Joan Barreda will not finish his eleventh Dakar, which he left precisely in the eleventh stage. The Valencian returned by helicopter to Yanbu bivouac, camp on the penultimate day of competition, after starring in one of the strangest dropouts in recent times in the raid.
The one from Torreblanca was forced to go back 15 minutes to Kevin Benavides, his partner at Honda and overall leader. For this reason, he gritted his teeth from the beginning of the day and saw himself first at the first checkpoints of the day, although not enough to storm Benavides’ post.
After kilometer 215, to be with a few seconds of advantage over Ricky brabec and the Argentine, chime: suddenly he had 12 minutes with one and 9 and a half with another. It seemed like an epic stroke of luck … from which the organization woke up right away. “The Spanish driver has continued without stopping at the refueling point. The fifth overall runs the risk of receiving a significant penalty at the finish line or running out of gasoline before arriving …”, they warned in the ‘in situ’ monitoring of the race.
He lasted 50 more kilometers, until, on 267 of the day’s special, Barreda stopped: had run out of fuel, as they warned. A debate was then opened: how could it be that he got lost in order not to see a refueling point, despite the large number of warnings (even sound) from the motorcycle?
Seeing that he could not resume the march without wasting all the time in the world waiting for assistance, he was evacuated in helicopter, where he made a request that set off alarms: he wanted a medical check-up.
Two days before, Barreda had had an accident. Nothing serious, in principle, since he was able to continue, but he was without consciousness for a few moments. Not having noticed the refueling area for a possible brain injury It seemed plausible, so the Spaniard was taken to a medical center where they performed a scan to rule out major injuries. He explained it himself on instagram, without confirming that any ailment had been detected.
“I’m sorry friends. I am in the hospital performing a head scan. The fall two days ago in which I lost consciousness for a few minutes has taken its toll today. I really wanted to continue in the race and finish as well as possible , but it couldn’t be. I want to thank my team and all of you for always being there, “he said, along with a photo in the hospital.
Excuse to justify a mistake or was there really a serious neurological problem? The truth is that from the beginning there was speculation with both possibilities, since in the past, Barreda has been very given to explain a bad performance with some physical problem.
However, from the organization of the Dakar they do not want to assume any kind of charge of conscience for not carrying out tests. A pilot who suffered a fall two days before, although it is not the usual thing, may suffer subsequent sequelae with symptoms that appear hours or even days later.