The news that TVS Racing would collaborate with Sherco for the 2015 Dakar Rally was something that made Indian rally-raid enthusiasts whoop with delight. The Sherco TVS Rally Factory Team competing in the Dakar would mark the first time that an Indian manufacturer had made it to the Dakar in an official capacity. The motorcycle, the RTR 450, would be piloted by experienced enduro riders Alain Duclos and Fabien Planet. No wonder, then, that all attention was on the new team as the latest edition of this gruelling rally organised by the Amaury Sports Organisation kicked off from Buenos Aires on the January 4, 2015.
While the first stage of the event was, by Dakar standards, reasonably easy going in terms of competitive distance, it still gave competitors enough reason for worry. The stage started from Buenos Aires and ended in Villa Carlos Paz, with British rider Sam Sunderland clocking the fastest time of the stage astride his KTM. Team HRC's Paulo Goncalves finished the stage second on the timing sheets with Marc Coma third also astride a KTM. Spanish rider Joan Barreda Bort, also on a KTM, was fourth. But it was the rider in fifth place that caught our attention. Alain Duclos, now attempting his 13th Dakar, managed to put the Sherco TVS Rally Factory Team's No.14 motorcycle fifth on the timing sheets. Indeed, even before the rally kicked off, he'd said, If the bike holds up, I'll be there."
It was a good performance from the second Sherco TVS too, with Fabien Planet finishing 24th overall on the No.25 bike.
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