Edwin Straver has died as a result of injuries sustained in a crash at the Dakar Rally.
The 48-year-old Dutch motorcycle rider crashed 124km into the penultimate Stage 11 at this year’s Dakar Rally and was found by a medical helicopter crew who gave him immediate treatment before he was airlifted to hospital in Riyadh.
Straver was repatriated to the Netherlands on Wednesday (22 January) before his death was confirmed by his family. The Dutch rider was competing in his third Dakar Rally having finished 30th overall and first in the Original by Motul class in 2019.
Straver becomes the second competitor to die at this year’s Dakar Rally following the passing of fellow motorcycle class rider Paulo Goncalves who suffered a cardiac arrest after a fall during Stage 7.
A total of 31 competitors have lost their lives in the Dakar Rally, of which 22 were bikers.
South African competitors and back-up teams in the Dakar Rally increase every year. A large contingency participated in the 2020 event.
Standerton’s Thinus Bosse
Fifty-Nine-year-old Thinus Bosse, a former Standerton scholar and farmer, currently residing in Saudi Arabia, supported the South African car 354 in the rally. Bosse, in truck 728, was part of the back-up team to Kyalami-based Red-Lined Motoring Adventures, TreasuryOne duo Hennie de Klerk and Johann Smalberger, from Pretoria, in a South African built and developed Nissan Navara, who started 27th in the final stage off a fine second week following a tough initial week, but they were left stranded within a stone throw of the finish with transmission failure. They eventually made it across the finish line, taking 34th place overall.African Lady Hero’s
Epic was SA female rookie Taye Perry’s superwoman effort aboard her KTM. Taye had ridden brilliantly to start the penultimate day a splendid 51st overall and third among the lady bikers, but her machine developed a problem to leave her stranded in the desert 300km from home. Undaunted, Taye was towed out of the stage and arrived at the bivouac at midnight, her bike was repaired and she rode home to finish 78th overall and fourth among the ladies. Perry’s loss was Kirsten Landman’s gain, a professional KTM Enduro rider, finished as the first South African and the first lady competitor from Africa to finish the Dakar Rally. She rode a consistent race to come home in a splendid 54th and third overall among the ladies.
Southern Africa Car competitors
Inevitably, the top Southern African car competitor, Stellenbosch based Giniel de Villiers who rode a brilliant event with new navigator, Spaniard, Alex Haro Bravo to finish 5th overall after a tough tyre event hampered by punctures and tyre degradation. The pair was the second Toyota Gazoo Racing Hilux in the overall standings, after winning the 2nd stage and finishing 3rd in stage 10.
Another top result came from South African Sean Berriman, racing under an American license as navigator to the SSV category winner Casey Currie.
In 4th place overall in the SSV class was Zimbabwean, Conrad Rautenbach, a former South African Rally Champion, with his Portuguese co-driver Pedro Bianchi Prata.
Botswana’s former triple South African champion Ross Branch, riding as a privateer, took a Day 2 win and rode most of the way well within the top ten against the might of the factory teams.
A few challenges along the way included a big fall, riding with a separated shoulder and a destroyed rear wheel, dropping Branch to 21st overall.
Factory Honda rookie Aaron Mare, based in Dubai, former SA rally raid star, 2018 Indian Desert Storm and 2019 Dubai Baja winner, on bike 26 retired after stage 2.
Veteran former Springbok hurdler Wessel Bosman, broke his ankle when he took evasive action not to be hit by a truck, his fourth retirement from the Dakar. Privateer, Stuart Gregory on KTM bike 100, did not post a finishing position after stage 8, but he finished the event in 63rd position.
About Dakar 2020
Covering over 7800km, of which more than 5000km were racing miles, Dakar 2020 kicked off with 319km of racing over dunes and stones between Jeddah and Al Wajh Sunday, 5 January. Then it was off to Neom on Day 2 and a romp around the dunes there on day 3 — the second half of the bike marathon stage, before 453km to Al Ula, 353km to Ha’il and 478km to the rest day at Riyadh.
Week 2 started with the longest 546km run to Wadi Al-Dawasir on Sunday, 12 January, before a 474km loop on the Monday and a 415km race to Haradh. That was followed by the 913km no service car Marathon stage comprising 534km of the finest dunes to Shubaytah and 375km back to Haradh, before the final 374km sting in the tail to the 17 January finish at the new Qiddiya complex near Riyadh.
- Coen van Zyl