OILIBYA RALLY STAGE WIN POINTS KTM’S GRABBO IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
If he hadn’t already done so, HSE Motorex KTM’s King of the Desert Ben Grabham has announced his presence on the international cross country rallies arena in no uncertain terms with a victory in the final stage of the OiLibya Rally in Morocco.
Thirty-one year-old Grabham, from Bathurst, won the last day of the sixth and final round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship by over a minute from Helder Rodrigues (Honda) and KTM Red Bull Rally Factory rider Kurt Caselli.
The breakthrough win hoisted Grabham up two places to sixth overall for the event, which went to Paulo Goncalves (Honda) by less than four minutes from 2012 champion Marc Coma (KTM Red Bull Rally Factory) and Joan Barreda (Honda).
Goncalves’ Rally win meant the Portuguese rider was crowned 2013 world champion ahead of Spaniard Coma, who last year gave KTM its seventh FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship in ten years.
Grabham had visited Coma in Spain directly before the Morocco Rally and trained with the three-time Dakar champion on navigation – an investment which the Aussie hopes will help him toward his goal in the world’s biggest off-road race, the Dakar Rally.
Grabham got his first taste of the Dakar in January this year when he comfortably finished top-15 in the famous race, and now having tested the water, the three-time Australian Safari winner is looking to reveal his true potential in the famous event.
The 2014 Dakar Rally runs from January 5-18 and stretches from Rosario, Argentina, through Bolivia to Valparaiso, Chile across 8000 kilometres of the most beautiful and inhospitable terrain imaginable.
Season 2013 has seen an incredible completion to Grabham’s recovery from a serious spinal injury he suffered early in 2012. After beginning the year with a maiden finish in the Dakar Rally, he won the WA Forest Rally, the inaugural WA Desert Racing Tri-Series, and the E3 class in the Australian 4-Day Enduro championship at Harvey in WA.
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Ben Grabham: “It feels great to win a stage of a World Rally especially as it was my first World Rally Race. After some navigation training with Marc coma in Spain and some riding with the team before the start in morocco I found my speed was good on the rally bike so it was just a matter of putting together a full day of racing. Earlier in the race I was still making small mistakes but on the final day I made very few mistakes and took the win. All week I was pretty much just doing my thing and not getting fussed over to much but soon as I won the final day that all changed pretty fast and I was getting dragged in every direction for attention from the press. It gives me some good confidence and motivation heading into Dakar.”
OiLibya Rally Morocco, Stage 6 Results:
1 Ben Grabham 02:26'39 AUS KTM KTM AUS Rally Factory
2 Helder Rodrigues +01'18 PRT HONDA TEAM HRC
3 Kurt Caselli +02'41 USA KTM KTM Red Bull Rally Factory
4 Jeremias Israel +03'00 CHL SPEEDBRAIN Team Speedbrain
5 Paulo Goncalves +04'56 PRT HONDA TEAM HRC
6 Marc Coma +08'26 ESP KTM KTM Red Bull Rally Factory
7 Frans Verhoeven +11'06 HOL YAMAHA Yamaha Netherlands Verhoeven
8 Alessandro Botturi +16'40 ITA SPEEDBRAIN Team Speedbrain
9 Joan Barreda +17'14 ESP HONDA TEAM HRC
10 Olivier Pain +18'35 FRA YAMAHA Yamaha Racing
Final results OiLibya Morocco Rally 2013:
1 Paulo Goncalves 17:08'59 PRT HONDA TEAM HRC
2 Marc Coma +03'44 ESP KTM KTM Red Bull Rally Factory
3 Joan Barreda +07'39 ESP HONDA TEAM HRC
4 Chaleco López +32'58 CHI KTM KTM Red Bull Rally Factory
5 Sam Sunderland +45'57 ENG HONDA TEAM HRC
6 Ben Grabham +55'08 AUS KTM KTM AUS Rally Factory
7 Kurt Caselli +01:04'32 USA KTM KTM Red Bull Rally Factory
8 Olivier Pain +01:06'09 FRA YAMAHA Yamaha Racing
9 Alessandro Botturi +01:08'58 ITA SPEEDBRAIN Team Speedbrain
10 Frans Verhoeven +01:41'38 HOL YAMAHA Yamaha Netherlands Verhoeven