The new Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team is geared up to compete in the Tunisian Desert Challenge, with riders Alessandro Botturi and Pol Tarres excited to race in Africa over some of the most demanding terrain on the planet between the 22-29th of April.
This new team – run on behalf of Yamaha by Rebel X Sports with experienced Rally Raid campaigner Manuel Lucchese as Team manager – has been set up to take on the Africa Eco Race (15th-30th October) that takes place on the original Paris-Dakar route. That event will see the Ténéré return to its spiritual home, but first, the team are in Africa to compete in the second edition of the Tunisian Desert Challenge (TDC), with the Yamaha Rally program switching its focus to reconnecting with the genuine spirit of adventure with products that customers can also enjoy.
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This event in Tunisia also marks the start of a special partnership with Riders for Health. Yamaha is proud to be working with the charity to raise awareness of the tremendous work they do in supplying, managing and maintaining motorcycles for health-focused operations in Africa.
The team face a unique challenge as they will be the first to enter the TDC on production bikes. Botturi and Tarres are riding the new Yamaha Ténéré 700 World Raid, fitted with GYTR parts to make them more suited to the technical demands of competitive rally racing, to showcase the bike’s impressive capabilities and racing DNA.
Made up of eight stages and covering over 2,600km, the TDC starts on the beaches in Djerba before moving inland to traverse southern Tunisia, finishing at the iconic film sets from the Star Wars movies in Tozeur. The route involves a mixture of challenging technical sections, fast African plains, epic sand dunes, salt lakes and much more, and should provide a unique challenge for the Ténéré 700 World Raid bikes.
A legend in the world of Rally, 46-year-old Botturi brings with him a wealth of experience, having competed in seven Dakar’s with a best-placed finish of eighth and a stage podium to his name. The Italian won the last two editions of the Africa Eco Race and is also a two-time winner of the Rally Sardinia, plus has tasted victory in the Transanatolia and Merzuoga Rallies. Botturi is making his TDC debut in 2022 and is relishing the prospect of competing in Tunisia on the Ténéré 700 World Raid.
In comparison, his teammate Tarres is making his Rally debut at the TDC. However, the 28-year-old has competed at the highest level in Trials and Enduro, plus he is also well-known for his gravity-defying “Seeker” videos on YouTube. Despite his inexperience, the Spaniard is excited to begin his first Rally and showcase his skills in the desert, although he knows there is a steep learning curve ahead of him.
The Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team kicks off the Tunisia Desert Challenge on Friday the 22nd of April with the 60km Prologue in Djerba that decides the starting positions for Saturday’s Stage 1.
Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team
“I am delighted to have arrived in Africa and to race at the Tunisian Desert Challenge. After lots of working behind the scenes, we are ready to start this exciting new project with the Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team. We will be the first to compete in the TDC with a production bike, and the machine is simply incredible. To take on a rally as tough as this on a machine people can buy shows just how good the DNA of the bike is. I am looking forward to showing people what this bike is capable of, and while we want to win, I think we will also end up having a lot of fun too!”
Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team
“I can’t believe we are here to take on the Tunisian Desert Challenge! Just a year ago, we started this project behind the scenes with Yamaha, and we have been working hard to get to this stage. Now we are ready to race! Everything is ready, and we are super prepared and motivated for the race. I have a lot to learn in Rally, and I am sure we will encounter issues that we will need to overcome, but it is a learning process. I am lucky to have such an experienced team and teammate who has been helping me prepare, and I am confident that we can enjoy the experience and push hard for a good result.”
Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team – Team Manager
“I am excited to be in Tunisia with this new team bike and project! As a racer myself, I can feel the adrenaline of both riders and the team about racing in the Tunisian Desert Challenge. It is a truly unique event, and competing in it on the Yamaha Ténéré 700 World Raid bike will be a true adventure. We have done a lot of testing, and we feel fully prepared and ready thanks to the work from the team and Yamaha, so we cannot wait to start!”
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