Javi Vega not being scored in 2024 Dakar Rally as he remains in Malle Moto

Javi Vega came close to winning the 2023 Dakar Rally on his own when he finished runner-up in the Original by Motul (colloquially known as Malle Moto) category for riders without assistance from teams. While he will continue to race in the same manner for 2024, he will not be permitted to actually contend for the win.

Under the Dakar regulations outlined by the Amaury Sport Organisation and FIM, Malle Moto entries are amateur riders who must have never competed in the top-level RallyGP, won Malle Moto, or finished top thirty among all bikes. As fate would have it, Vega’s final 2023 time of 52:45:43 ranked him exactly thirtieth overall. Consequently, although he is still an amateur by the dictionary definition as he does not race for a living nor does he have factory support, he is no longer eligible to race in Malle Moto.

Officially, he has been moved to Rally2, also filled with amateur riders albeit with teams. Vega intends to race without a crew anyway as a Malle Moto rider, which is permitted though he will not be classified in the category. Even if he is not eligible to win, his main goal for 2024 is to still beat the other Malle Moto competitors.

“I received an email saying my riding skills had improved and that being among the top thirty, in addition to making it to the podium, puts me above the amateur status,” Vega told Motorsport Spain. “I don’t entirely agree with it because I see myself as just another amateur, but those are the rules, and they must be followed.

“To be honest, it was a a letdown, I was somewhat disappointed. But here we are, embarking on a new adventure, and we have to face it as if it were the last one. Survive, avoid getting hurt, and finish another Dakar.”

2023 Malle Moto winner Charan Moore, who defeated Vega by twenty-one minutes, will race in Rally2 as well, though he will race conventionally with the help of team HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing.

2024 will be Vega’s sixth Dakar Rally after making his début in 2019. He has raced solo since 2020. The 2024 race begins on 5 January.

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