HT@The Dakar: Santosh falls, but fights on
Santosh was placed at 67 out of the 148 that started the day. He had managed to hit all the waypoints – these are must-hit points on the route failing which a rider can be disqualified – but he had slipped from his overnight standing of 50.other Updated: Jan 07, 2015 23:22 IST
CS Santosh did not sleep too well on Monday night. “The shoulder kept me up. It was too uncomfortable. I finally went to the doctor and he gave me some pills,” explained the Indian rider after Tuesday’s run.
Santosh was placed at 67 out of the 148 that started the day. He had managed to hit all the waypoints – these are must-hit points on the route failing which a rider can be disqualified – but he had slipped from his overnight standing of 50. Matthias Walkner astride his KTM was fastest with a time of 1:22:04. Santosh clocked 1:43:15.
Santosh, however, refused to blame the injury to his left shoulder on account of a fall on Monday as the reason for his losing some places on Tuesday. “It had more to do with the fact that the rocky sections were technical in nature and I need more experience on those to be able to go faster. The European riders were superior to me there. While I made time on them earlier, they all caught up with me in the rocks.”
It was a comparatively easier day for the riders on Tuesday with the special stage of 220 kms only after the massive competitive run of 518 yesterday. En route to Chilecito, the stage navigated steeper peaks though it is yet to hit the Andes proper. The town is nestled between two Sierra ranges and the drive in cuts through kilometres of vineyards. While your correspondent was tempted to stop for a bit, the Dakar organisers do not seem to entertain such notions. Wine will be the last thing on Santosh’s mind as the stage today demanded intense concentration with spectacularly red hills thrown in. Their dust would make following in another’s wake quite harrowing.
“It was extremely dusty. It made very poor visibility.” Things didn’t help our man as he had popped one of the pills that the doctor had given me for sleeping just as he sat on the bike in the morning. “That was bit stupid as I was almost dozing off in the transport. Things were bad today not only in the rocks but also when we hit some more fesh fesh (powdery sand that has the bike sinking in). That stuff is horrible. But my goal stays the same, I have to keep at it and finish – that’s most important.”
The riders also had a taste of high altitude for the first time today with a section of the stage going close to 3400 meters. But since Santosh has handled the heights of the Indian Himalayas during the Raid and passes like Baralacha on the Manali-Leh highway (4890m) full pelt on tarmac, altitude is hardly going to be an issue for him.
“The fall really ruined my flow today. I must try and make sure I don’t make any mistakes as one fall throws you out of gear for a long, long time,” he had remarked after Monday’s ordeal as he applied a funny smelling cream sitting in the cool of the ac in his camper. As your correspondent sniffed down at the strange smell, Santosh felt compelled to explain: “Its jasmine. But it says men’s cream on the pack, ok!”
Tuesday’s stage was rocky for the most part and that’s always tricky for bikes as any lapse in concentration can lead to a painful jar. Santosh is using a Scott’s steering damper – these things are gyroscopic mechanisms that instantly straighten out the front when it rears off a rock – but his injured shoulder made the going difficult on such terrain.