Cyril Despres Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool

Cyril Despres tells us about a very eventful eighth stage of the Dakar Rally that saw him lose his overall lead to Marc Coma.

After riding 10km of the special stage I got a big surprise when I fell into a massive hole in the road filled with mud. There was no warning of this obstacle in the roadbook because conditions have changed so much since the inspection car drove the route two days ago.

'I was totally covered... the handlebars, my goggles, my gloves, even my navigation notes!'

I was stuck there for 10 minutes as this thick mud made it almost impossible for me to get my bike back up off the ground. I was lucky that Paulo Gonçalves stopped to help me. That was really nice of Paulo to lend me a hand like that.

At the end of the stage, the race organisers decided to give me back the time I lost while I was stuck in the mud. They did this because after I got stuck they came to the area and changed the route of the stage to avoid anymore accidents in the same spot. After the stage the race organisers checked how long I had been stuck in the mud and then gave me back that time.

While I was riding I had no idea if they would give me back the time or not but there was really nothing I could do to try and push hard in the rest of the stage. I was fully covered in mud so my grip on the handlebars was really slippery, my goggles were covered, my gloves were covered and all of my navigation notes were ruined. I stopped to try and clean things but there wasn’t really much I could do about all this mud.

When I reached the refuelling point 100km after I had fallen, Ruben (Faria) helped me out. We cleaned out my radiator to prevent any real damage being done to the engine.

It would have been easy for me to panic out there after the accident but I’m glad I was able to take care of my bike and stay in the race. Now tomorrow brings a very long stage so I hope I can do my best to get back my lead at this race.

Cyril trails Marc Coma by just over a minute after the eighth stage of the 2012 Dakar Rally.

Keep tabs on Cyril’s 2012 Dakar Rally on Red Bull’s dedicated desert classic website.

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