The penultimate stage of the 2017 Sonora Rally saw Ricky Brabec extend his lead over fellow Honda rider Mark Samuels by five minutes. The duo have finished one-two on all three stages of the 2017 edition of the Sonora Rally.
“I feel really comfortable in the dunes,” Samuels shared, “but Ricky has far more navigation experience than I do and it really shows on days like today. I wish we had more events like the Sonora Rally around here so I could practice my navigation more often.” Samuels might get his wish granted in the near future. He currently leads the six-rider field that are competing in the Dakar Challenge for a free entry to the 2018 edition of the Dakar Rally.
Todd Jergensen recovered from his rollover in Stage Two to win Stage Three by an hour over the next closest four-wheeled competitor. The rally raid format consists of timed “special stages” each day, with the event victory going to the team that posts the lowest combined time. Competitors must navigate to hidden waypoints throughout the course of the special, and missing waypoints results in strict time penalties. Jergensen bested Jayson Walmsley on Stage Three, and currently has a four-hour lead in the overall standings.
In the UTV class, racing royalty Chad Ragland posted his first stage win, finishing ahead of Jake Povey and last year’s winner Dave Sykes. Povey had won the first two stages of the event, but suffered a rollover in Stage Three after cresting a steep dune early in the day. Povey still sits atop the overall standings in the UTV class, however a mere five minutes separate him and Sykes heading into the final stage.
“I love the challenge that rally raid provides,” confessed Sonora Rally co-founder Darren Skilton. “Our goal was to bring that challenge to North America, and combine it with the rich culture and beauty of Northern Mexico.” The Sonora Rally is the culmination of years of work by Dakar veterans Darren Skilton and Scott Whitney to provide an alternative to the overused courses of Baja. The final stage of the 2017 Sonora Rally will require competitors to navigate deep into the Altar Dunes before earning a celebratory dinner and party at the Hotel San Angel in San Luis Rio Colorado.