At the conclusion of a successful Morocco Rally that took place from October 15-21, the Husqvarna Rally Team By Speedbrain riders took three of the top eight places, including Joan Barreda taking second overall. Paulo Goncalves and Matt Fish put in noteworthy performances too, finishing in fifth and eighth respectively.
This result for the Husqvarna Rallye Team By Speedbrain is all the more notable for the high turnout of top riders who participated, as well as the particularly taxing course. Joan Barreda proved to be extremely quick, coming in just a few minutes behind the winner. Goncalves also put in a fine performance and had it not been for a setback in the fourth stage, would have made the third step of the podium. Matt Fish concluded the rally in eighth place overall in his first outing in an African rally, with the Husqvarna TE449RR by Speedbrain offering excellent support to three riders throughout the whole 1,200 miles (2,000 km) of special tests.
“All of us have done an excellent job and I’m really pleased with the second place,” said Spaniard Joan Barreda: “We’ve got a really strong bike and a team that’s well prepared for the Dakar. Our mission to come out here and test the team and bike ahead of the Dakar has been achieved. This is a very intense and dangerous race with such a lot of navigation. Besides, all the top riders in the world have turned out for this rally, which is why the result is all the more significant.”
This was a view shared by Portuguese rider Paulo Goncalves, who added, “This Morocco rally has been a really important trail for me before the Dakar. The team has worked hard on the new bike and I’m really glad at the result. It was a shame about the problem with the rear wheel in the fourth stage, otherwise I would have also made the podium alongside Joan, but I’m pleased all the same. ”
Australian rider Matt Fish concluded, “I’m really happy with the way my first experience of Morocco has turned out on a Husqvarna. It was a great rally and a fantastic bike – I really had a good time. I had a great stage today and have managed to finish eighth in the final standings!”
Summing up ongoing preparations for the forthcoming Dakar challenges ahead, Berthold Hauser-Dakar Project Manager said, “I’m really pleased for the way that this test has gone! It was crucial for us to weigh up how competitive the bike is, see what sort of shape the riders are in, and how team spirit is measuring up ahead of the next Dakar. And I have to say that we were all up to the job! The final result is a formality, but I’m totally satisfied all the same. I have to congratulate Wolfgang Fischer for a job well done and for having got together such a competitive team capable of competing at an international level in such a short space of time. My compliments to all the team members and the riders!”
The final word went to a delighted Team Manager, Wolfgang Fischer who said, “Mission accomplished! We haven’t come up against any technical setbacks as far as the bike is concerned. We had a podium finish that easily could have been two, and a great performance by Fish who has slotted into the team perfectly. Now we’ve got quite a bit of work to do before the Dakar, but we are definitely on the right road.”
Final Morocco Rally standings:
1. Despres (KTM),
2.Barreda (Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain),
3. Lopez (KTM),
5.Goncalves (Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain),
8.Fish (Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain ).