31-year-old Charan Moore (bib number 40, riding for HT RALLY RAID HUSQVARNA RACING) returned to dunes and wadis of Saudi Arabia with one goal in mind: to win the Original by Motul class in what was only his second Dakar Rally. The fact that he succeeded despite almost impossible weather conditions, was a testament to his dedication, and the skills he has honed on the equally challenging gravel plains of Namibia and in Lesotho’s Maluti Mountains (where he is the Race Director for the Roof of Africa).

After a rollercoaster two weeks which contained everything that makes the Dakar both magical and immensely tough, Charan emerged victorious. His ultimate winning margin of 20:01 belies the challenges he’s faced during the event. The combination of mechanical issues, injury and flu made this Dakar even more difficult. Charan twice built up a substantial lead over his nearest rivals, only to see it whittled away by a determined field of experienced and committed riders in what was previously known as the Malle Moto class.

Competing in the Original by Motul class tests not just riding ability, but also a competitor’s mechanical competence, organisational abilities, and capacity to perform mentally and physically in the face of extreme and cumulative fatigue.

Just like everyone he was up against, Charan was essentially on his own. Other than world-class lubricants and oils supplied by event sponsor Motul, he had no support: he was responsible for carrying out all the maintenance on his  bike, including running repairs made necessary by rocks, sand and overheating. The reward for completing each stage and working on his own bike was a too-short night’s rest in a tent on the floor.

While 2022’s Dakar had been criticised in some quarters for being uncharacteristically easy, this year’s event was anything but. Saudi Arabi is not a country that you would typically associate with heavy rains and flooding, but this year’s Stage 7 was cancelled due to the extreme weather conditions.

By this point, Charan had rebuilt his lead over his friend and sometime riding companion, Dakar veteran Javi Vega, the Spanish rider who pushed him hard all the way. Charan had recovered from his bout of flu, but further challenges were just around the next sand dune.

In the second half of the Dakar, disaster struck. A faulty gearbox necessitated an engine change that cost Charan 5 hours of mechanical hard work – and a 15-minute penalty. Radiator issues for Moore on Stage 11 saw Javi Vega reclaim the lead he had last held after Stage 5, and set the scene for a nail-biting climax.

On the penultimate stage, it was Vega’s turn to suffer, and Moore ended the day with a 17-minute lead. The final stage is typically a procession, but overnight downpours and hail meant that conditions were extremely wet and muddy with many bikes getting stuck. This last hurdle meant that Charan could not be certain of victory until the very end. Charan not only won the Original by Motul category, but came 28th overall in motorcycles and 12th  in the Rally 2 Class, a very impressive performance by anyone’s standards.

“This year’s Dakar has been a real rollercoaster, physically and emotionally. I wanted to build on my 4th place in Original by Motul and 34th placer overall from last year, and I have done it!” commented a delighted Moore at the finish line. “It’s an honour to have won a trophy of this calibre, and I’m proud to say that I’ve left nothing in the tank,” he added.

Charan confirmed that after a well-earned rest, he’ll be heading home to start planning this year’s edition of the “Mother of Hard Enduro” – the Roof of Africa 2023.

“On behalf of the entire Motul family, I’d like to give my warmest congratulations to Charan Moore on his epic achievement in winning the Original by Motul class,” commented Mercia Jansen, Motul Area Manager for Southern and Eastern Africa. “He showed the determination, passion and dedication that we value so highly as a company, and his feedback will help us further improve our high-performance products. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Charan and to many more successes in the future,” she added.

To find out where all our riders and teams have placed go to The Southern African Dakar Group on Facebook and Instagram. You can also follow Charan Moore on Facebook and Instagram for his personal take on his Dakar Adventure.

To learn more about Motul’s product range and commitment to motorsports, visit https://www.motul.com/za/en