American to make July rally-raid return across Russia, Mongolia and China
After seeing his 2018 Dakar Rally hopes dented in Peru, American off-road sensation Bryce Menzies will return to rally-raid action with an appearance at the Silk Way Rally starting on July 6. Here is all you need to know:
Menzies has built up a superb USA CV in buggies and trucks, while he also made history by jumping his off-road truck 115.6m over a New Mexico ghost town.
He made his Silk Way Rally debut in 2017 where he bagged a stage win before his podium hopes faded in the Gobi Desert, then entered the 2018 Dakar Rally only to roll his MINI car in the Peruvian dunes as his race came to a premature end on the second stage.
Undaunted, the three-time Baja 500 winner will take the wheel of Sébastien Loeb's Peugeot 3008 DKR from the 2017 Dakar Rally to race the 2019 Silk Way Rally.
After testing his new machine in France, the 31-year-old revealed: "I can't be more excited and ready to race. I had so much fun at the Silk Way last time, even if I was totally exhausted by the end. It's 10 days of racing non-stop for 12 hours, the ultimate adventure. I'm aiming for a podium finish this time - that would be huge."
The star-studded field will set off from Irkutsk, Russia on July 6 then head over East Siberia and Mongolia into the Gobi Desert dunes surrounding the July 16 Dunhuang, China finish with 5,000km over 10 stages of challenging terrain and inhospitable climate.
Menzies said: "The plan is to be consistent and get to the finish line each day. If I keep my head on straight, we'll do pretty good. When you put your helmet on these plans can go out of the window, so I need to remember that the race is 10 days long. You can't win anything on the first nine days, you have to be there at the end."
In terms of the proven car Menzies and French co-driver Xavier Panseri will use, he explained: "I'll be racing a car that was developed by some of the best rally-raid guys around. It's a factory team package and I could tell as soon as I jumped in it how well it handles. This car has won races and now it's up to me to match its level."
What about any lingering doubts following his Dakar crash last year? He added: "The Dakar crash was very surprising. It was a bad day and horrible way to end my first Dakar. I'll take everything I learned over the past few years and put it into this Silk Way.”
Menzies is also keen to end his Baja 1000 drought. He said: "I've led the Baja 1000 a few times now, but not yet brought the result home. It's a dream of mine to win it."
Source Redbull Content Pool
Photo: @World / Red Bull Content Pool