Friday 1 January 2021

Brian Baragwanath targets "a top ten result" in 2021 Dakar Rally.

PHOTO CREDIT: Brian Baragwanath Racing
We're just days away from the 2021 Dakar Rally getting underway in Saudi Arabia, and things are beginning to heat up for Team Century Racing, as two seasoned South African athletes, Brian Baragwanath and Calheine "Taye" Perry are gearing up for the start of a thrilling new adventure. 

Brian will be driving the South African engineered and built Century Racing CR6 buggy, with Taye Perry alongside as his female co-pilot. 

The duo, in the Team Century Racing #339 entry, consists of Brian Baragwanath, a multiple Quad, Off-road Champion and 3rd overall in the Quad Category Dakar 2016, and Taye Perry, a multiple Off-road Champion, and Dakar Rally 2020 Finisher.

Baragwanath lived his first Dakar rallies on a quad bike in South America. And, despite retiring from his first Dakar in 2015, he impressed a year later when he finished on the podium in the quad's category. Unfortunately, a severe elbow injury forced him to stop riding and turn to four wheels. 

"After my appearances on the Dakar which was great, I suffered a big crash in 2016, injuring my elbow. That, and the fact that I started a family (married, with two children) pulled me away from bikes. I was looking for a new challenge," Baragwanath said (in an interview with A.S.O)

The lady behind the road-book in charge of navigation (this year) successfully completed her first Dakar Rally just a year ago in Saudi Arabia, on a bike. 

The 2020 Dakar wasn't the easiest for her after coming off her KTM bike on the penultimate day at km240, but her grid and determination helped her make it to the end of the stage. A fellow competitor from the car category towed her in, and under the new regulations, she was required to push her bike for the final few hundred meters to complete the stage. Perry then set-off to work on fixing her bike for the final stage of the Dakar the next day.

This year, she will trade two wheels for the navigator's seat alongside Brian. 

"I immediately accepted when offered the chance to go racing in both the South African Cross Country series and the 2021 Dakar. I think it all came together remarkably quickly in the car because both bike and quad off-road racers are instinctive navigators, used to reacting immediately at high speeds," she said (in an interview with A.S.O). "Having the luxuries of an air-conditioned cabin, a seat, a safety harness and a roll-cage around one feels like a sheer indulgence. So, the least we can do is give it our all."

Both Brian and Taye have high expectations, as they will compete in a Century Racing CR6 that has already proven to be competitive last year. 

"We have spent months preparing for the Dakar Rally, and we are aiming for a top ten result," Brian Baragwanath said. 

"It’s been a challenging journey, to say the least, but fortunately we received massive support from our supporters and sponsors. These include trusted South African brands, such as Century Racing, CompCare Medical Scheme, Caltex Havoline SA, Dozer Earthmoving, and Trollope Mining Services."

The 2021 Dakar Rally will ease all participants into a competitive mindset with a short 11km Prologue on Saturday, 2 January 2020, setting up a safe starting order for the first 277 km stage on 3 January 2021. With unadulterated desert, extreme endurance conditions, tough terrains, navigational hazards, marathon stages, and 100km up-and-down-racing, it is bound to push the competitors to their limits. Spanning 14 days, the Dakar 2021 route will require skillful driving and navigation, as well as careful management of mechanical aspects. 

"Only the toughest competitors are expected to cross the finish line in the Saudi Arabian port city of Jeddah. We look forward to representing our sponsors and our Country!" Brian concluded. 

Written By: Junaid Samodien.

Photo Credit: Century Racing. 

Additional Information: Dakar Interview.

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