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ADV NewsPol Tarres First Ever To Win Morocco Rally On Two-Cylinder ADV Bike

Pol Tarres First Ever To Win Morocco Rally On Two-Cylinder ADV Bike

The Spaniard makes history at the grueling 8-stage Morocco Desert Challenge.

Published on 04.22.2024

Pol Tarres and the Tenere 700 have made history in the sands of Africa as he claimed a stunning victory at the 2024 Morocco Desert Challenge against rivals on specialized 450cc Rally machines. Winning six stages, including the final timed special, the Spaniard became the first rider to ever win the rally on a twin-cylinder adventure motorcycle. 

After an extremely tough 2023 edition that tragically took the life of two participants, this year’s grueling 8-stage Morocco Desert Challenge race covered even more terrain. The 3,000 km route was described by organizers as the ‘full monty,’ connecting the Mediterranean sea and Atlantic ocean through some of the toughest terrain on the planet. 

Pol Tarres Becomes First Rider To Win Morocco Rally Raid On Twin-Cylinder ADV Bike
Photo: RallyCool

For Pol, this is his first-ever desert rally victory. The Andorran had led the rally right from the start, attacking as hard as he could, even though he had the disadvantage of leading most of the stages. Incredibly, he won the first four timed specials in style, opening up a significant lead in the overall standings, before sandstorms on the fifth stage saw a more mature side emerge from Tarrés as he patiently waited for the worst to pass before finishing the day in second.


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The most challenging day coming into the final stage for Pol was the sixth stage, as he had to enter damage limitation mode due to a couple of errors in the roadbook with two missing waypoints. Yet, amazingly, he still managed to finish the special in fourth. The former hard enduro rider bounced back with another victory on the penultimate special before powering to his sixth stage win on Saturday to crown a sublime display.

Pol Tarres Becomes First Rider To Win Morocco Rally Raid On Twin-Cylinder ADV Bike
Photo: RallyCool

Tarres has only been competing in Rally Raid since 2022, making his achievements in Morocco even more impressive, especially as he was riding without his usual teammate Alessandro Botturi due to a schedule clash for the experienced Italian, as he instead focused on fighting for the title in the 2024 Italian Motorally Championship.

A podium finisher in the 2023 edition of the Morocco Desert Challenge, coming into the 118 km final stage, Tarrés had a lead in the general classification of over two hours and twenty minutes. Knowing this, Pol just had to bring it home to seal his first rally victory in Africa, adding to his win at the 2023 TransAnatolia and his third-place finish at the Africa Eco Race in January.

Pol Tarres Becomes First Rider To Win Morocco Rally Raid On Twin-Cylinder ADV Bike
Photo: Yamaha

Instead of taking it easy, especially as the stage was a real challenge for the riders’ navigational skills, he attacked on his Ténéré 700 World Rally with the three-stage GYTR Kits fitted to win the special in one hour, ten minutes, and five seconds.

“It has been tough physically and mentally, with 8 challenging stages featuring lots of difficult navigation,” says Pol. “What made it even harder was that I was opening every day, and each stage had varied layouts, including everything from fast trails, broken rocky tracks, and of course the infamous Moroccan dunes.”

Pol Tarres Becomes First Rider To Win Morocco Rally Raid On Twin-Cylinder ADV Bike
Photo: Yamaha

Pol’s commanding performance meant he took the overall victory by an astounding margin of two hours, 21 minutes, and six seconds, a feat made all the more remarkable due to the fact he was competing against lighter single-cylinder 450cc prototype machines.

Pol Tarres Becomes First Rider To Win Morocco Rally Raid On Twin-Cylinder ADV Bike
Photo: Photo-Vision.be

Racing alongside Pol as a part of the Ténéré Spirit Experience was Stephane Poulet. The French rider made it a Yamaha one-two in the M1.2 class (601cc and above) and claimed a best stage finish of 12th overall, ending the rally in a respectable 17th in the general classification.

Next up for Tarrés and the Ténéré Yamaha Rally Team is the Hellas Rally in Greece from the 27th of May to the 2nd of June.

Top 10 General Standings

Pol Tarres Becomes First Rider To Win Morocco Rally Raid On Twin-Cylinder ADV Bike

Author: ADV Pulse Staff
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Garrett
Garrett
April 22, 2024 5:12 pm

Here’s my post from May 3, 2023 on this site regarding Pol’s podium at the Morocco Desert Challenge. I believe it has proved itself out:

“Historically, this is exactly the kind of result we would expect from a professional rider on a twin cylinder motorcycle. A big twin, in the right hands, should trounce a 450cc single in a rally event.

Consider the 950/990. KTM designed the 950 for Dakar. It smashed the competition. In fact, it was so bloody good (and deadly fast) that the event organizers had to restructure the entire category and restrict engine size to just 450cc. That’s why the pros are on 450s. It’s not because they are better.

We’re simply seeing a resurgence of that (otherwise obvious) bigger is better logic in rally events that aren’t called Dakar. We can expect to see more of it.

Pol is still a rally rookie. He’ll soon be grabbing wins. And then other pros will follow.

Think how scary Toby Price or Sam Sunderland would be on a twin…”

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