Rieju @ Dakar Rally 2021
RIEJU’S 2021 DAKAR DEBUT
Rieju’s first participation in the Dakar dates back to 2009. The brand then developed two large displacement Enduro models (Marathon 250 and 450) and debuted with three motorcycles integrated into the Tot Curses team. This first participation was followed by two others, the Marathon 450 production machine was the bike of the official Rieju team. We took a victory with the rider Filippo Ciotti in 2011, in the standard production class.
Fast forward to 2021…
And despite Saudi Arabia’s cancellation of all commercial flights and closing its borders in December because of COVID concerns, the oldest OEM in Spain, and newest player in the U.S. off-road market, Rieju was on the starting line for the Dakar Rally. “Fortunately, the logistics of the event have been resolved and participation of our team is guaranteed,” claims Rieju race director Miguel Garcia. “Our vehicles and technical equipment are already in Jeddah and our riders are looking forward to making history with Rieju.”
Led by Joan Pedrero – with more than 700,000 kilometres travelled in the desert – he is no rookie. The rider from Canet de Mar arrives at his 13th Dakar with a couple of stage wins (2014 and 2017), as well as finishing 5th overall in 2011 and 2013, and 16th in 2020. “Facing this new Dakar with a new team, with Rieju, makes me very excited, almost as if it was the first,” he says. “We have trained hard for this edition and I am convinced that we will make a good team between the three riders. We have experience, many kilometres travelled, and I rely on experience to make a good position.”
Since its inception, Rieju has been present in races of different categories, although it has been the Enduro class of 80cc that has given the brand the most wins, with nine victories in the Spanish Championship and the Runner-up of the World in the ISDE of Enduro of 1985. Rieju also participated that same year in the Six Days International of Enduro de la Cerdanya which was a historic milestone. Rieju raced with four MR80 motorcycles, in the 80cc category. Francesc Rubio was the most outstanding rider, with an excellent second place, in a race where Rieju riders won two gold medals, one silver and one bronze. Other victories to be highlighted in other disciplines have been those of Quim Fabregas in 1985 on a STRADA and that of Carlos Checa (world champion of Superbikes- SBK) in 1991 with an RST80, both in the Spanish Speed Championship.
Remarkable is also the victory for the brand that Manuel Rivas achieved at the 1996 European Cross Championship. Rieju’s involvement in the sport has not been limited to participation in different championships already mentioned, but it has organised its own promotion cups with the philosophy of the brand of helping young people and developing the product in the demanding field of competition. An example of this is the Rieju Supermotard Championship (from 2000 to 2002) with more than 100 riders from Spain, or the Rieju RS3 RR Speed Cup, created in 2014 and still current today, which cradles young riders who will be part of a new generation of World Champions. Marc Marquez, Pol and Aleix Espargaró, Tito Rabat or Carlos Checa took their first steps and achieved their first triumphs at controls of a Rieju motorcycle.