On paper, today was a rough day for Jonah Street and the #7 Yamaha GYTR Dakar Rally team. Yet when we spoke with the privateer American today by satellite phone, he was in classic Jonah form: optimistic, ready to get back on his bike and looking forward to another day of racing. Two days before the first rest day, Street is unofficially 11th overall, about 30 minutes behind rally leader Marc Como. Unfortunately, Street’s hopes of recovering 5 minutes or more yesterday due to a strange situation with his GPS went unrealized.
Here’s the latest, straight from Street:
“Hey, this is Jonah. I’m sitting next to [Baja 1000 champ and American Honda-backed racer] Quinn Cody. We just finished our road-book prep for tomorrow. Well, I’m done. Quinn still has a way to go [laughter]… We’re waiting for our support trucks to show up so we can get to work. The trucks couldn’t leave the bivouac this morning until the entire rally left the start. Hopefully, they’ll get here in the next hour or so.
“It wasn’t the greatest day for me, as you could tell if you were watching the live tracking. But it wasn’t as bad as it may have looked. The speeds at the highest elevations were down, but some teams managed to keep their times and speeds up, so the results don’t look great for me. I didn’t have any problems, and I rode pretty well. Plus, I didn’t have any major mishaps, and the navigation went smoothly.
“Today, we were riding gnarly terrain. The liaison section was really gnarly. It was 550 kilometers long. I left the bivouac at 4:30 a.m., and it rained on us a little as we went over the first pass at about 12,000 feet. The next pass was at 16,000 feet. We were 10,000-12,000 feet high for a long, long time, and it was cold. I was so thankful that I wore my snowmobile bibs! When you’re just sitting there on the highway, essentially, for 550 kilometers, the cold gets old in a hurry. That was a long transfer.
“The Special today was fairly high speed. For the most part, the ground was soft. The desert here gets kind of dead; there’s a little bit of crust on top, but it’s soft directly under that, and it takes a lot of power to move through it. We also rode through quite a bit of rock and some cross-grain ruts, too. We finished the day with sandy roads. I got caught out a few times in those sections, which is definitely frustrating, but that’s the way it goes. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and the rest of the rally.
“We have quite a bit of “off-track” tomorrow [no designated roads or trails]. The navigation could get tricky, which could be good for me. Sometimes, the off-track stuff isn’t truly off-track, and the waypoints are easy to hit. If it’s true off-track, I’ll concentrate on nailing the navigation and making up time.”
Jonah Street is proudly supported by: Yamaha, GYTR, Top1 Oil, PAI, KLIM Technical Riding Gear, Touratech USA, CycoActive, Iridium satellite phones, Rally Management Services, Baja Bound, JVO Racing, Fasst Co., Baja Designs, Motion Pro, Hammer Nutrition, Scott goggles, EVO suspension and The Riff Raff.