Thank you very much Juan Morera and Lidia Ruba for dedicating this interview to us and for representing Momabikes wherever you are. Thank you also for giving visibility to the NGO project Bicicletas Sin Fronteras. It is a great pride to have seen you star in the Dakar Classic 2023 in first place from the 2nd stage.
• Last year you had already entered the Dakar with a Panda 4x4, this year you changed it for a Toyota 4x4 model HDJ80. It is clear that it has been a change for the better, what have been the benefits that you have found when changing the modelo?
The Panda was a personal challenge, no Fiat Panda had ever finished a Dakar and we wanted to be the first to do it while being competitive, without going for a walk. The main problem is the wheels, too small for the rocks and also too small for the sand, it was very hard. We broke many pieces every day, we went for everything and it was impossible. We managed to achieve second place overall in the 5th stage, but from there we had to lift our foot because there were no spare parts left and it became very difficult to finish. Of course, reaching the finish line was an indescribable sensation, we felt even more excitement than this year, reaching the finish line first. This year everything has been easier, the Toyota HDJ80 is one of the best options for a Dakar Classic, it is a very robust car and above all, super reliable..
• It has been a strange Dakar, full of rain and mud, you were prepared for these setbacks in addition to the weather barriers, what other circumstances have made the race difficult for you?era?
The truth is that you never expect rain and mud when you go to the desert, it has been very hard and we were not prepared. The wheels we have do not behave well in mud, they slide a lot and we have suffered much more than we thought. In fact, the Dakar is also going to be suffered because it is part of the experience, a friend of ours always says the phrase EVERYTHING IS DAKAR! Which is applicable to almost all circumstances there, we use it a lot! In addition to the rain, this year the organization also planned to increase the difficulty a little, 25% they said, combined with the rain there have been sections in which it has been more than 100%, but very fun..
• On a personal level, you have been together for 22 years and participating in the race has meant that you have been separated from your family for a long time. How have you handled it? Do you believe that trust has played a fundamental role in communication to reach first place?sto?
We have a 9-year-old daughter and 6-year-old twins (boy and girl). Valentina, Max and Claudia. It is difficult to be without them every Christmas, especially for their mother. At this age, every Christmas that you don't spend with them is an experience that you won't get back, so I can't say no. Trust is an ally, but also an enemy, sometimes it is better to go with someone you don't trust so much because they can disrespect you, there is a lot of stress in the car and managing it is not easy. The most important thing is that what happens in the car, stays in the car, is our motto.
• And finally, what has been the best thing about this experience? We will see you again next year on a truck or you will spend Christmas with your family.lia?
The best thing about the experience this year, without a doubt, has been winning. We could say something else, but it wouldn't be true. Winning a Dakar is a dream, something that we saw as unattainable and that we did not even consider. Our objective was to win a stage, it already seemed like a complicated challenge and in the end we won 2, two second places and two third places, not bad!!
For next year I wanted to go by truck, I have been preparing one for a year, but Lidia tells me that she doesn't look like a truck driver. For me, the most important thing is to go with her, so I have completely changed the project and I am preparing a very especially to the one who won't be able to say no, yes, for the next one I don't think he can anymoreya…