an excellent second stage, ultimately catching the front runners before the end of the first lap. Posting the fastest time on the difficult-to-navigate first run through the loop, Matthias was then forced to ride in a group for the remaining 170 kilometres. The Austrian’s result moves him to second overall in the provisional overall standings, just over 11 seconds down on the leader.

Matthias Walkner: “I enjoyed the stage today, especially the first loop. I was able to catch the guys in front after navigating myself through the first 150km. The bike felt great and I feel we are getting some good practice in on the steep dunes here in Peru. The second loop was very much like yesterday, we rode in a group of seven or eight riders and to be honest you don’t learn that much like that. Visibility is a big issue with the dust kicked up by the guys in front and you really have to be careful on some of the blind crests. You still have to keep an eye on your road book though – you can’t always trust the others. Tomorrow I’ll set off second, which is not ideal for the last day but I’ll push from the beginning and hopefully hold off the others behind for as long as I can.”

Toby Price: “It’s frustrating because it makes my results look bad through no fault of my own…”

With the results from Friday deciding the start of Saturday’s stage, day one winner Toby Price was first into the timed special. Despite laying a trail for the chasing riders to follow, Price enjoyed a strong first lap navigating well and maintaining a solid pace over the undulating terrain. As was the case on day one, the second lap on Saturday saw a group of riders enter the stage and remain together for the entire 170 kilometres. Unfortunately, Toby suffered an issue with his GPS and was forced to turn back to validate a missed waypoint. With further issues hampering his progress, the Australian ultimately finished 16th.

Toby Price: “The first loop today went really well, I navigated through the first 160 kilometres without an issue and was able to keep to a good strong pace. Then, just like yesterday, we started the second loop in a big group. I’m not sure why, but even though we were all riding together, my GPS didn’t record one particular waypoint. It’s really strange because it seems I was the only one who missed it and I had to turn around and retrace my steps to try and validate it. After that, and even though I was in the tracks of the leading group, the GPS failed to pick up another waypoint. It then jumped about 15 kilometres and I think it’s missed others, too. It’s frustrating because it makes my results look bad through no fault of my own. On the plus side, I still feel strong in myself and we’re getting some good data riding the bike here in the dunes. There’s one more day left so I’m hoping for a better result tomorrow.”

Husqvarnas’ Andrew Short takes provisional overall lead at Desafio Inca: : “I feel I am learning the pace and the style of racing needed to get good results…”

Securing a solid fourth place result on stage two of the 2018 Desafio Inca, Andrew Short has taken over the rally’s provisional overall lead. Putting his experience collected so far to good use, Andrew Short has put in a solid stage two performance in the Peruvian dunes. Enjoying a consistent pace throughout the first of two laps, the American upped his pace in the second loop and managed to take control of the rally with one stage to go.

Andrew Short: “I’ve been making some good progress here in Peru. Today was very similar to yesterday, the terrain and the style of the race was nearly identical. I pushed for a good pace right from the start and ended up catching the leading group. We finished the first loop in a big group like we did yesterday. Then on the second loop I decided to push even more to gain some time on them. I took more chances trying to learn the speed needed to be up front and this paid off. There was not much navigation to be done in the second loop so on that side there weren’t things to learn, but I feel I am learning the pace and the style of racing needed to get good results. Peru is an amazing place to race a motorcycle and I have enjoyed every stage so far. I am happy with where we’re at and I want to end this rally on a high note tomorrow.”

The third and final stage of the 2018 Desafio Inca will see riders contest two loops of a 200km course close to the city of Ica in Peru.

STORY: Matthias Walkner Finishes As Runner-Up At Desafio Inca Rally
STORY: Gelungene Dakar-Generalprobe: Matthias Walkner auf Platz 2
STORY: Toby Price Fastest On Desafio Inca Day One

LINK: Desafio Inca

photos (c) Marcin Kin