Dakar

Enduro World Champion Jane Daniels makes rally raid debut in Swank Rally Tunisia

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Credit: Tiziano Internó/Rally POV

Jane Daniels stands tall as the top rider in the FIM Women’s Enduro World Championship, but this past week took her talents to a new discipline when she ran the Swank Rally in Tunisia.

Daniels won the Women’s Enduro World Championship in 2019, 2021, and 2022, and intends to go for a three-peat this year while also running the British Enduro Championship. In the meantime, she decided to try her hand at rally with factory backing from her enduro manufacturer Fantic, who maintains a rally programme. According to an interview with Enduro21 prior to the Swank Rally, the start came about when she was asked by Italian reporter Dario Agrati about the prospect of running the Dakar Rally, to which she only said was possible if given an opportunity as she and her father would “never be able to make these races from the back of our van.” After Agrati’s interview was published, the answer was more than enough for Fantic to propose adding it to her 2023 schedule.

Running over four stages on 17–21 April, the Swank Rally is mainly aimed at non-professional riders hoping to gain in the rally raid experience. While there exists the Adventure class for those not wanting to race competitively, Daniels took part in the Rally category to vie for ranking.

She finished just shy of the podium in fifth overall with a total time of 1:26:28. Of course, rookie mistakes were present such as missing two waypoints in Stage #1 and suffering a speeding penalty the following day, but she ran mistake-free on the third and fourth legs. The race was cut short on Stage #4 due to sandstorms.

“I can’t thank everyone enough for welcoming me into the Rally world this past week,” wrote Daniels on social media. “It has been a pleasure to share this experience with you all and thank you again for all the help and tips throughout the race!”

Throughout her rally raid journey, Daniels has received support from fellow Fantic rider Tiziano Internó, who ran the 2023 Dakar Rally as a Malle Moto rider.

She intends to run more rallies later in the year during breaks in the enduro season. With this in mind, Daniels told Enduro21 it is currently “a bit early” to consider a Dakar Rally pursuit until she gains more experience before attempting the Road to Dakar qualifying races.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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