On the heels of the “Merzouga Challenges” hosted by the Bassella Race in Spain and the Enduropale du Touquet in France, one rider will be invited to the 2017 Merzouga Rally and the 2018 Dakar at the conclusion of the Baja India scheduled for April 7-9 in the Rajasthan desert.
In 2015, “CS” Santosh was the first Indian rider to compete on the Dakar. Two years later, the delegation has doubled with the reinforcement of Aravind Prabhakar, entered with the French-Indian Sherco TVS team, while bike-builder Hero had a strong showing in the event thanks to Joaquim Rodrigues (12th). There is clearly a movement taking place near Bangalore, where these two pioneers reside. And yet the first edition of the Baja India, from April 7-9, to be held several thousand kilometres from the country’s third largest city, at the heart of Rajasthan, is being called upon to become the national cross-country race of reference. The performance of “CS”, 36th overall at the finish in Buenos Aires in 2015 (47th in 2017), is enough to inspire the motocross and enduro riders who will already have an endurance test to pass on the Baja India with two stages of more than 200 kms of sand and tracks over two days. There will be a victor of the Dakar Challenge, who will win free entry to the 2017 edition of the Merzouga Rally. If the winner can also ride strong in the Moroccan dunes, he will have an excellent chance of becoming the third competitor to represent India on the Dakar… in January 2018.