Former Bike rider Helder Rodrigues returns to Dakar after 5 years, racing in T3

Five years after his last Dakar Rally, Hélder Rodrigues will return to the race in 2023, albeit with twice as many wheels as usual. For the 2023 race, the longtime Bike rider will switch to a Light Prototype and compete in the T3 category, racing the #319 Can-Am with Gonçalo Reis as his co-driver.

Rodrigues competed at Dakar from 2006 to 2017 in the Bike class, scoring his first stage win in 2007 en route to an overall finish of fifth. He scored back-to-back third-place finishes in 2011 and 2012. The following year, he joined Honda’s factory programme and finished seventh. His most recent race in 2017 ended with a ninth, and he has nine total stage victories.

He halted his riding career in 2018 to become a manager at Honda Racing Corporation, who fields a rally raid programme under the Monster Energy Honda Racing Team name. Under his watch, Honda won the 2020 Dakar Rally with Ricky Brabec, marking the Japanese manufacturer’s first victory in the event since 1989. Kevin Benavides continued Honda’s winning ways by taking the 2021 edition ahead of Brabec, while Pablo Quintanilla finished second in 2022.

In 2022, Rodrigues joined South Racing Can-Am to begin racing UTVs. In October, he ran the Rallye du Maroc, scoring a runner-up finish in Stage #1B before placing thirty-sixth overall and tenth in T3.

“This is my first Dakar on four wheels after eleven Dakars in Moto and four as Sport Manager of Honda HRC,” said Rodrigues. “Now, it’s time to come back and compete and fight for our dreams.”

The 2023 Dakar Rally begins on 31 December 2022. Rodrigues is one of forty-four competitors in T3.