With a second-place finish in the final stage, the American wrapped up the overall victory. Riding a CRF450 Rally for Monster Energy HRC - Honda Racing Corporation, the 28-year-old completed the nearly 5,000-mile route across 11 days of racing, with a combined total time of 40 hours, 2 minutes, 36 seconds, becoming the first American to win what is generally considered to be the most grueling off-road motorsports competition in the world.
The 2020 Dakar Rally started on January 5 in Jeddah and passed through cities including Al Wajh, Neom and Riyadh before today's 267-mile stage from Haradh to Qiddiya. Brabec topped Stage 3 and assumed an overall lead that he never relinquished, adding a second win on Stage 6. The entire Monster Energy Honda team turned in a masterful performance, with Chilean José Ignacio Cornejo topping Stages 4 and 12, Argentine Kevin Benavides winning Stage 7 and Spaniard Joan Barreda taking Stage 10. On two occasions, the team swept the stage podium. Stage 8 was cancelled in memory of former Monster Energy Honda rider Paolo Gonçalves, who lost his life in a Stage 7 crash.
The Dakar Rally began in 1979 and traditionally ran from Paris, France, to the Senegalese capital whose name it still uses. In 2009 it was moved to South America, and this 2020 edition was the first to be held in the Middle East, entirely within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Prior to this year, Honda had a total of five victories in the motorcycle class (all in the 1980s), at the hands of Italian Edi Orioli and Frenchmen Cyril Neveu and Gilles Lalay. No American rider had topped the Dakar Rally before Brabec's accomplishment today, with Danny LaPorte, Jimmy Lewis and Chris Blais being the only U.S. riders to have finished on the podium... although our own Scot Harden came close!