WATCH: Meet Ashish Raorane, the Indian biker revving up for Dakar 2024
"I knew this was a tough and very physically demanding rally and I am happy to have persevered despite the multiple challenges", said the 41-year-old biker
The name of Ashish Raorane may not immediately strike a bell among Indian sports enthusiasts, but the 41-year-old biker has traded on a turf where many fear to tread. From 5-19 January in 2024, he will be in action in the two-wheeler category of Dakar Rally, arguably the mother of all motor rallies.
Earlier this year, Raorane finished the seven-day Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (ADDC), the second edition of the FIM World Rally Raid Championship (W2RC), in a creditable 11th place in the Rally2 category and qualified for Dakar 2024. This makes him only fourth Indian to qualify for Dakar — his predecessors being C.S. Santosh, K.P. Arvind and Harith Noah.
"I am delighted and happy that the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is in the bag. Going in, I knew this was a tough and very physically demanding rally and I am happy to have persevered despite the multiple challenges,’’ said the 41-year-old Raorane, whose participation in Dakar 2021 had ended with a crash in the fifth stage.
A minimum of one World Championship event or other rally that comes within the ‘Road to Dakar’ umbrella has to be completed by riders to qualify for Dakar - and Raorane did the needful at the Abu Dhabi event.
‘’The meaningful experience gained each day will go a long way in the upcoming rallies as well as our Dakar 2024 campaign and the result has certainly boosted my confidence. Thank you to all the fans and supporters for the messages over the last week, they really kept me going,’’ said the KTM racer, who receives technical support from Slipstream Performance, the Indian tuners from Pune.