Hero MotoSports Team Rally will make their international two-wheeler debut at this week’s Afriquia Merzouga Rally in Morocco, competing with riders CS Santosh of India and Joaquim Rodrigues of Portugal.
The Afriquia Merzouga Rally has been revamped, renamed and is now part of the prestigious Dakar series, according to a press release from the team. The entry list features a number of high-profile names and over 80 riders.
Following the prologue on Sunday (May 22) when the riders raced in a short race against the clock to determine the starting order for the opening stage, there are more than 1,000-km of challenge through the gruelling Moroccan desert over the next six days.
“I’m really happy to be here at the Merzouga,” CS Santosh was quoted as saying in the press release. “My first encounter with the bike has been exciting. I’m delighted to see we are progressing nicely, obviously working towards the Dakar. It’s good to do some training with the roadbook. I’m trying to have a good result,” he added.
Earlier this month, German rally specialists Speedbrain and Hero MotoCorp Ltd, the world´s largest two-wheel manufacturer, formed a strategic partnership to foray into the world of motorcycle rally racing. The two riders are competing in an upgraded version of the successful and well-proven Speedbrain 450 rally bike. The team is led by Managing Director Wolfgang Fischer.
“This is a new experience for me,” Rodrigues, a rookie, was quoted as saying. “I don’t know exactly what is in front of me during the next days. I will try to learn the maximum I can. Thanks to everyone at Hero MotoSports Team Rally for their support throughout the preparation process. My goal is to finish the race and see where I’m at.”