The Sonora Rally ran in Mexico over the weekend, and Ricky Brabec took home the win. It was his second win in a row at Sonora, and his third total win at the event.
Of course, Brabec made headlines earlier this year as the first American to ever win at the Dakar Rally, in any class, taking the factory Honda to the victory after success eluded him in previous years. The Sonora Rally was a little closer to home, running close to the US-Mexico border. It’s a much shorter event than Dakar; there’s only 1358 km of racing, with 1078 km of timed special stages, which altogether adds up to two or three days’ racing at Dakar. It’s a roadbook rally, and travels a wide variety of terrain (beaches, mountains, dunes, and everything in between).
And, most importantly: The Sonora event actually ran as scheduled. Almost every other major racing event in the world has been cancelled due to COVID-19, including the FIM’s Cross Country rally series, which called off its first event due to fears over the coronavirus.
The race was a close thing. Brabec, of course, rode a Honda. Second-place went to Skyler Howes, who had a breakout top-10 finish at Dakar this year, and very nearly took the win here. He was only 50 seconds back. Third place went to Bill Conger.
“I always look forward to the Sonora Rally in México. It’s the only rally in North America that simulates a Dakar style rally raid,” said Brabec afterwards. “I had a set back in Stage 1 that left me with large penalty and I had to claw my way back to the top, day by day. It made the final stage interesting when I needed to make up over a minute and only have 142 km to do it. “