Stunning first win for a twin-cylinder adventure bike at TransAnatolia Rally

2022 Yamaha Tenere 700 Raid Prototype

Tarrés & Botturi Complete Historic 1-2 at TransAnatolia
The Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team, in partnership with Riders for Health, continues to rip up the record books, this time after Pol Tarrés secured his maiden rally raid victory and a stunning first win for a twin-cylinder adventure bike at the TransAnatolia with his teammate Alessandro Botturi ensuring they created more history by making at a 1-2.
The 2023 TransAnatolia saw competitors ride over 2,300km in seven days as they traversed from the east to the west coast of Turkey, starting at the Black Sea port of Samsun before ending in Izmir on the Aegean Sea. After the first six days, Tarrés had opened up an advantage of 12 minutes and 14 seconds at the head of the overall general classification over Botturi in second, with a four-minute and 22-second buffer to the rider in third.
The duo were on the verge of re-writing the record books as they aimed to be the first riders on a twin-cylinder adventure bike competing in the B2 class to win the rally against the 450cc prototypes in the B1 category, but there was all still to play for on the final day.
Saturday’s schedule involved a 18.22km liaison from the bivouac in Simav to the beginning of the 54.94km 14th stage on the Raiders Road. The riders then had a long 198.40km liaison to the start of the final 39.69km special of the rally before a 22.39km liaison to the official podium ceremony.
Having taken the lead in the general classification on Day 3, Tarrés had the unenviable task of leading out the day’s first special, as he has on many of the stages during the event. Despite the pressure, the 29-year-old showed no nerves and managed to maintain a good pace without taking any unnecessary risks to finish the stage in fifth. While it was the first time he had not been on the overall stage podium during the rally, his time of 53 minutes and 53 seconds meant he only conceded two minutes and 24 seconds to the winner of the special.
After a long liaison, Tarrés went into stage 15, knowing precisely what he had to do to win his maiden rally. The Andorran rode superbly, once again ensuring he made zero errors to record another fifth-place finish with a time of 40 minutes and 29 seconds, conceding just one minute and 22 seconds to the stage winner.
This meant that Tarrés, who was not 100% fit coming into the TransAnatolia after suffering a leg injury, had achieved his dream of winning a rally at only the fifth attempt in his fledgeling career. His combined time of 16 hours, 10 minutes, and 10 seconds saw him finish with an 11-minute and seven-second advantage over his teammate in second. Tarrés secured the overall victory in impressive style on his GYRT-kitted Ténéré 700 World Rally, with two special stage victories and a further nine podiums to his name, leaving no doubt he is one to watch in the world of rally raid.
Botturi, competing in his first international rally of 2023, came into the final day after mounting an impressive comeback on Friday. Comfortably in second after the fourth day in the general classification, a crash on day five saw his gap over the rider in third reduced to just 20 seconds. Despite suffering pain in his shoulder, the Italian was determined to secure second for the team. On day six, he showed his fighting spirit to win his first stage of the rally and extend the lead over his nearest rival to four minutes and 22 seconds with just two stages to go.
Heading into Saturday with the goal of maintaining the gap to the rider in third, the 49-year-old used all of his experience to finish the first special of the day in fourth, with a time of 53 minutes and 26 seconds. This left him with a two-minute and 25-second advantage over the rider in third and only the 36.59km final stage left.
Botturi, the winner of the 2014 edition of the TransAnatolia, controlled the final stage brilliantly and powered to his sixth podium of the rally in third, just 42 seconds behind the winner, to ensure a dramatic end to the day and a momentous 1-2 for Yamaha and the team in the overall general classification. His final combined time was 16 hours, 21 minutes and 17 seconds, which saw him end the event one minute and 43 seconds ahead of his nearest rival.
The Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team’s epic 1-2 in Turkey has been the perfect preparation for the next rally on their agenda, the 2023 Africa Eco Race, which retraces the original routes of the Paris-Dakar in the 1970s and takes place between the 30th of December 2023 – 14th of January 2023.
Pol Tarrés – P1 (16h10m10s)
Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team
“It is a dream come true! I still cannot believe I have won my first rally. I was leading since the third day, and I think I managed well at the front. I was opening the stage again today, so it was a real test of my navigation. I tried not to take any risks, and I am happy that I managed to bring it home and won the race by over 11 minutes in the end. We had some strong competition here in Turkey, so it means a lot to me, and to have Botturi in second is amazing for the team, Yamaha, and the entire project. I want to say thank you to everyone in the team for doing such a brilliant job, giving me such a good bike every day, and making it possible. Honestly, this is what dreams are made of!”
Alessandro Botturi – P2 (16h21m17s)
Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team
“I am thrilled with this result. To finish second and to have a 1-2 at the top of the overall classification is incredible for everyone involved. The team have worked hard to get here, and I am delighted to have secured second in my first international rally of the year. I had a crash on the fifth day; I hurt my shoulder, and my gap was reduced to just 20 seconds to the rider in third. I was determined not to let it slow me down, so I fought back, managed to maintain my lead, and brought it home. The Ténéré 700 World Rally has been superb all rally, and we have found a great feeling that gives us even more confidence heading into the Africa Eco Race. It has been an awesome rally, and I am already looking forward to the next one.”
Marc Bourgeois
Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team – Team Manager
“We are delighted with this result. It has been an amazing event here in Turkey; the whole team has done a superb job. Pol came here not quite 100% yet managed to attack from the off, and as soon as he had the lead, he never looked like relinquishing it. He has ridden so intelligently and maturely this week; it is unbelievable to think it is only his fifth rally raid event. Alessandro showed his usual courage to bounce back from a crash on the fifth day and has been superb in ensuring he maintained second in the general classification to make it a 1-2 for the team. Honestly, the best thing about this whole rally has been the atmosphere, with everyone working together to achieve the same goal. This result gives us the perfect boost heading into the Africa Eco Race, and we can’t wait to return to Turkey next year.”
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The Great Adventure
Botturi and Tarrés are racing together at the TransAnatolia for the first time since they re-wrote the history books at the 2022 AER. An exclusive behind-the-scenes documentary about their extraordinary exploits in Africa, “The Great Adventure”, is out now on Amazon Prime Video for subscribers in Italy and coming soon to other regions. The hour-long film, produced by Yamaha Motor Europe and directed by Francesco Teo, has also been nominated for an award at the prestigious International Motor Film Awards, and you can watch it here.
Join Botturi and Tarrés at the 2023 Africa Eco Race
After such monumental exploits in 2022, Yamaha Motor Europe and Riders for Health, powered by Two Wheels for Life, are giving two people the chance to join the Ténéré World Raid Team on the 2023 AER. The team works in partnership with the charity to raise awareness of their tremendous work in supplying, managing, and maintaining motorcycles for health-focused operations in Africa.
The incredible prize on offer includes return flights to Dakar, Senegal for two people, two nights bed and breakfast at the 5-star King Fahed hotel in Dakar, plus the chance to meet and greet the Ténéré World Raid Team during the podium ceremony at Lac Rose.
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