12 stages of rally raid ruckus.
The 12th annual Africa Eco Race just wrapped. For the second year in a row, Italian Yamaha rider Alessandro Botturi stood on the top step of the podium after the grueling event wrapped. Botturi’s greatest rival, Norwegian KTM rider Pal-Anders Ullesvalseter, came in second. Rounding out the podium fell to Great Britain’s Lyndon Poskitt, also for KTM.
The 2020 rally event took two weeks to complete. Botturi’s final time spent in the saddle to complete all 12 stages of the competition was 48 hours, 47 minutes, and 30 seconds. Ullesvalseter followed less than five minutes later, with a time of 48 hours, 51 minutes, and 29 seconds. Meanwhile, Poskitt’s final time was nearly an hour off from first place, at 49 hours, 39 minutes, and 26 seconds. With this result, Botturi now equals Ullesvalseter in total number of wins for the Africa Eco Race series since its inception.
For 2020, the Africa Eco Race spanned over 6,500 kilometers (almost 4,039 miles) of mostly sandy tracks and dunes between Monaco and Dakar. The event brings environmental responsibility into its daily routines through activities including its use of solar panels, responsible waste disposal, and removal and recycling of used engine oil collected during the event. It also has planted and continues to plant thousands of trees to help reforestation efforts in Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania.
Some competitors within the event also take the “eco” part of the Africa Eco Race to heart and use things like solar panels, hybrid motorcycles, and hybrid trucks. An experimental category within the race field allowed a Yamaha-based electric prototype motorcycle to compete in 2017, ridden by Arnaud Jacquart. They didn’t have an easy time, but you can’t win if you don’t start, right? Right.
Rally raid events are fun, and it’s events like this one that keep pushing racing forward, instead of staying stuck in the past. Like other types of competition, racing has to evolve—and this is one intriguing approach to doing just that.