Around 100km into Stage 8 of the Dakar Rally 2019, Stuart Gregory was forced to retire from this year’s event due to engine failure. His motorcycle stalled at around the 100km mark of yesterday’s stage, and although he was able to restart it, after a further 25km it gave up the ghost completely.
Despite employing every trick he’s learned in his long Enduro racing career, and even using his satellite phone to “call a friend” for remote technical support, Stuart was forced to accept that his Dakar was over.
With Stuart’s withdrawal, there are now only 18 riders remaining in his Original by Motul class of the 35 who began the Dakar Rally 2019. This 50% rate of attrition speaks volumes as to just how demanding an event this is – especially for riders who attempt it unassisted.
Gregory returned to Pisco by helicopter and car, but despite this cruel turn of events, he was able to calmly reflect on the end of his own Dakar journey.
“The Dakar is over for me,” confirmed Stuart, “I’m really, really disappointed, especially as I was so close to the end. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but now I am just looking forward to coming home”.
Speaking from the Pisco bivouac, Stuart described his Dakar Rally 2019 experience as “awesome” and he was quick to thank his sponsors for their support. He was concerned that he had let everyone down, but even though he failed to finish the Dakar, it’s impossible not to feel immensely proud of Stuart’s achievement in completing 7 stages under gruelling conditions, and all while carrying out all his own motorcycle maintenance.
Mercia Jansen, Motul Area Manager for Southern and Eastern Africa, commented, “Stuart Gregory showed true Motul spirit throughout the Dakar Rally 2019 and has been a great Ambassador for our brand,”. “I can’t even imagine how disappointed Stuart must be feeling, but we look forward to working with him again in the future”.
Gregory’s priority is now returning home to his wife and family in South Africa, but he will leave Peru with incredible memories of its people and landscapes – and of the Dakar Rally 2019.