Aiming to re-write record books once more at Africa Eco Race 2024

2023 Yamaha Tenere 700 World Rally

Ténéré Yamaha Rally Team Ready to Take on Africa Eco Race
The Ténéré Yamaha Rally Team’s Pol Tarrés and Alessandro Botturi, in partnership with Riders for Health, are aiming to re-write the record books once more as they prepare to compete in one of the most gruelling rally raid events in the world, the Africa Eco Race, from the 30th of December 2023 to the 14th of January 2024.
The Deus Café Isola in Milan was the location for a special event to launch the Ténéré Yamaha Rally Team’s bid to conquer the 15th edition of the Africa Eco Race, which re-traces the original Paris-Dakar routes of the 1970s, starting in Monaco and finishing in Dakar, Senegal.
Tarrés and Botturi were on hand to present their GYTR-kitted Yamaha Ténéré World Rally bikes, which will be returning to their spiritual Saharan home (Ténéré means desert in the Tuareg language) and fittingly feature a colourway inspired by Mr Dakar himself, Stéphane Peterhansel, whose legendary exploits saw him win the African rally six times for Yamaha in the 1990s.
After the presentation of the team and bikes, there was also a screening of the documentary “The Great Adventure” (out now on Amazon Prime in Italy and the UK) that recounts the exploits of Tarrés and Botturi in the previous edition of the Africa Eco Race, held in 2022.
It was during that race that Tarrés created history by becoming the first rider to complete the entire rally on a twin-cylinder adventure bike, winning the +700 category and finishing fifth overall. At the same time, his teammate Botturi battled through adversity to ensure it was a dream debut for the team in the Africa Eco Race by securing a 1-2 in class.
The duo head into the 2024 edition of the rally on the back of a sensational result at the TransAnatolia rally in Turkey, which saw Tarrés secure his maiden rally raid overall victory and a stunning first win for a twin-cylinder adventure bike at the event, with Botturi once again making it a team 1-2.
Botturi, who secured an incredible win in the team’s debut rally, the 2022 Tunisia Desert Challenge, knows more than most how difficult the Africa Eco Race and the infamous dunes of Mauritania can be, with the experienced Italian taking back-to-back victories at the event for Yamaha in the motorbike class onboard a WR450F in 2019 and 2020. It will be only the 48-year-old’s second international rally of the year, having spent most of the season focusing on the Italian Motorally Championship before reuniting with the team for the TransAnatolia.
Tarrés, a former trials and hard enduro rider who only started competing in rally raids in 2022, has enjoyed a meteoric start to his career, including class wins at the Hellas Rally and Morocco Desert Challenge in 2023 to add to the 30-year-old Andorran’s TransAnatolia overall victory. Both riders aim not only to be battling at the front in the new 650cc+ Multi-cylinder bike class during the Africa Eco Race, which features a much more competitive field this year, but also in the overall general classification against their 450cc prototype rivals.
The 2024 Africa Eco Race begins with the official start in Monaco on the 30th of December before the teams board a boat from Sète in France to Nador, Morocco. Once in Africa, the race begins in earnest on the 2nd of January, with the riders completing more than 6,000km over 12 stages through some of the most demanding terrain on the planet, traversing through Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, and Senegal before the final stage on the beach alongside the famous Lac Rose in Dakar.
Pol Tarrés
Ténéré Yamaha Rally Team
“I am very excited about this year’s Africa Eco Race. I really enjoyed the last edition; it was an amazing experience. This year, we are even more prepared. I have more experience as a rider, and we have had some incredible results this year. In fact, in every rally raid we have entered in 2023, we have secured the class win, and at the TransAnatolia, I took my first career overall victory, which was unbelievable considering we were competing against 450ccc single-cylinder prototypes on our Yamaha Ténéré World Rally production-based bikes. Honestly, the work that the team and Yamaha have done on improving every aspect of the bike is incredible, plus my confidence is high after an incredible season, so bring on the Africa Eco Race.”
Alessandro Botturi
Ténéré Yamaha Rally Team
“I love the Africa Eco Race, and I have had some great results there in the past. I did not have the best of luck in the last edition, but this is rally, and we are ready to make amends this year. I love racing in Africa; there is nowhere else in the world like it. We have worked hard on preparing for the race, and we have even more motivation to do well in this race, as we now have much more competition in our class. While it will be extremely tough, as always, we have prepared in the best way possible, and our aim this year is to compete not just for the class victory but the overall podium as well.”
Marc Bourgeois
Ténéré Yamaha Rally Team – Team Manager
“We are ready for the Africa Eco Race. It is the longest and toughest race on our calendar. The terrain is some of the most challenging in the world, and this rally is the ultimate test of bike and rider. It is where the Ténéré was born, and it is something extraordinary to return there with the team and back to the bike’s spiritual roots. Pol comes into the race full of confidence after an amazing season, while Alessandro spent most of the year racing in the Italian national championship but showed his class when he immediately was back on the podium in his first international rally of the year at the TransAnatolia. We have done all of the preparation, we are ready, the bikes are ready, now it is time to go racing.”
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