Runner-up result for Skyler Howes on Dakar stage three

Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Skyler Howes has delivered an exceptional performance on day three of the Dakar Rally to post the second fastest time, despite being disadvantaged as one of the first competitors to enter the stage. Luciano Benavides, who stopped to assist an injured rider, regrouped to complete the stage in provisional seventh place after being rewarded with the time lost.

Taking on the longest stage of the event so far as the third rider into the special was a huge challenge for Skyler Howes. However, after passing one rider ahead of him and catching up to the other, Howes stayed focused on his navigation and delivered an outstanding ride that would ultimately see the FR 450 Rally rider claim second at the end of the day.

With the regulations awarding bonus time to the first three riders through the special (from the start to the refuelling point), Skyler earned three minutes and 14 seconds for his work in opening the stage. Initially completing the day as third fastest, the American then moved up to second after one of his rivals was docked two minutes for speeding. The result for the stage moves Skyler from seventh up to fourth in the provisional rankings.

Luciano Benavides was pushing hard on today’s special when unfortunately a rider ahead of him crashed heavily and required assistance. Benavides remained with the fallen rider until medical help arrived, and then continued on to the finish. After having the time he lost returned to him, Luciano placed provisionally seventh for the day and now lies 10th overall, 23 minutes down on the leader.

Skyler Howes: “Honestly, this has to be one of the best days I’ve ever had on a motorcycle. The sand was wet and so nice to ride, the mountains here are huge and incredibly beautiful, I can’t describe how it felt to race through there. There was a couple of times when we headed right into the worst of the weather, but luckily, we missed it. I’m really happy with my time today. Mason (Klein) did a really good job of opening, and I was able to catch up with him and just focus on my own navigation through the long stage. I picked up some good bonus time for being the second rider through the stage, so that seems to have worked out well. I’ll be up near the front again tomorrow, so another challenging day but I’m looking forward to it.”

Luciano Benavides: “The day went well for me today. My pace was good, and I really enjoyed the stage. After the refuelling, I was riding behind Ricky (Brabec) when he hit a rock and crashed. I stayed with him until the helicopter arrived and then carried on to complete the stage. It’s always difficult to regain your speed after seeing something like that, and I completed the stage on my own, but I think I did a good job. Time to refocus now and push again tomorrow.”

2023 Dakar Rally – Stage 3 Provisional Classification

1. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 4:24:15
2. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 4:30:34
3. Mason Klein (KTM) 4:31:14
4. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 4:31:38
5. Joan Barreda (Honda) 4:35:44
6. Toby Price (KTM) 4:36:29

7. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) (TBC)

2023 Dakar – Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 3]

1. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 14:05:38
2. Mason Klein (KTM) 14:09:42
3. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 14:12:31
4. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 14:14:13
5. Joan Barreda (Honda) 14:16:15
6. Toby Price (KTM) 14:16:38

10. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) (TBC)