A GOOD FEELING IN THE WAY TO MEXICO
The countdown is on for the Sonora Rally, the third stop of this year’s World Rally Raid Championship. This race is new in the calendar and will take place in Mexico between the 22nd and 28th of April, starting in Hermosillo and finishing in San Luis.
Less than two months after the last race, the W2RC is back making history by moving for the first time to North America. Created in 2015, the Sonora Rally is named after the second largest state in Mexico. The race became quite popular especially among the local off-road community, led by Darren Skilton. The vision of this desert and rally raid enthusiast – who is also a Dakar veteran – is now living a new level by entering the official Rally Raid Championship.
Competing just on the other side of the American border, this time things will be quite different from the most common races in the region. Based on the traditional road book system and no assistance between start and finish, the race will have five stages connecting Hermosillo to San Luis, with a total of 1249 kilometers to tackle in the desert. Rocky tracks, dust and high temperatures will demand all energy and focus from riders during this week.
Monster Energy Honda Team rider Ricky Brabec will be almost racing in his backyard. The first American to win the Dakar Rally in the motorbike category is also a record holder in this competition, after winning in 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021. For this reason he will be for sure in the spotlight, like his teammate Adrien Van Beveren – who won the last race in the dunes of the Middle East in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. Chileans Pablo Quintanilla and José Ignacio Cornejo complete the squad.
Administrative and technical scrutineering will take place on April 22nd in Hermosillo, the same location for the prologue on the 23rd.
”Here we are for the third stop of this year's W2RC. After our win in the last race in Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge we feel strong and motivated to start the Sonora Rally in Mexico. Once again we will compete with four riders, as we did in the Dakar. Adrien Van Beveren is now second in the championship with a gap of just four points. We are also in second position in the Manufacturers Championship. We will face a new challenge and we are expecting a hard race. The team is united and all riders feel confident to tackle the Mexican desert tracks. The journey will be long and hard with over 2000 kms of special sections and liaisons to race. I also want to take this opportunity to thank all our sponsors and the team: riders, mechanics, engineers, drivers, logistics, helpers, physio, etc - all working together to go as far as possible”.
Adrien Van Beveren 42
”I am very happy with the prospect of another race, especially after winning the last one. Since I have signed with Monster Energy Honda Team we have done a lot of races, the first one was Rally du Maroc, followed by Andalucia Rally, Dakar and Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. This is very positive for our rhythm because we do not have so much time without racing. Precisely to help me with the rhythm I have been doing some Motocross preparation and when we arrive in the USA we will have some more preparation in the racing bikes. I am focussed and motivated to give Honda another victory, knowing that I have to start from zero and that I can’t take anything for granted”.
Ricky Brabec 2
”I am stoked that the championship is coming close to home for me. It's comfortable for me to head down to Mexico and race especially since I have done so well there. It's not gonna be easy, we have all teams joining in on this but hopefully we can give our best job and come out on top. Sonora Rally is full of the unknown and typically it's a fun event to attend, with great trails, dunes, food and people. Happy to head this way here in one week and hope to have a good result before our summer break”.
José Ignacio Cornejo 11
”We are almost ready for another race in the Rally Raid Championship. It is a new race, but I have been here before - two years ago - so I know the area a little bit. It is really a fun place to ride and I am looking forward to being at the start along with my teammates. We have been working really hard since the start of this season and it is great to see how we are improving in every race. This is the spirit, to keep in mind we have to perform better and better.”
Pablo Quintanilla 7
”Here we are about to start the third stop of the Rally Raid World Championship. It’s a new race in the calendar and at the same time a new adventure. I can see that the bikes category is getting more and more competitive and I am quite excited to be a part of it. In Abu Dhabi I did not have such luck but as we know this is rally and racing, we all have our ups and downs. In the meantime we have been working hard to improve the bike, already thinking about the next Dakar and for this purpose I have traveled to Japan. In the past few weeks I have worked hard to get back in shape, physically and also riding my Honda CRF 450 Rally. I feel good and motivated. Can’t wait for the start of the Sonora Rally.”