It was a day of disaster for New Zealand’s Chris Birch on day four of the Dakar Rally in South America, although he has since turned things around and is now climbing back up the placings to be 45th overall after five days yesterday.
Birch had a good start to day four but, shortly after Waypoint 2, he crashed.
His 16-second call back to his wife Monica was enough for him to tell her: “Hi, I’ve had a crash, I’m fine, the bike is broken, but I can fix it, but I’m ok, I just didn’t want you to worry, love you bye!’”
He came in at WP3 in 149th place, by WP4 he was in 121st, so obviously catching up a bit, and he ended the day at 99th in the stage, sitting in 53rd overall – which is not bad considering he lost over an hour after the crash.
“I had a hell of a crash, a real big s**t mixer! Someone ran into me and off I went. I walked away without a scratch but the bike was quite damaged – the oil cooler was broken.
“I tried instant metal and that didn’t work. So I had to strip down the bike and bypass the oil cooler and work some Kiwi magic into it. I lost HEAPS of time I know, but it was all fixable and luckily I was fine. Of course I wish it didn’t happen but it’s not the end of the world and I am just going to get on with the rest of the race.”
It was a much shorter day on day five yesterday, the bike stage cut short because of torrential rain.
Birch started 100th off the rank, after his disastrous day the day before, and ended in 42nd spot and 45th overall.
Meanwhile, at the top of the leader board, Spanish rider Marc Coma was also working hard to recover from disaster.
Following a navigation error on day three, KTM factory rider Coma (pictured above) rode with a passion on day four to take his second stage victory in Dakar 2012 and claw back two minutes on overall leader and team-mate Cyril Despres. Both riders are going for their fourth Dakar title.
The riders now head into Chile.