Coming from its recent victory at the BAJA Portalegre rally, Hero Motosports Team Rally has announced its plans for Dakar 2021. Hero has announced its three-rider squad for its Dakar 2021 entry as well as its updated new machine — the Hero 450 Rally bike. Hero has decided to continue with its rider squad from before. Representing Hero at the Dakar will be 2020 FIM Cross-Country BAJAs World Cup winner – Sebastian Buhler. It will be Buhler’s second official appearance for the team at the Dakar. Alongside him will be the 2019 Pan Africa Rally winner — Joaquim Rodrigues and Indian rider — CS Santosh. The duo will appear for the fifth time for Hero MotoSports at the Dakar in 2021.
Hero MotoSports has also announced the new machinery which it has newly developed for its riders to take on the upcoming Dakar Rally. Using an evolved chassis of the Speedbrain rally motorcycle which has been serving Hero till date, the motorcycle will feature a new 450cc engine. Hero claims that the updated bike has been developed to improve top speed and acceleration. In addition, the bike now has an optimum weight balance, better rider ergonomic, a more accommodating fuel tank, reworked suspension and new cooling system for the motor.
Additionally, the Hero MotorSports Team Rally will drape themselves in a new livery. Although the colour scheme remains the same — white, red and black, the new livery is said to be a “futuristic ‘Barcode’ inspired design aesthetic”. All three riders gained experience from their outings earlier this year at the BAJA Portalegre and the Andalucia Rally. Hero feels that the team has utilised these races to acquire some saddle time before the Dakar 2021 in light of the restrictions posed by the pandemic.
From 2020, the Dakar Rally moved from South America to the dunes of Saudi Arabia. The 43rd edition of the Dakar Rally in 2021 will also take place in the same region. The rally will commence on January 3 from the city of Jeddah. This year it will travel through various cities before returning back to Jeddah on January 15. Dakar 2021 will see a total coverage of 7,646 km, out of which 4,767 kms will be segmented into 12 competitive stages. This year, the Dakar Rally is said to take the competitors through more slush, open deserts, dunes and mountainous terrain that before.