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ADV NewsPol Tarres Grabs Podium At Morocco Desert Challenge On Tenere 700

Pol Tarres Grabs Podium At Morocco Desert Challenge On Tenere 700

Yamaha gets two T7s in the top four against specialized 450cc rally machines.

Published on 05.02.2023

History has been made in the sands of Merzouga as Pol Tarres snatched a podium position on his Tenere 700 World Raid Team bike at the Morocco Desert Challenge, against rivals on specialized 450cc machines. The Spaniard not only secured an impressive third place overall but also took the victory in the Big Bike category with teammate Rodney Faggotter taking second place in the class and fourth overall.

The grueling 2,000 km, 8-stage Morocco Desert Challenge race was extremely tough this year due to a heat wave in the area with unprecedented high temperatures. Several competitors decided to exit the rally due to the dangerous conditions, which tragically took the life of Dutch rider Bram van der Wouden in Stage 5. Unfortunately, Stage 4 was also struck by tragedy when a vehicle collision resulted in the death of co-pilot Laurent Lichtleuchter.

Pol Tarres / Facebook


For Tarrés, it was his first overall podium in just his third rally. His overall time of 23 hours, 41 minutes and nine seconds showcased the ability of the 29-year-old and the potential of the Ténéré 700 World Raid machine, with the twin-cylinder adventure bike not missing a beat throughout the race and competing side by side with the 450cc prototypes. Tarrés was on the podium in five of the seven specials, with Stage 6 canceled, highlighting the improvements made by the rider since his Rally Raid debut at the Tunisia Desert Challenge in 2022.

Pol Tarres/ Facebook

His teammate Faggotter finished Stage 8 in ninth, as the Australian returned to competitive rally racing for the first time since Dakar 2020 after setting a time of one hour, 23 minutes and forty seconds. This saw the three-time Dakar finisher, filling in for regular rider Alessandro Botturi who was forced to miss the MDC due to a schedule conflict, claim fourth in the overall standings with a combined time of 24 hours, 14 minutes and 25 seconds.

Pol’s teammate, Rodney Faggotter, snatched an impressive fourth place overall. Together, the two riders gave Yamaha a 1-2 win in the Big Bike category.

The 47-year-old showed incredible consistency throughout the rally, despite suffering from bad luck on Stages 4 and 5 that saw him lose time, recording three podiums and finishing just 33 minutes and 26 seconds behind his teammate.

This ensured that the duo secured a 1-2 in the new for 2023 at the MDC Big Bike class, designed for motorcycles over 600cc, and in the process, wrote their name in the history books. After such a dominant display, the Ténéré World Raid Team are back in action at the Hellas Rally from the 21st-28th of May.

Morocco Desert Challenge Top 15 Overall Rankings

Author: ADV Pulse Staff

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May 2, 2023 9:40 pm

Impressive …

May 3, 2023 9:30 am

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…

Eric M.
Eric M.
May 8, 2023 10:08 am

Bravo! Hope Dakar starts allowing the big bikes again!


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