Joan Barreda, untouchable in the Vegas to Reno race

Team HRC’s Joan Barreda has scooped a fine win in the twentieth edition of America’s legendary ‘Vegas to Reno’. The Spaniard, astride the Honda CRF450 RALLY, dominated the 1000 kilometres of Nevada dust and desert which connect the two cities.

Joan Barreda proved to be the fastest over the 644 mile ‘Vegas to Reno’ – the longest off-road race in the USA. The race, now in its twentieth year, featured no less than 342 participants. This is the second straight win for Joan Barreda after July’s Baja Aragón triumph and the fourth consecutive victory for Team HRC. The growing list includes: the Merzouga Rally in Morocco, the Desafío Ruta 40 in Argentina, Spain’s Baja Aragón and now the Vegas to Reno race in the U.S.

Joan Barreda and Michael Metge made it clear that the Honda CRF450 RALLY is a lethal weapon in the desert. The Spanish rider, starting out from third position, finished the first day’s 475 kilometre stint in second spot. Barreda continued to up the ante with an excellent performance on his maiden Nevada Desert adventure. The Team HRC rider then scorched through the 560 kilometres of dust on day two, holding the lead throughout the day and crossing the line with a 7’30” advantage over the nearest second-place rival.

Frenchman Metge favoured less well after a heavy blow to the rear wheel in the first stage made handling difficult. In addition, the rider was sanctioned with a hefty 30 minute penalty for changing the wheel. In spite of having to start from back in twentieth position on Sunday, Metge fought back through the accumulation of dust on the track to take fifth spot on the day and sixth overall.

Team HRC have spent several weeks testing in the Californian desert under the auspices of Johnny Campbell and the JCR Team, who also offered assistance throughout the Vegas to Reno race. The American expressed his satisfaction at the way the team have worked: “We’ve worked really hard with the riders over the last few weeks, both myself and the guys from the JCR Team. We had a great time working with Joan and Mika and I hope to work with Team HRC to achieve the victory at the Dakar. I wish to thank Joan, Mika, all at Team HRC and the staff of JCR for a great job done in the Vegas to Reno 2016, achieving a great triumph for Team HRC. Many thanks also to Taichi Honda and Team HRC for placing their trust in Team JCR to help build a better programme to win the 2017 Rally Dakar”.

 

Chris Glaspell

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