WhatTreasuryOne Dakar 2020 Day 10 Report
WhereShubaytah, Saudi Arabia
WhenWednesday 15 January 2020

De Klerk, Smalberger’s Dakar turnaround

South African TreasuryOne Motorsport duo Hennie de Klerk and Johann Smalberger defied the odds to deliver an unexpected and most welcome best result of Dakar 2020 on a dramatic tenth stage into Shubaytah on Wednesday. The Pretoria team had to work through Tuesday night to remedy a few ills on their Red-Lined Nissan Navara, but come the morning, de Klerk and Smalberger shrugged off the added challenges of extreme navigation and a scary, dusty Shamal gale to bring it home a fine 22nd to sit 29th overall after the day was curtailed to 233 of its 540km due to the dangerous conditions.

“If you told me last night that we'd finish today 22nd with no trouble whatsoever, I’d say you were mad!” Hennie de Klerk pointed out. “But the TreasuryOne Navara ran beautifully today after all that TLC last night, Johann was brilliant and point perfect to get us through some rather dodgy navigation tests and we were very careful over those tricky dune peaks that were so difficult to read today — so much so that the organisers stopped the race early because the wind had also stretched Dakar’s airborne support to its limits.

“The desert gods have been cruel so far this year and we found a few more unexpected issues on the car last night and we thought better to tackle and fix them, rather than leave them and risk getting stuck and retiring. “We stripped and repaired the gearbox again and had the rear end out too — the whole team and a few rival technicians put in another all-nighter to get the TreasuryOne Navara raceworthy today and out of the blue, we had our first clean stage and were rewarded with a fine result, which really was great. 

“We also have no issues with the car tonight, which is good considering that there is no service support here at the marathon bivouac, so no worries about grafting all night again and kudos to all who helped get us here. “With two days to race, those butterflies are now growing into vultures — we still have a fair distance to race and anything can still go right or wrong, so it’s all eyes on the finish — let’s bring this thing home!"


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