Noah stronger, confident after Dakar high

Mentally, it’s more difficult than anything else, says star rider

As a kid, Harith Noah used to watch videos of the Paris-Dakar Rally which his dad Mohammed Rafi used to bring home every year. That’s how he got hooked to racing and rallying.

“I was around five then but I wanted to do car racing very much. And when I got my bike, I frequently used to race in the plot near my home,” said the 27-year-old TVS Racing team rider here on Thursday.

Best by an Indian

Last month, Noah had the best finish by an Indian at the Dakar Rally which was held in Saudi Arabia this time. He finished 20th bettering C.S. Santosh’s 34th place in 2018.

A multiple national supercross champion earlier, Noah was not thinking of any number when he started the Dakar, one of the world’s toughest rallies.

“The goal was to do every stage and when I finished 20, I didn’t expect it. I had a major crash in the fourth stage and because of that I thought may be it would be 30 or something. It was definitely a nice feeling.”

Asked if a top-10 finish was possible in future, he said: “My goal was to finish the rally and do every stage fast without any major crashes or mistakes. My goal is to implement the same for next year,” said Noah, who was sborn in Germany.

“It’s unnecessary pressure if you try to fix something and at the end of the day you can only ride as well as you can.

Training is important

“The training, what I’m going to do now and every day, is important. Definitely 20th is good but can be much better for sure. It is definitely possible.”

His mother Susanne, a German, had come down to Kerala to learn Carnatic music. That’s how she met and married Mohammed Rafi, who runs a bakery at Shoranur. The Indo-German connection often sees Noah going to Europe, and to Paris, for training.

“Mentally, it’s more difficult than anything else. Not just the race, there’s also the waking up every day at 4 a.m. and sometimes you have to ride 300km on the road from 4 a.m.,” he said.

But the experience has made him stronger and confident for the future.

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