The 2022 Dakar Rally will take place from the 2nd to the 14th of January in Saudi Arabia. Riders from all over the world will compete in the 12-stage loop event, starting and finishing in Jeddah, with a rest day in Riyadh. By moving the course to the south-east, the organisers have added even more sand to the challenge; in the EMPTY QUARTER, there’ll be dunes galore. The success of the vintage vehicles in the Dakar Classic regularity race has encouraged many lovers of all-terrain cars from the 1880s and 1990s to embark on the new adventure. The grid could double in size in the departure from Ha’il.
The participation of the Rieju Team in the world’s most renowned rally raid will allow its four official riders to enjoy this unique experience again, giving international exposure to the Spanish manufacturer, which, since March 2020, has owned the intellectual and industrial property of the GasGas enduro platform of the Torrot company. The toughness of the race will reveal the demands of the races in extreme conditions, which will be of great use in expanding the brand’s current range of large-capacity motorbikes. The company’s sales director, Álex López, declared that “Rieju’s participation in the Dakar has given us the experience we need to determine the demands that a motorbike has to go through in such a tough event. For our part, the intention is to work on a four-stroke engine and to create a complete enduro and off-road product range. We’ll apply the experience to the projects we have with different capacities and two-stroke bikes.
As for the sporting objectives, Rieju team manager Miquel García pointed out that “Apart from the leader board, for me the goal in a race like the Dakar is for the four riders to cross the finishing line and enjoy the experience”. Rieju has once again placed its trust in the FN SPEED team for this adventure, under the leadership of Santi Navarro, who has more than 25 years’ experience in the world of competition. On this occasion the bikes will be supplied by FN SPEED.
Linked to the world of motorbikes since he was born, Bolivian rider Daniel Nosiglia has competed in more than 14 rallies in different parts of Latin America. He won a Dakar Series in Africa and what he wants most of all is for his country to be among the best in the world. His father, Walter Nosiglia, is one of Bolivia’s national heroes, having reached a historic third place in the Dakar in 2015.
Dani Nosiglia: “Really happy, this is my fifth Dakar, we’ve worked very hard over the last few years to be in the best shape. My main goal is always to finish the Dakar, and we’ll fight to do so in the best possible position; I hope I finish in the top 10”.
With more than 700,000 kilometres covered in the desert, Joan Pedrero arrives for his 14th Dakar with thousands of stories that link him to the rally. With two fifth places in 2011 and 2013 as his best results, the rider from Canet de Mar finished 15th in last year’s race. It’s worth remembering that in 2014 he achieved his first victory in the fourth stage of the race and three years later, in 2017, he won the first stage of the competition.
Joan Pedrero: “I’m happy to start this new Dakar with Rieju, my fourteenth time here, but I feel the same enthusiasm as I did the first time. I feel physically really strong, we’ve been training really hard for a year and my goal is to beat last year’s position. We have experience and we’ve covered a lot of kilometres, and I always rely on our experience to put us in a good position”
Just two Dakar Rallies away from becoming the youngest Legend rider in the world, Chilean rider Patricio Cabrera is determined to finish these two races to claim the title.
Patricio Cabrera: “I feel really motivated with the new team, happy to be back after my break last year. This year I feel that I’ll be sharing a team with friends and that makes me happy, this reunion will be special and with great vibes. My main goal is to finish in the top 30 and, above all, to get closer to my goal of becoming the youngest rider to become a Legend ”
Marc Calmet, the driver from Guardiola de Bergadà, is the Catalan endurance champion on gravel and this is his second participation.
Marc Calmet: “To take part in the Dakar has always been a dream for me and to do so with Rieju is a luxury that I’m really looking forward to. I’m well aware of the toughness of the race, I feel better prepared, I’ve trained hard throughout the year and I feel I can improve on last year’s position and, above all, learn every kilometre and overcome stage after stage”
RIEJU IN COMPETITION. HISTORY
Rieju’s experience in top-level sporting competitions goes back four decades. It began life in 1978 with the production of the TT 406 motorbike as an evolution of the previous model, with a 74 cc engine. With Minarelli Rieju began its successful adventure in off-road competitions, participating in his first Spanish Enduro Championship in the 75 cc category and going on to win a total of 12 National Championships in the category.
Since the outset it has been present in races in different categories, although the 80 cc Enduro has given the brand the most victories, with 9 victories in the Spanish Championship and second place in the 1985 ISDE Enduro World Championship. In fact, the brand’s participation that year in the Six International Enduro Days of Cerdanya was a historic milestone. Rieju entered four MR80 motorbikes in the 80 cc category. Francesc Rubio was the most outstanding rider, finishing in an excellent second place in a race in which Rieju riders’ won 2 gold medals and 1 silver and 1 bronze medal. Other notable victories worth mentioning in other fields were those by Quim Fàbregas in 1985 on a Strada and Carlos Checa (World Superbike-SBK champion) in 1991 on an RST80, both in the Spanish Speed Championship.
Rieju’s first participation in the Dakar dates back to 2009. At the time the brand was developing two large-capacity enduro models (Marathon 250 and 450) and it debuted with 3 motorbikes as part of the Tot Curses team. This initial participation was followed by 2 others, with the Marathon 450 model already in production and made up of official Marathon teams. One highlight was the victory achieved by rider Filippo Ciotti in 2011 in the series motorbike category.
RIEJU EN FIGURES
- Spain’s oldest active manufacturer. A family business with 100%-owned capital.
- It produces 17,000 vehicles/year in 38 different models.
- It exports 90% of its production to more than 30 countries. Direct distribution in Spain, Italy, France and the United Kingdom.
- A consolidated track record and experience in the sector, with more than 500,000 units manufactured.
- Since 2006 it’s been the market leader in Spain and Europe with a 32% market share (in 50 cc).
- Europe’s leading brand in low-capacity motorbikes with a gearbox.
- A pioneer in the production of custom motorbikes since 2006.
- Concerned about sustainability, it started producing electric motorbikes in 2010.
- Gross income 2020: €30M.
RIEJU EN EL MUNDO
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
After more than 79 years’ history, Rieju currently produces 38 vehicle models in the brand’s six ranges. The future looks green in a segment in which the brand has more than 14 years’ experience. The personalisation of vehicles is another of the brand’s undertakings to achieve the most adapted vehicles on the market. The company plans to celebrate its centenary by combining tradition and innovation. This is the company’s insignia, one that has allowed it to become the oldest Spanish manufacturer in active service.