World Rally-Raid Championship

Jonathan Finn after Hungarian Baja: “Rally isn’t easy, you just got to deal with these things”

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Credit: Edoardo Bauer

The FIM Bajas World Cup summer stretch was not too kind to Jonathan Finn. After entering July second in the overall 450cc championship, he left last weekend in fifth after a string of challenging runs at the Baja España Aragón and Hungarian Baja.

Hungary marked his first time back on the bike after hurting his hand in Aragón, effectively throwing him into the deep end right from the start as he had to navigate through rocky terrain in the Prologue and “you try to avoid them, but there’s just more to the left and the right of you.”

After placing tenth in the first stage, he began to find his stride by the second leg with a ninth amid water-based sections that he felt “worked out in my favour,” which he attributed to it being “350 kilometres since my accident in Aragón. Really, I’m just getting the feeling back and getting faster and faster each kilometre.”

Stage #3 was run in reverse of the previous day, giving him a familiar route. Still, there were his off moments like trying to go over a trench only to hit his face into his bike’s navigation tower, though he managed to stay on his wheels and recorded another ninth. He improved a spot in Stage #4 to eighth.

Much like in Aragón, however, things unravelled on the final stage. In Hungary’s case, he speculated it was a rock that did him in as his bike’s chain guide detached and he struggled to keep it affixed throughout the leg. By the end, he finished eleventh in the stage to be classified thirteenth overall of sixteen FIM riders and ninth of eleven bikes with a total time of 7:51:36.4. Winner Stefan Svitko was ahead by over two hours.

“At KM 18, something came up and took my chain guide off and so I had to stop and fix that, and then I tried to get going again but my chain must have come off at least two dozen times, something like that,” he explained. “Without that chain guide, it just comes off super, super easily. Kind of a bummer. I had to finish the stage riding in the 50 to 60 kilometre an hour threshold. Kind of a bummer, but you know what? We’re here. We got the points. It’s not exactly how I wanted to finish. I knew I could have pushed harder. But things happen. Rally isn’t easy and you just got to deal with these things.”

Finn now sits fourth in the FIM 450cc points, seventeen behind leader Mohammed Al-Balooshi who finished seventh in Hungary. He remains the Junior Cup leader ahead of Kevin Giroud, though the latter beat him in both Aragón and Hungary including a sixth overall at the latter. Kristyna Vankova, a Quad rider like Giroud and the only other Junior Cup entrant, placed fifteenth.

The next round of the Bajas World Cup, the Baja do Oeste, is on 6–8 October.

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Justin is neither a NASCAR nor off-road racer, but he has covered them for The Checkered Flag since 2018.
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