Hero Motosports enjoyed a strong showing at the 2019 Silk Way Rally, which concluded in Dunhuang, China, after 10 taxing days that saw participants tackle 5,000km across three countries – Russia, Mongolia and China. While Oriol Mena finished 6th overall, Paulo Gonçalves wrapped up his debut outing for the team with a 15th-place finish.
A consistent performance in the stages helped Mena secure a 6th place overall result as he focused on his navigation to avoid any unwarranted mistakes with the finish line in sight. Overall, he secured two stage podiums – including winning Stage 6.
“I am really happy with to finish the Silk Way Rally, especially because I won one stage for the team. Congratulations also to my teammate Paulo for a great first race with the team. Many thanks to my teammates for doing a great job during the rally. My thanks to the entire Hero family for their support and encouragement. I have learnt a lot in this race and now, I will take this experience and go back to my training for the next races,” said Mena.
Despite clinching a top three finish in six stages, Hero Motosports did have to tackle its fair share of difficulties. After five stages, Gonçalves stood 4th overall, but had to retire on Stage 6 after suffering a mechanical failure; the resulting penalty saw him drop several positions. Despite staging an impressive comeback ride that saw him secure two top-three finishes in the remaining four stages, he was only able to salvage a 15th place overall result.
Reflecting on his rally, Gonçalves said, “It has been a good rally for me as I secured four stage podiums for me and my team Hero Motosports Team Rally. It was a really long and tough rally running over 5,000km so I tried to push hard and increase my speed with every stage. For me, the important thing was to get my first race experience with my team. I am confident that with this bike and the team, it is possible to fight for top positions in the upcoming rallies."
As for the overall results, Red Bull KTM’s Sam Sunderland took victory in the bikes category, while Nasser Al-Attiyah won in the car category and Anton Shibalov took top honours in the trucks category.