After scoring the second Dakar Rally stage victory of his career yesterday, Jonah Street had a far less successful stage today. Navigational errors, an errant gas tank and equipment problems left the Washington State native struggling to maintain his winning momentum.
Here’s the latest, straight from Street:
“I had a crazy, crazy day today. I misread the road book and missed the first waypoint. It was a rookie-type screw-up—something I haven’t done in five or six years. By the time I found the waypoint and got back on course, [rally front-runner] Cyril Despres had just gone by, so I followed him into the sand dunes. The dunes were super tough. Then, we hit some sand hills—actually, sand mountains. It was really hot, and my Yamaha’s fuel system vapor-locked. I was stuck for quite a while. The bike would barely run, so I did a bunch of switchbacks to get up the last hill. Once I was over the hill, the bike ran better because I was moving faster and the airflow cooled things off.
“About 10 kilometers from the finish, everybody was lost. I got lost, too. I don’t think I’ve ever been that lost. It was really bad. I feel terrible, because I was with Quinn [Cody], and he was looking to me for advice. We were talking about things and making decisions together, but they weren’t the right decisions. It was frustrating, and I hope it doesn’t screw up his overall place in the rally.
“Once I got to the finish, calmed down and read the road book correctly, I was so pissed off at myself. I had been convinced the road book was wrong, but it was right. It’s not horrendous, because everyone was lost. But you can make up a lot of time by asking the right local where the course goes, and that’s what happened today. We finally figured it out and got through the special. As lost as we were, I was still the 20th bike to finish. Scoring is going to be interesting for the leaders.
“I thought the weird stuff was over for us, but on the liaison section at the end of the day, we rode 15 kilometers of silty road. All the service and support trucks were on it, and the wind was blowing. At one point, the wind changed a little bit, and I got dusted by a truck I was passing. It was so dusty that I had no clue where I was going. I hit something the size of a small washing machine and went down hard. Turned out to be a gas tank; it must have fallen off one of the service trucks.
“I got up, started cussing and threw the tank off the road. Later, I asked the guys in one of the trucks that had been running up front if they saw the tank, and they said, ‘Yeah, we saw it.’ So, I asked why the hell they didn’t pick it up. They didn’t have much of an answer.
“During all of this, a fuel line popped off. My foot started burning, so I looked down and saw the line leaking on my boot. Even though I had just filled up for $40, I almost ran out of gas; I had maybe a gallon left. Luckily, I was able to stop at the next village for some more gas to get to the bivouac.
“My wrists are kind of jacked up from hitting the gas tank so hard, but they won’t keep me from riding and finishing this rally.
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, of course, The Riff Raff.