20-04-2018

Smits lets Patrao go in sixth stage

With a difference of more than an hour in the classification of the motorbikes, it did not make much sense for Maikel Smits in the sixth stage of the Morocco Desert Challenge to go hunting for his Portuguese competitor Mario Patrao. Especially when Smits twisted his knee on a strip with lots of stones. Only when something happens to Patrao, who won todays stage and leads the standings, in the last two days, he will not win the MDC this year - although it would not be the first time that the classification leader gets into trouble on the last day. In the quads category the victory went to Gerard List, who leads the classification with a margin of 10 hours.

Maikel Smits: "I do not assume something will happen to Patrao, but you never know. Therefore it did not make sense to take all the risks to stay with him today. We started two by two, so we left together and until the lunch and tank stop (at kilometer 181 of the total 308) we drove together. I was in front for most of the time especially in the dunes. The navigation went well, but on one stretch in the dunes we drove straight into the sun. That was difficult, because you see nothing. After the stop there was a quick part with lots of stones and holes and there I let Patrao go. Maybe I should have taken the initiative more, but I did not want to go into the dust.

In an oued with many large stones I slipped on a big stone and I heard my knee crack. It was not fast, at most 20 km / h, but I stopped for a moment to feel if there was nothing broken in my knee. It was not so bad, but on a very technical piece with big holes I did a bit more careful. By then Patrao was already out of sight, and I did not bother to call him anymore. Those trial sections are not my best. I can do it, but I'm actually too tall for it. On such parts, Patrao, who is smaller, has the advantage. I can keep up, but I can not close in.

Yet it was a beautiful day. The dunes were fantastic. It is much better in the morning than in the afternoon, because in the morning they are more solid and you see more depth. I wanted to make my own path. If I could have gained some time somewhere, it was there, but he stayed tactically in my wheel. More than an hour is not that easy to overcome anyway, not even in the dunes."

Gerard List: "If you do not do crazy things and just navigate neatly, you can get very far in this rally. That is clear, because I am certainly not the fastest, but I have had little delay, while the others are constantly making mistakes or breaking the lot. Monday (stage 2) I had a bad day. It was the first time that I drove such a long stage with the quad and with so many stones. My hands were completely cramped. I had already lost my main competitors on Wednesday. Alex Brusselers had already had two days of troubles at the time and the Frenchman who was in the lead, passed me by flying low, but a little later he came back and I have not seen him since. Lost from the face of the earth.

It goes well in terms of driving. I have not suffered much, although I notice that I am not the youngest anymore. The navigation is fine, that is my strongest asset. And the quad is also very good. We had a lot of work one night because I had forgotten to replace a number of parts preventively, but that did not cost me. Now that I am in the lead, I naturally want to keep it. I can afford something, but I do not want that. The ssv of Jan Miltenburg therefore now has some parts and a spare wheel with them and they remain short behind me in case. A quad with fast assistance, I would have never imagined that."

Don't limit your challenges. Challenge your limits.

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