Yamaha Makes History With Morocco Desert Challenge Victory

Yamaha and Pol Tarres have made history by winning the Morocco Desert Challenge on a rally-prepped version of the Tenere 700

Yamaha, Morocco Desert Challenge 2024

History was made last weekend by Pol Tarres, who won the Morocco Desert Challenge on a Yamaha Tenere 700.

Tarres’ rally experience is very limited, having only really started doing motorcycle rally raids when he started riding for Yamaha in 2022. The result of that, though, is that, while his overall experience is quite small, it includes some of the toughest rallies in the world, such as the Africa Eco Race.

In Morocco, Tarres put his rally-prepared Yamaha Tenere 700 World Rally production-based adventure bike up against 450cc single-cylinder machines designed specifically for rallying. In a way, it’s comparable to racing a Superbike against a MotoGP bike: one is built primarily with racing in mind, and the other is built for the consumer and adapted to race.

The Morocco Desert Challenge had never been won by a twin-cylinder bike before, but Tarres changed that last weekend, taking victory in the motorcycle class by 2:21:06, an overall win finished off by victory on the final stage.

At the end of the final day of the 2024 Morocco Desert Challenge, Pol Tarres said: “ I won the stage, which was a great way to cap off this rally. It is my first rally victory in Africa, and it means a lot to me. 

“My GYTR-kitted Tenere 700 World Rally has been amazing all rally and never missed a beat. I could attack on most stages because I had such a great feeling with the bike. 

“The Morocco Desert Challenge certainly lived up to its tough reputation, but we did it, and we won, and I am delighted. Not just for me but for the whole team who have worked tirelessly to get us here. I learned a lot during the rally and cannot wait for the next one.”

The podium was completed by Amaury Baratin and Valentin Sertilhanges, both on KTM 450 rally bikes.

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