Rocket Rod’s Dakar Rally, Lows and Highs of Yamaha’s #1 Factory Team Rider

January 25, 2018 | YMA

Yamaha Motor Australia dealer Rodney Faggotter successfully finished the final stage of Dakar 2018 with a 16th place, the highest placed Yamaha this year.

Rod did not start out as Yamaha’s #1 Factory Rider for this year’s Dakar Rally. But he certainly ended up with the whole team behind him during the last few stages that saw him place 16th outright.

It was not easy. The Dakar never is. But to come from a strict support rider role - where instructions dictate you carry all the tools and fix all the bikes – to #1 rider status is an extraordinary journey. It is a journey that started out as a self funded privateer desperate to fulfill a Dakar dream in 2012. His efforts were rewarded with a spot on the Yamaha Factory Race Team in 2017, but disaster struck last year when Rod was forced to retire with mechanical failure…

So props to the Longreach, Queenland dealer, the Yamaha Factory Race Team and in particular the incredible WR450F that hauled Rod across South America for 9000kms on the same engine. Most top teams freshen up their engines regularly – but Rod’s #44 machine ran the same motor for the duration of the world’s most demanding off road race. It speaks volumes for the reliability of Yamaha’s reverse fed four valve 449cc powerplant.

Rod talked back after his adventure, “Overall I am super happy to complete another Dakar especially after last year’s mechanical failure. I am very grateful for the opportunity again supplied to me by the Yamaha Factory Team. And of course super appreciative of all my supporters and sponsors. I really appreciate all the support that has got me this far.”

Sean Goldhawk, Yamaha Motor Australia (YMA)