Friday, 27 January 2023, 13:42
They still find it hard to believe that they've just completed one of their lifetime ambitions: to take part in one of the most extreme races in the world, the Dakar Rally.
They knew that, as amateur racers and at 55 and 62 years of age, respectively, it would be no easy task. The main objective was to finish and, although they had to give up on the eleventh stage due to a breakdown, the Malaga-born Alfredo Rubio (driver) and Alberto Benedicto (co-driver) can be proud to have spread Cudeca's name around the world thanks to this adventure.
At the hospice charity's headquarters in Benalmádena this week, the pair, alongside trainer Miguel Puertas and former Malaga and Spain goalkeeper Koke Contreras who helped instigate this adventure by introducing them to the work of Cudeca, shared their experiences on board their buggy 'Eagle 349'.
Rubio and Benedicto, who work in construction, decided to throw themselves at the 'Aldakar por un granito de arena' project, above all to bring the charity's name to a wider audience. They've been doing so by sharing details and insight of their journey across Saudi Arabia on social media, by holding a charity raffle of equipment used in the Dakar and shirts signed by athletes such as Joaquín and Isco.
"Knowing we were doing this for Cudeca gave us the strength to face up to this difficult rally," said Benedicto, the buggy's co-driver, who is clearly in the mood to tackle new extreme experiences with his partner.
However, doing the Dakar again is unlikely. "It took us a whole year to prepare for this one," said Rubio. "But we're thinking about maybe doing the Thousand Dunes Rally on a motorbike."
Both shared how difficult it was to say goodbye to the competition prematurely. Even though they experienced mechanical issues, punctures and traction problems during more than one stage, they managed to power through and never thought about having to drop out - but that was until the 11th stage.
Miguel Puertas, a coach who has 12 editions of the Dakar under his belt and has managed a professional team, said: "You need mental endurance for what is the toughest race in the world. For that, I give Alberto and Alfredo top marks. Others complained about the conditions, but these guys always had a positive attitude. For me, two normal people became heroes".
The only thing Rubio and Benedicto regret is not having been able to complete every stage and dedicate them to all those who made it possible for them.
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