Ricky Brabec Wins 2024 Dakar Rally

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

Hero’s Ross Branch takes historic second, as KTM misses podium

American Ricky Brabec has won the 2024 Dakar Rally after a gruelling 4,950-mile trek across Saudi Arabia. Racing for the Monster Energy Honda Team, Brabec claimed his second victory at Dakar, this time completing it with a time of 51 hours, 30 minutes and 8 seconds plus a 1 minute penalty.

Brabec’s Honda teammate, Adrien Van Beveran finished third, but even more impressive is a second place finish for Ross Branch riding for the Hero Motosports Team. Branch’s runner-up finish and two stage victories are a historic achievement for India’s Hero Motocorp,

Also surprising is that KTM, plus its sister brands Husqvarna and GasGas, was completely shut out of the final podium of the first time since 2000, even despite three stage victories for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Kevin Benavides, who finished fourth overall, just ahead of teammate Toby Price. KTM has been dominating Dakar during this millennium, winning every Rally from 2001 to 2019, but the field has evened ever since the legendary race moved from South America to Saudi Arabia in 2020.

With his win, Brabec has now won in Saudi Arabia twice, and remains the only America to ever win a Dakar Rally.

“This time was a little bit different as I feel like this one was more earned as it was a lot tougher,” says Brabec. “In 2020, we had a big gap from the get-go. Here, I think me and Ross spent three days with a couple of seconds difference. It was a tight race for all of us. I think between first and third there are eleven minutes or something, whatever Adrien got, but it’s been a tight race and ten minutes is not a big gap here on the rally.”

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Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the Motorcycle.com team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

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2 of 3 comments
  • Ryan Ryan on Jan 19, 2024

    2x! Pretty incredible! Also incredible (but not bikes) - Carlos Sainz Sr. Wow.

  • LT LT on Jan 20, 2024

    I've been following it daily as always. It was a tight race. A shame Skyler had a DNF on the Honda team due to mechanical issues. Brabec was so consistent. He attributes his success to training in conditions similar to the desert in Saudi. I'm hoping he follows in the footsteps of his older rally riders and migrates to cars when the time comes. It's a shame the Dakar doesn't have the same luster here as it does overseas. Supercross taps our talent. Endurance, not so much.