Hélder Rodrigues is best known for his participation in the Dakar Rally series, although he already had a pretty impressive career before taking on the desert rally raid.
After making his way up through regional and national events, Hélder won his first Portuguese National Enduro Championship in 1999, riding a Yamaha 250. In the same year he finished second in the European Enduro 250cc class, as well as winning an ISDE gold medal. Seven further national Enduro titles followed, and Hélder failed to finish outside of the top 10 at the World Enduro Championships.
In 2006, he sought a new challenge and decided to race in that year's Dakar Rally as part of Team Bianchi Prata, finishing in ninth place. He went on to finish fifth overall in the bike category of both the 2007 and 2009 rallies – each time achieving the best results for a private rider. He returned to the Dakar in 2010, finishing fourth and equalling Carlos Sousa's record for the best finish at the famous rally by a Portuguese rider.
He pulled out all the stops for the 2011 Dakar Rally and managed to claim the bronze medal – his first Dakar podium. Hélder then came back in style in 2012 to once again take third place, following up in subsequent edtions of the legendary race with a 5th and three stage podium finishes, 7th and 12th-place finish overall. A Dakar podium may have since eluded Hélder, but if there's one thing we've learned about the Portuguese rider, it's that he never gives up. So watch this space, it's only a matter of time until he's up on those podium steps once again.
For the 2016 Dakar the Portuguese rider was back with Yamaha, a partnership that had already returned two podium finishes in South America, finishing a strong fifth overall. He returned in 2017 but, despite a strong showing, could not repeat that top-five performance, placing ninth. It's great to finish in the Top 10, but the aim is to be at the very front," he commented.