Dakar 2022: Lascorz completes historic bid in ninth

| | WorldSBKWorld News

Joan Lascorz has become the first quadriplegic to race in the world’s toughest rally, finishing ninth overall in the SSV T4 class.

Despite little training and no competition for two years, Lascorz, together with his co-driver Miguel Puertas and the entire Buggy Masters Team not only completed the Dakar 2022 but finished in the Side-by-side class top ten despite a raft of hurdles and concerns over the Spaniard’s health.

Friday’s final day saw an extended liaison route before a short 164kms special as the rally-raid concluded in Jeddah. The pair set off with a half-hour advantage over their nearest rival, allowing Lascorz breathing space as he brought the #447 buggy home in 27th while defending his overall classification.

The past twelve stages and fourteen days of desert adventure have seen the ex-WorldSBK rider repeatedly fight to secure top-15 finishes, avoid errors and mechanical failures and overcome both infection and fever. Navigating over 8,000kms in his Guidosimplex adapted buggy to complete the Dakar within the top ten, thanks in part to the crowdfunding support of the public and his fans.

“Here we are, in Jeddah!” Lascorz exclaimed on Friday afternoon. “We have reached the end of the Dakar. Thanks to all the supporters behind, those who have helped us: thank you all very much, without all of you it would not have been possible.

“It has been a very tough Dakar. Not only for me: people who have done several ‘Dakars’ have told me that this one has been quite hard. I have suffered a lot these days. When my fever rose, I thought that I would recover the next day, every time I went to sleep, I thought that I would wake up better, but the mileage was accumulating in my body and every morning that I woke up I was more tired and fatigued.

“But together with Miguel (Puertas) we have driven quite well until the end, day after day without making any mistakes. The buggy has worked great. Thanks to the technical team of the Buggy Masters Team for their work. We have made it through the Dakar without puncturing a single wheel, without breaking any (transmission) belt, Miguel didn’t need to dig out the buggy of a sand dune, we have not gotten stuck in any…

“The bottom line is that I need a little silence in my head! We’ve had engines, noise, generators, compressors, radials saws, people working day and night… it accumulates in our heads. There has been no break in half a month, not even for a minute. Thanks to everyone who has made possible being here and making this dream come true.

“I have seen myself less competitive than I thought, because the more fatigued I was, the less my body worked, but my mind wanted to. Besides this, because the set up of the buggy I have not been able to ride comfortably. I think I’ve gone too hard (with the suspensions), but because I didn’t want to take risk and because of the references I have from the Spanish Championship races and not wanting to make a mistake, I haven’t dared to loosen the suspensions and I think I’ve gone too hard and my body has paid for it.

“But here we are! Challenge achieved: Dakar finished. Without training, without knowing the vehicle, I hadn’t competed in two years and here we are, at the finish line, we have reached the podium!”