Hero MotoSports Team Rally completed the Silkway Rally 2019 in a top 10 posiiton in the overall rankings. With a consistent performance across all the stages, the team's rider Oriol Mena finished in sixth place, while rider Paulo Goncalves finished in 15th place in what was his first race with Hero. Mena was at his consistent best over all the stages and even secured three stage podiums including the team's maiden stage win in an international rally. Goncalves, meanwhile, had a raked in four stage podiums over the 10 stage rally and had an impressive run, barring the mechanical failure in Stage six that denied him a better result.
After a top 10 finish in the Silkway Rally 2019, Oriol Mena said, "I am really happy with to finish the 2019 Silk Way Rally, especially because I won one stage for the team. I finished sixth overall and very happy with this result. Congratulations also to my team mate Paulo for a great first race with the team. Many thanks to my teammates for doing a great job during the rally. My thanks to the entire Hero family for their support and encouragement to us. I have learnt a lot in this race and now I take this experience and go back to my training for the next races."
Speaking on his maiden race with Hero MotoSports, Paulo Goncalves said, "I am so happy to finish the Silk Way Rally 2019. It has been a good rally for me as I secured 4 stage podiums. It was a really long and tough rally running over 5000 kms, so I tried to push hard and increase my speed with every stage. Especially in China I did really well in the tough stages. For me the important thing was to get my first race experience with my team Hero MotoSports. So, thanks to the entire team for this opportunity and giving me fantastic support throughout the rally. I am confident that with this bike and team, it is possible to fight for the top positions in the upcoming rallies."
Wolfgang Fischer, Team Manager, Hero MotoSports Team Rally said, "We are very happy to have both the riders finishing safely in this new big adventure in the far-east. The Silk Way Rally turned out to be a fantastic race through the magnificent landscapes of Russia, Mongolia and China and opened a new horizon in the cross country rally sport. For Hero MotoSports Team Rally, it was a big step up in competitiveness, collecting six stage podiums and a maiden stage win. Paulo showed his world class pace and experience in two of the most difficult stages in China, but lost out in the overall results due to a technical issue in the stage six. It was really high level of competition in the rally as evident from stage wins for all five factory teams, so all in all a very good race. My compliments to both the riders and thanks to my ever professional and efficient team mates."
In what would one of the last motorsport events under Dr. Markus Braunsperger, the current Hero Chief Technology Officer said, "My congratulations to the entire team for their highly successful campaign at the Silk Way Rally. It was a particularly interesting race, being the only other race similar in length and competitiveness to the Dakar. So our performance here is even more gratifying. With the experience of Paulo and JRod and the firepower of Oriol and Santosh, we now have a combination that can definitely fight for top positions. As I am transitioning out of the role of CTO, Hero MotoCorp and Head of Hero MotoSports, I want to thank the team for having given me the opportunity to be a part of so many proud moments, the most memorable being on the finish podium of our very first Dakar in 2017. Lastly, my earnest thanks to all our fans and supporters for making this journey even more special."
The final stage of the Silkway Rally 2019 concluded in Chinese city of Dunhuang, with the riders completing a final run of 556 km that included 255 km of special edition. The terrain offered a long stretch of sand dunes and broken surface as the riders made their way to the top finish line. The Silkway Rally also turned out to be a learning experience for the Indian team offering a new competitive level and terrains.
Paulo Goncalves completed Stage 10 in seventh place, 7m34s behind the stage leader Kevin Benavides of Honda, and is placed 15th in overall rankings. Oriol Mena, meanwhile, finished ninth 7m34s behind the Benavides. Sam Sunderland of Red Bull KTM was crowned the winner of the Silkway Rally 2019.
Stage 10 Rankings:
1. Kevin Benavides (Monster Energy Honda) - 02h40m49ss
2. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha Rally Team) - +01m 50s
3. Andrew Short (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) - +02m 02s
7. Paulo Goncalves (Hero MotoSports) - +05m 36s
Oriol Mena (Hero MotoSports) - +07m 34s
1. Sam Sunderland (RedBull KTM) - 26h12m47s
2. Andrew Short (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) - +20m22s
3. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha Rally Team) - +21m 01s
6. Oriol Mena (Hero MotoSports) - +51m 50s
15. Paulo Goncalves (Hero MotoSports) - +27h 06m 07s