Exclusive: Cramps, Headache and Cold Desert Nights – Harith Noah Talks About His Dakar 2024 Victory, Challenges and More

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Harith Noah bags the Dakar rally win

Sports India Show got a chance to talk to India’s Dakar Hero Harith Noah. In 2024, Harith became the 1st Indian driver to win at the gruesome 5000 KM long Dakar Rally. He took a 1st place finish in Rally 2 category and 11th place overall. He was racing for Sherco rally team (backed by TVS Motosports)

Harith Noah: Experience of Dakar 2024

Talking about his experience and expectations Harith Noah said, “It was really good um I mean obviously the main goal for me was to complete the race uh reach the finish line. That’s what I did and um yeah so (its) really not over until you do that so I did that. And obviously the second week went really well.”

Q: If I’m not wrong, you were not well, you had some technical issues before the first round and also faced some more during the later stages. How did you cope up with that and were you expecting to pick a win in your category?

“No no uh so basically no I didn’t expect that (stage win).”

“Also in the first week I was not sick. I just the first day. I don’t know someone posted it (that Harith was sick) but I was not sick.”

He explained, “I was sick the second week. the first week just the first day I had a like I was dehydrated so I had some cramps and headache so was like really difficult for me to complete the first day because I was feeling very bad.”

Talking about the issues with the bike he added, “Other than that in the first week, I think stage 5, I had a small issue with the fuel. Some fuel problem: there was dirt in the fuel so it created some issues.”

Harith Noah rode the Sherco 450 rally

Brutal Desert Cold in the Dakar 2024 Chrono Stage

Harith continues and talks about the most brutal 48 hour challenge of the Dakar. He added, “And then the sixth stage, the Marathon stage, uh not the Marathon the Chrono stage (Dakar 2024 introduced an ’48h chrono stage’, which would cover over 600km with a midnight halt) it was also a little difficult because of the fuel consumption issues. So our bikes, I mean all the bikes were consuming a lot of fuel so we had to ride a little conservative. so that that was the only problems I had the first week.”

“And then on that stage, on the Chrono stage, in the night I felt really cold and my clothes didn’t dry so I got a really bad cold for the whole week. I had a like running nose and cough and stuff like that.”

Not keeping a tab of time?

Q: You were not keeping a tab of the timings and rankings when you were racing this is something you said in an interview. So how does that work?

He explained, “That’s something me and my psychologist decided.”

“Even before the first darker, I did so I’ve always been doing this so because we believe or I believe that um you know at the end of the day all you can do is give your best especially at a race like Dakar.”

“Riding over your head is a little risky, it’s already risky riding, so riding over your head is just makes things more risky and dangerous so it’s always best to give you a best and try to do the best you can and wherever you finish you will finish there like that’s where you belong.”

He added, “So um that’s I mean obvious in the back of my mind um back of my head I know that I finished 20th last years and that I wanna better that but um at the end I just wanna do the best I can.”

Dakar Rally Map

Injuries, Recovery and Family’s Support

“Coming into 2024, yeah so I was my fifth darker. so the first one I had,
I completed the darker experience but I had a technical issue on stage 3 um. In the second one I completed 20th. Next year, the third one I had a technical issue.”

He added, “The fourth one was last year, I had a bad crash and broke my back.”

Family’s reaction on going back to Dakar after a serious accident in 2023

“They support me 100% always. so that’s nice um so whatever you know uh they’re always with me and they they support me in what I’d like doing which is riding and racing so they’re they’re always there yeah”

Interest in taking like a full W2RC championship in the coming years

He said, “If I’m interested of course. (ha ha) right not just my interest you know it’s uh the team we need to support”

“We had some discussions, meetings. Bur it just hasn’t uh gotten to that point where we have (a deal). So maybe in the future.”

Reception in India after the win

Talking about his victory celebration by his fans and the team Harith Noah said, “yeah it was really good. I got a few people came at the airport to you know pick me up and aha you know that was really nice yep then I had another with the team. We had a small function with all the employees that was also nice.”

Q. The past 6 months were very big for Indian motor sports. We had the Moto GP, then we had one Indian Driver and an Indian Rally team winning in the Dakar Rally. Finally, we have the Indian Supercross happening across multiple cities. So what are your thoughts of the future of motorsports in India?

Harith Noah replied, “It’s definitely moving in the right direction. I hope more people start watching it and get interested in the sport. I mean at the end of the day we, the athletes racing now are nothing if there is no support from the fans or whatever right.

so the more people that get into it the better it is for the sport as a whole and yeah hopefully uh and it keeps going the way it.”

Talking about Rally Cross and will he join the league: “yeah yeah I got some highlights. I watched some live also. it was nice.”

When asked about racing in the Rally Cross. He said, “I think uumm no. I haven’t planned anything yet uh let’s see. But I’m focusing on rallies”

Learn More about the Dakar 2024.