Marc Coma: “Last year we achieved a great victory and we hope we can repeat it. It is difficult, but with the help of the team and a good set-up for the bike, we have chances to repeat that victory.”
When next January 1 a new Dakar edition starts in Buenos Aires, Marc Coma (@Marc Coma) will have in front of him nearly 9,000 kilometres to achieved what would be his fourth victory in the motorcycles category. In his tenth participation, the MRW rider will try to confirm his role as a referent in a race where his talent on his KTM 450 Rally in any desert of the planet has turned into his main hallmark. A tenth edition where the experience gathered all these years will allow Coma to exploit all his potential in a race he know better than anyone.
What do you expect in this 2012 Dakar edition?
“I think this year will be the most African edition since the race change continent. What we were able to see shows that it changes to be a linear race with Finish in Lima, Peru’s capital. It seems that until the last day the scenery we will have will be the desert, very similar to what we remember from the African race.”
To face a race like the Dakar, how important is it to be in a team like the MRW Red Bull AMV Team?
“After a first edition with Joan [Pedrero], where we did a great team work, I think it is the moment to confirm it. Last year we achieved a great victory and we hope we can repeat it. It is difficult, but with the help of the team and a good set-up for the bike, we have chances to repeat that victory.”
This will be your tenth Dakar. How has ‘Marc Coma’ evolved as a rider during these years?
Marc Coma: “Both as a person and as athlete I have been progressing and growing and now I have a lot more experience. I think we are in a good moment and now is time to gather the fruits of all these years.”
“Ten years are a lot of time. They pass very fast, but they are a lot of time. Both as a person and as athlete I have been progressing and growing and now I have a lot more experience. I think we are in a good moment and now is time to gather the fruits of all these years.”
Will you train again with the bike before the start of the Dakar?
“That depends a bit on the weather, if the conditions are favourable we will take advantage of them, but the work is mostly finished. The aim is not to lose the physical level and that the bike mechanisms are active.”
Why do you prepare the Dakar in Morocco?
“Morocco is the ideal place to train because we can simulate all the conditions we will find in the Dakar. It also allows us to do many kilometres of desert, it is relatively close and the weather is much better than in Spain at this time of the year. The most important point is that there are also dunes, a terrain impossible to find in Spain. We are just a month away from the Dakar and in Spain is difficult to train because the weather conditions are more complicated. It is a time we always go there because we are calmed and can focus on the training. There are many kilometres of desert and dunes where we try to find all the terrains we must face in South America.”
Have you got any memories from this place?
“The first time I saw and rode on dunes was here, in Merzouga. It used to be a mythical part of the Dakar route. It is a place where it used to be a lot of public. A very special place with an amazing scenery, so it is nice to come back and train in that area of Morocco.”
The sand is similar to the one you will find in South America?
“The sand in South America is slightly different, but on the whole this one is ok and it is very useful to train, as we can ride on dunes very similar to the ones we will find at the Dakar.”
As all the great riders, Marc Coma has fuel running through his veins. When he was 8 he already run from his house to the mountain tracks around Avià (Barcelona), something his father and his uncle, two great motorcycle fans, were soon used to see. The little kid would disappear on a Montesa Cota 348, until he had the first bike of his own: a Puch Cobra 74, which was a reward for his good marks at school.
It was in 1995 when the rider from Avià started to compete in national and world enduro championship, which were his first contact with competition. Nevertheless, Marc had really just one fixed aim: the Dakar. That race where the African desert was the only scenery obsessed the Spanish rider.
The beginning was hard, but after the good level shown in his debut in 2002, Coma entered a year later the KTM team together with Nani Roma and Isidre Esteve. That year he achieved his first objective, to finish the tough African race with a well-deserved eleventh place. The following year, Coma repeated his role as squire in the team that would eventually win, until he had to retire due to a crash.
He struck his first blow in 2005, when he finished second in the overall classification, and it was on Sunday, January 15th 2006 when Marc Coma finally reached the top of the podium in Lac Rose. He became the second Spanish rider to achieve that feat, a great success that confirmed him in the elite of the specialty when he also became Cross-Country Rallies World Champion.
Nevertheless, that success was followed by two disappointments that he was able to overcome. The first was when he was forced to retirement in 2007 due to a crash suffered after dominating nearly all the race. The second was the suspension of the 2008 Dakar edition due to terrorist threats. However, fully developed as a rider, Coma was able to overcome those blows by achieving his second triumph in the Dakar in 2009, this time in South America.
That result converted him in the first Spanish rider to win the mythical race twice, signing a new golden page for the national sport. After the controversial penalty in the 2010 Dakar that left him in fifteenth overall position, the next year Coma recovered his throne. For the first time in MRW livery, the Spanish rider had a brilliant performance and achieved his third victory.
This season, the MRW Red Bull AMV Team rider has competed in the most important races of the specialty, adding three more victories in Cross Country Rallies World Championship. At 35 and with nine participations in the Dakar behind him, Coma is writing one of the golden pages in the international Raids/Rally competition. That is why this new Dakar edition starts better than ever: Coma will try to achieve his fourth victory, again with the team mate that will accompany him for the second year in a row, Joan Pedrero.