For the 2018 season of this African Challenge, Hero MotoSports Team Rally are set to take on Merzouga 2018 from the 15th of April which stands as an ideal opportunity for both our Heroes, CS SANTOSH and Oriol Mena to prepare for Dakar 2019.
The one-week long rally-raid will see our Heroes race through the Atlas Mountains and the north of the Sahara desert giving both of them the chance to discover the famous Merzouga dunes in a tough competition setting.
Looking back at performances in last year's Merzouga, our Indian star rider CS SANTOSH ended the Rally at 17th position in the overall standings while Oriol Mena finished 12th.
Stage 5: Hero MotoSports add one more successful Merzouga campaign to their tally
The Merzouga Rally came to an end with Oriol Mena finishing in top 15 at 15th position and C S Santosh finishing in top 20 with a 19th place. The team will take a lot of positives from this result considering that in this edition of the Afriquia Merzouga Rally, almost all the top teams and top riders of the Dakar were competing, imparting it a flavour of a "mini – Dakar".
Stage 3: Hero MotoSports ride through Stage 3 with grit
Stage three of the Afriquia Merzouga Rally marked the first of the two days of the Marathon stages. Oriol Mena, shrugging off a minor set back of stage 2, made good time today to climb up several places to finish the stage 3 in 14th position. CS SANTOSH also kept a steady momentum amidst zones of very soft dunes and tricky navigation to finish the stage 3 in 27th position. Overall, Oriol stand at 16th place and C S Santosh at 20th place at the end of 3 stages.
Stage 2: A solid stage 2 for Hero MotoSports Team Rally
Oriol started strong in the initial part of the stage and tackled the dunes and the navigation very well. In the later part of the stage he lost some time due to an electrical snag. C S Santosh, who was coming from behind, stopped over to help his team mate with a quick intervention that ensured that both the bikes reached the finish line safely to see through to another solid day for the team. Santosh too had a good run in the dunes as he got into a nice rhythm. Oriol finished the stage 2 in 25th position while C S Santosh closed the day in 28th position.
Stage 1: Hero MotoSports Team Rally starts steady
Both the riders from Hero MotoSports Team Rally delivered home a steady stage. Oriol Mena, the first of the two riders to start the stage, rode solid from the beginning, tackling the tricky navigation on offer, finishing 11th, in the stage as well as overall rankings. His teammate CS SANTOSH also made a cautious and steady start to his Merzouga campaign and brought the bike home safely, closing in at 20th place in the stage and overall rankings.
Prologue: A Positive Start For Hero MotoSports At Merzouga 2018
The team started their first international rally of the year, the Merzouga Rally 2018, on a positive note with the Prologue stage. The two-rider strong team of Oriol Mena (Rider No. 17) and CS SANTOSH (Rider No. 29) finished the 5km prologue stage, ridden in the large dunes in front of the Tombouctou hotel at setting of the sunset in the 13th and 27th position respectively. The Prologue stage was conducted to determine the starting order for the first stage of the rally, scheduled to be kicked off on 16th April.