With the 2022 Dakar Rally more than halfway completed, Australians Molly Taylor and Dale Moscatt have been enjoying a solid run in their maiden campaign.
Seven stages in the world’s most famous off road race have run to date, with a combined entry list of 551 bikes and four-wheeled vehicles lined up at the start of the race in Saudi Arabia.
Running against 44 other crews in the SSV class, Taylor and Moscatt have performed strongly in the opening seven stages, with some impressive stages leaving them currently sitting 13th in class and 30 minutes behind the next crew of David Zille and Sebastian Cesana. Currently, five hours separate the pair from class leaders Austin Jones and Gustabo Gugelmin.
The Aussie duo started off the event strong with a sixth-place finish in Prologue but dropped down the order after finishing stage 1B in P15. It didn’t take long for Taylor to fight her way back with a fantastic run on stage two, which saw her move into the SSV top 10 thanks to an eighth place stage finish.
Continuing her momentum on stage three, Taylor worked her way up to as high as fifth during the 255km stage, only for multiple mechanical issues and a tyre puncture saw her cross the line in 10th.
During the next stage, the event’s biggest, Taylor again found herself in the top five but fell victim to Dakar’s harsh conditions halfway through the 465-kilometre stage and damaged the front suspension after landing heavily after crosisng one of the many dunes.
With no spare parts on board, she had to limp her way to the finish line and eventually made it back but had lost lots of time and dropped down the SSV rankings to outside the top 20.
Despite the setback, Taylor bounced back in style with 10th place on stage five, before enjoying back-to-back top 10 finishes on the 402-kilometre sixth stage with P9.
Following on from the much-needed rest day, Taylor then came in at 12th on stage seven, to consolidate her class position of 13th.
Click here to view the rankings.
Taylor isn’t the only Australian in action at Dakar with off road legend and two-time Dakar winner Toby Price just outside the top 10 in the outright bikes.
Another Aussie in Daniel Sanders enjoyed a strong start to the race, having won three bike stages overall before an unfortunate crash ahead of stage seven.
Just five stages remain in the race with crews scheduled to complete a further 1567 competitive kilometres remaining.