Longreach Yamaha dealer, Rod Faggotter, finished in an amazing 14th place in the motorcycle division on board his Yamaha YZ450F, in one of the world most gruelling off road adventure events, the Dakar Rally held in South America.
Faggotter, racing for the European based HFP Yamaha team, battled his way through the 15 day event, across three countries and a wide variety of racing conditions, to finish 14th and be the highest finishing Australian rider in the event.
With each stage length varying between 500 to 1000kms, Faggotter overcame starting the event towards the rear of the field, as this was only his second attempt at the famed race, but he picked off riders each day and impressed many has he fought and clawed his way up the leader board.
196 riders started the event with only 125 completing the entire course. After 45 hours of racing, Faggotter's 14th place was some 2.5 hours behind eventual winner, Cyril Depres.
"What a tough and challenging event," Faggotter said at the completion of racing. "Every day there was a new challenge, whether it be the course, learning to read the maps, the other riders, cars or quads and then just the physical and mental pressure of staying focussed and on the job every time you get on the bike."
"The last few days were really tough as the course had some extremely technical sections and fatigue was a real factor for everyone. Thankfully, I was able to keep it together, get through each day the best I could and we got to the finish line. I'm pretty relieved right now and looking forward to a couple of days rest."
Faggotter, and the other two members of the HFP Yamaha team, were all YZ450F mounted with all three riders finishing inside the top 14. If there was even a doubt regarding the durability and performance of the YZ450F, then the 2013 Dakar event continued to prove the Yamaha motocross machine is as tough and reliable as they come.
"I don't really recall any major issues with the bike other than the ones I inflicted on it," Faggotter laughs. "I had a few crashes out there and bent and twisted a few things up, but the bike kept on going perfectly and I really enjoyed racing it in these conditions."
"I also want to thank the HFP team for their support in the lead up and throughout the event. Having an experienced and knowledgeable team behind you makes my job on the bike so much easier. Yamaha Australia has also been a huge help in getting me into this position, so again, thank you to them."
Rods performance hasn't gone unnoticed, as the little known Australia rider with a Yamaha motorcycle shop in western Queensland, battled with the sports' biggest names and had several riders and teams looking through the program who the number 123 with the Aussie flag on his bike was.
Yamaha Australia's Ray Howard joined the chorus of admirers and offered, "On behalf of Yamaha Motor, I would like to congratulate Rod on a sensational effort in this years' Dakar event. To finish the event is an accomplishment in itself but Rod rode exceptionally well and to finish 14th in this event is an amazing feat. It was a job well done and he has earned himself a couple of days rest and hopefully he can back in 2014 and crack the top 10."
When asked about next years' event, Faggotter is keen to give it another crack. "Now that I have shown that I'm capable of being up the front and can do well, the HFP team has already spoken about stepping up support and also with this years' finish I should be able to start near the front of the field and not have to contend with the dust like this year."
"I now know what to expect and can alter my preparations to suit. I'm satisfied to finish 14th and the effort was all worthwhile. The aim now is to come back next year and improve on this result," Faggotter ends.
Rod is due back in Australia in the next few days where he will start his preparations for his 2013 domestic season as the spear head of the Yamaha Desert Racing team. He will compete in a range of events throughout the year including the Australian Safari and Condobolin 750.
To follow Rod and his team on Facebook: www.facebook.com/yamahadesertracing
2013 Dakar Results
1st Cyril Depres - 43.24.22
2nd Ruben Faria - 43.35:05
3rd Chaleco Lopez - 43.43:10
4th Ivan Jakes - 43.48:16
5th Joan Pedrero - 44.19:51
6th Olivia Pian (Yamaha) - 44.30:52
7th Helder Rodrigues - 44.35:44
8th Javier Pizzolito - 44.50:29
9th Frans Verhoeven (Yamaha) - 44.50:57
10th Paulo Gonclaves- 44.52:42
14th Rod Faggotter (Yamaha) - 45.54:58