Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Skyler Howes has claimed a second consecutive runner-up result at the 2021 Silk Way Rally with an impressive performance on stage four. Luciano Benavides also secured another strong finish, just over four minutes adrift of his teammate.
Despite setting off second into the well-used tracks of today’s 133km special, Howes, knowing the route, was able to push right from the start. Never falling below third in the order, a final charge to the end saw the American claim second place, just over one-minute behind the eventual winner. The result moves Skyler up into second place in the overall standings with just Tuesday’s final stage to race.
Maintaining the consistent pace he’s demonstrated throughout the event, Luciano Benavides rode a solid stage four with very few mistakes to ultimately claim seventh place. Also lying seventh in the provisional overall standings, just seconds from sixth, the Argentinian racer will be aiming to deliver a strong final stage tomorrow to move up the order.
Competitors will repeat Saturday’s special on tomorrow’s stage five. Starting and finishing in Gorno-Altaisk, riders will have to attack the final 132km route in order to secure their final finishing positions and the valuable championship points.
Skyler Howes: “Today was actually really fun because we were able to up the intensity a lot. Navigation was not so difficult because we knew where we were going, but the stage was still quite tough to get right. The bike felt really good, and I felt comfortable keeping up a really fast pace, so that’s really encouraging. Finishing second today moves me up to second in the standings so my plan now is to get some rest so I can give it my all tomorrow. It’s a special that you can definitely lose a lot of time on, but not gain so much. A good ride to the finish should see my complete the rally in a strong position.”
Luciano Benavides: “As today’s stage was the same as yesterday, there wasn’t too much navigation, but despite that I still tried to practice using my notes. My pace today wasn’t quite as good as I had hoped, but I didn’t lose too much time on the leaders, so I’m happy about that. I did have one small crash in the mud right at the beginning of the stage, but apart from that all went well. There’s one more stage left and I’m looking forward to completing that and arriving safely at the finish.”
2021 Silk Way Rally – Stage 4 Provisional Classification
1. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 1:22:47
2. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 1:23:56
3. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 1:24:18
4. Sebastian Buhler (Hero) 1:24:50
5. Franco Caimi (Hero) 1:27:30
6. Andrew Short (Yamaha) 1:28:20
7. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 1:28:23
2021 Silk Way Rally – Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 4)
1. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 5:13:57
2. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 5:18:44
3. Franco Caimi (Hero) 5:19:33
4. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 5:22:32
5. Sebastian Buhler (Hero) 5:22:42
6. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 5:29:44
7. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 5:30:36