Wednesday, February 21, 2024

2023 Rallye du Maroc: Toby Hederics, WiIlliam Grarre win Road to Dakar

Toby Hederics has a blueprint to take him to his Dakar Rally début in 2025, running races in his home country of Australia as well as select World Rally-Raid Championship events. As it turns out, he only needed one round overseas to already have his registration for Dakar guaranteed.

Hederics and fifty-four other riders entered the W2RC’s season-ending Rallye du Maroc with the goal of winning the Road to Dakar, a programme that waives the Dakar Rally entry fee for the top-performing riders and SSV drivers with no prior experience there. Despite his lack of experience outside of Australia, Hederics impressed as he finished sixth overall in the Rally2 class and seventeenth among all bikes to earn his ticket to Dakar. In the smaller, six-car SSV Road to Dakar, William Grarre did the same after surviving a brutal race.

Jaromír Romančík started on a strong note as he won Stage #1 and was the fastest RtD bike entrant through the rally’s halfway mark after three legs, though Hederics was behind him by just two minutes. A malfunctioning roadbook and a crash in the first third of Stage #4 caused Romančík to lose the top spot, though he managed to finish eleventh in Rally2. Hederics beat him by 7:35 in the fifth and final stage to clinch the RtD; Romančík was the only rider within an hour of Hederics.

While already secured his spot at Dakar 2025, Hederics’ roadmap also includes running the 2024 Rallye du Maroc and Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge to gain more desert racing experience.

“This rally was a lot of firsts for me,” said Hederics. “First time riding the rally bike, first time racing an international rally, first time meeting the race team and first time racing such long days. Everything was new to me so I went in with no real expectations other than to learn and finished the rally to I can qualify for Dakar.

“To say that I finished 17th overall and 6th in class just blows my mind and I could not have ask for much more.”

Jon Florea and Dominique Cizeau Girault were the only RtD riders who were also competing for points in the World Rally-Raid Championship.

Other entrants included Guillaume Borne for the Rallye du Maroc-organised Africa Rallye Team, Fang Xiangliang from Kove Moto’s factory team, Dakar legend Fabrizio Meoni’s son Gioele Meoni, sand racing veteran Marshall Méplon, Borja Pérez Casimiro from the neighbouring Spaish town of Melilla, and brothers Carl and Craig Searles. Those like Sébastien Herbet were already accepted to compete at the 2024 Dakar Rally, but hoped to get the entry fee cleared from their list of expenses by winning the RtD. Besides Hederics, Romain Bouzigon, Maxime Pouponnot, and Jonathan Savel were among those eyeing the 2025 race in particular.

On the SSV side, Eduard Pons seemed to be the favourite after dominating the previous W2RC round in Argentina before a tie rod broke late. He ended up with a repeat of the Desafío Ruta 40 as he won three of the first four stages before his gearbox failed in the final stage.

Amidst Pons’ stage wins, Grarre maintained a consistent pace that kept him fourth overall in the T4 class for much of the rally as he battled with those like Sonora Rally Road to Dakar winner Sara Price. He dropped to sixth after Stage #4 before moving up to fifth following Pons’ retirement.

Other competitors to have secured the Road to Dakar during the 2023 season include Tobias Ebster (Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge), Francisco Alvarez (Sonora), Jayden Els (1000 Desert Race), and Juan Santiago Rostan and Juan José Semino (DR 40). RtD winners may use their registration at the 2024 or 2025 Dakar Rallies.

The Road to Dakar will return in 2024 at all four W2RC rounds, the 1000 Desert Race, and the Sonora Rally.

Road to Dakar results

Bike

Finish Number Rider Team Time Margin
1 71 Toby Hederics BAS World KTM Racing Team 19:11:16 Leader
2 106 Jaromír Romančík Orion – Moto Racing Group 19:18:51 + 7:35
3 110 Salvador Guiomar Vargas Xraids Experience 20:20:27 + 1:09:11
4 70 Jérôme Bas Team Giroud Universal Ride 20:23:47 + 1:12:31
5 54 Josep Pedró Subirats Xraids Experience 20:48:19 + 1:37:03
6 94 Alexandre Vaudan Team Casteu 21:01:13 + 1:49:57
7 49 Fang Xiangliang Kove Moto 21:22:16 + 2:11:00
8 107 Dušan Drdaj Orion – Moto Racing Group 21:53:56 + 2:42:40
9 83 Marshall Méplon Marshall Méplon 22:04:45 + 2:53:29
10 128 Clément Artaud Team Dumontier Racing 22:16:51 + 3:05:35
11 108 Julien Dalbec Nomade Racing 22:37:12 + 3:25:56
12 136 Guillaume Borne Africa Rallye Team 22:41:41 + 3:30:25
13 105 Martin Prokeš Orion – Moto Racing Group 22:43:40 + 3:32:24
14 133 Yael Kadshai Nomade Racing 22:54:52 + 3:43:36
15 67 Bruno Leblanc Bruno Leblanc 23:01:53 + 3:50:37
16 87 Damien Bataller Team DB Racing 23:39:22 + 4:28:06
17 100 Stéphane Brunaud Nomade Racing 23:44:07 + 4:32:51
18 90 Adrien Costes Nomade Racing 23:56:24 + 4:45:08
19 123 Fabian Von Thuengen HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing 24:04:58 + 4:53:42
20 125 Ganzorig Chuluun HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing 24:37:36 + 5:26:20
21 115 Adrien Roland RM Nature et Énergie 24:38:37 + 5:27:21
22 112 Sébastien Herbet Team Dumontier Racing 24:52:23 + 5:41:07
23 80 Mykolas Paulavicius Mykolas Paulavicius Dakar Team 25:07:59 + 5:56:43
24 85 Jean-Philippe Révolte Révolte Racing 25:21:43 + 6:10:27
25 82 Christopher Jautard Nomade Racing 25:46:08 + 6:34:52
26 57 Gad Nachmani Club Aventura Touareg 25:57:16 + 6:46:00
27 104 Benjamin Bourdariat RS Concept Team 26:03:49 + 6:52:33
28 97 Maxime Pouponnet Team Maxime Pouponnet 26:06:47 + 6:55:31
29 84 Carl Searles Searles2Dakar 27:05:49 + 7:54:33
30 81 Jonathan Savel Jonathan Savel 28:04:58 + 8:53:42
31 102 Borja Pérez Casimiro Borja Pérez Casimiro 28:12:35 + 9:01:19
32 120 Ramon Vidal Bregante Ramon Vidal Bregante 28:18:36 + 9:07:20
33 99 Craig Searles Searles2Dakar 28:48:47 + 9:37:31
34 56 Rémy Brochart RM Nature et Énergie 28:53:11 + 9:41:55
35 40 Jon Florea Gerula Racing 29:11:48 + 10:00:32
36 95 Rémy Moreau Nomade Racing 30:07:59 + 10:56:43
37 58 Dennis Mildenberger Nomadas Adventure 31:53:51 + 12:42:35
38 103 Loïc Peyrichout Team LPC 40:54:28 + 21:43:12
39 89 Paul Costes Nomade Racing 41:14:12 + 22:02:56
40 96 Frédéric Baudry Nomade Racing 56:55:10 + 37:43:54
41 116 Slawomir Sypien DUUST Diverse Racing 71:15:10 + 52:03:54
42 62 Frédéric Grignion RM Nature et Énergie 80:02:34 + 60:51:18
43 69 Jorge Escobedo Gil Pedrega Team 81:55:58 + 62:44:42
44 121 John Spelier HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing 83:18:38 + 64:07:22
DNF 36 Dominique Cizeau Girault Xraids Experience DNF N/A
DNF 59 Darren Goodman Nomadas Adventure DNF N/A
DNF 64 Modestas Siliunas AG Dakar School DNF N/A
DNF 92 Gediminas Satkus AG Dakar School DNF N/A
DNF 101 Guillaume Rosier Guillaume Rosier DNF N/A
DNF 117 Jakub Krezymon DUUST Diverse Racing DNF N/A
DNF 119 Steff Rowe Steff Rowe DNF N/A
DNF 126 Gioele Meoni Dakar4Dakar DNF N/A
DNF 127 Ferran Zaragoza Rosa Pedrega Team DNF N/A
DNF 139 Romain Bouzigon Team Esprit KTM DNF N/A

T4

Finish Number Driver Co-Driver Team Time Margin
1 420 William Grarre Julien Vincent Team Horizon Off-Road 21:50:39 Leader
2 416 Jeremie Renou Nicolas Larroquet YDEO Competition 23:03:19 + 1:20:40
3 411 Grzegorz Brochocki Grzegorz Komar Overlimit 42:50:48 + 21:00:09
4 407 Adrien Choblet Laurent Magat Team Casteu 43:53:29 + 22:02:50
DNF 405 Eduard Pons Marc Erra Jove South Racing Can-Am DNF N/A
DNF 417 Hervé Guillaume Maxime Guillaume BTR-Driverspark DNF N/A

Road to Dakar stage winners

Stage Bike Time SSV Time
Prologue Jaromír Romančík 1:01:10.6 (12:14.6) Eduard Pons 12:40.8
Stage #1 Salvador Guiomar Vargas 3:39:57 William Grarre 4:37:42
Stage #2 Jaromír Romančík 3:33:02 Eduard Pons 3:49:36
Stage #3 Toby Hederics 3:40:42 Eduard Pons 3:56:55
Stage #4 Toby Hederics 4:25:55 Jeremie Renou 4:52:13
Stage #5 Toby Hederics 19:11:16 Grzegorz Brochocki 2:50:43

Overall winners

Class Number Competitor Team Time
T1 201 Yazeed Al-Rajhi Toyota Gazoo Racing 14:49:09
T2 251 Ronald Basso* Team Land Cruiser Toyota Auto Body 22:14:17
T3 315 Marek Goczał EnergyLandia Rally Team 16:22:12
T4 403 João Ferreira South Racing Can-Am 18:26:24
T5 506 Michiel Becx* Team de Rooy 21:32:34
RallyGP 8 Toby Price Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 15:56:43
Rally2 32 Bradley Cox BAS World KTM Racing Team 17:06:37
Rally3 164 Cheikh Yves Jacquemain Africa Rallye Team 23:42:39
Quad 186 Alexandre Giroud* Drag’on Rally Team 21:07:24
Open Auto 601 Jérôme Cambier* MD Rallye Sport 21:21:46
Open SSV 653 Tomas Mickus* BRO Racing 21:42:23
Road to Dakar Bike 71 Toby Hederics* BAS World KTM Racing Team 19:11:16
Road to Dakar SSV 420 William Grarre* Team Horizon Off-Road 21:50:39
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