Harith Noah successfully completed his third Dakar becoming the only rider from India to fly the Tricolour at the 44th Dakar Rally, the prestigious annual cross-country endurance rally-raid race, which concluded here on Friday.
The TVS Racing Factory rider also set the fastest stage time by a rider from India, finishing 18th in Stage 11, beating his own record set last year. Performing consistently throughout the 12 stages, Harith Noah finished the last day’s Stage 12 at 23rd place.
In the gruelling race that traversed through 7790 km of desert sands and dunes mixed with dangerous and tricky terrain of rocks, Noah clocked 72 hours, 52 minutes and 50 seconds for the 12 stages including two stages under the Dakar Experience Class. Due to the technical snag with the engine, officially Noah is not classified in the general rankings.
Over 140 riders from about 30 countries took part in the rally and Harith Noah, the star TVS Racing rider, who became the fastest rider from India at Dakar in 2021 by finishing P20 last year, bagged the experience of one more Dakar in his chequered career.
The rider, into his 10th year with the premier two-wheeler manufacturing company, had a fall in the very first stage but moved on discarding another serious shoulder injury in Stage 7, but ended up riding in pain for two days without knowing that he fractured two of his ribs on January 9.
Undaunted, the 28-year from Kerala, braved the odds and was forced to change his engine for safety reasons before the start of Stage 10, unfortunately suffered technical issues and shifted to Dakar Experience class for the last two days, his team informed in a release on Friday.
Noah spoke about his experience and said, “It is always a great feeling to complete Dakar and I am very happy with the experience. The nature of endurance cross-country rally like Dakar is gruelling and strenuous but one has to brave dangerous conditions for both the man and the machine.
“That is why this race is special. Despite not being officially classified, and not finishing for the second time, I take the good things home and the thrill of finishing spurs me on to more adventures on my bike. I thank my team TVS Racing and all my technical team, support staff and sponsors for giving me a chance to race once again in Dakar. With all this experience, I hope to come back stronger in 2023."
As part of the Sherco TVS Factory team, Noah took part as a privateer sponsored by TVS Motor Company in Dakar RallyGP, the premier class of the Moto section, before shifting to the Experience class after Stage 10. He completed Dakar three times and is also the fastest Indian at the Dakar beating CS Santosh’s record of 34th in 2018.