Sherco TVS rally rider Aravind KP finished 37th at Dakar 2019 and is the only Indian to complete the rally successfully this year. For starters, Dakar rally is the toughest off-road rally in the world and this was Aravind's third appearance in the event. In the 2019 edition of Dakar, only 55 percent of the total bikes managed to make it to the finish line. After a steady start in the early stages, Aravind KP picked up the pace in the second half of the rally and climbed up the rankings. He had a few crashes during the intermediate stages and had a tricky situation in the penultimate stage of Dakar, when his bike broke down in the sand dunes. Despite this, he managed to make himself and the bike to the finish line. Aravind KP says that he is extremely happy and overwhelmed with the results and feels that it is time to take the take forward the positive things from this season and start preparing for the next season.
The 2019 season of the Dakar rally was shorter with 11 days and 70 percent sand. To this, KP says that this year's Dakar was shorter but harder with more physical strength required compared to other Dakars from the previous years. On speaking about some international riders, Aravind KP said that by the time he started, some of them were already world champions. He added that that is the only difference between Indian riders and international riders as the latter start really early but he believes that other than that, the Indians are not too far and more positive results will start coming in the next few years.
Aravind KP was astride the RTR 450 motorcycle in Dakar 2019 that used a shorter ratio gearbox and the capacity of the fuel tank was raised from 30 litres to 32 litres. The weight of the bike was also reduced and the bike had different pistons in Dakar 2019 for better performance. The Sherco TVS RTR 450 used in the Dakar 2019 produced a maximum power output of 60 bhp and was capable to reach a top speed of 180 kmph. KP says that Dakar 2020 is on his mind now and he is already planning for the rally. He added that he understood the areas where he needs to improve and he hopes to remain injury free through the year.
Aravind KP's message to the riders who have been preparing for the Dakar is that they should be doing more of the world rally championship rounds to get an idea of how it is and the intensity of it. He added that they should train really hard, expect the unexpected and be prepared for anything. During his first outing for Dakar, KP thought that he was prepared for it but found out that he was not He concludes his statement by saying that riders should spend a lot of time on the motorcycle and even he has a lot more to do and improve. Aravind KP says that if everything goes fine, he hopes to see himself finishing under top 10 in the Dakar 2020.