Sherco TVS Rally Factory’s Harith Noah recently made an indelible mark in the country’s motorsports scene as he became the first Indian to seize victory in the Rally 2 class at the esteemed Dakar Rally 2024. Noah’s victory, besides being a remarkable personal achievement, has also ignited hope for the developing landscape of motorsports in India. Speaking to TOI Auto, the 31-year-old, shared his firsthand account of the Dakar 2024 journey.
Adverse first week
Like any Dakar Rally glory, Harith’s journey to the Class 2 title was not without its challenges. Health issues plagued him early on, including dehydration and a throat infection. He even faced technical problems and crashes. Speaking about the challenges faced in the first week, he said, “The stage one was very bad for me. I had a really, really bad headache while riding and I started getting cramps everywhere. Even though I drank two litres of water throughout the stage. I think it was still not enough,”
“And I was very close to giving up that day before finishing the stages. But I didn’t. I didn’t do everything for nothing, all the work throughout the years, I kept telling myself. The first three days are the most difficult because the body is going through like super hard days back to back. And then at the end of the first week, I had a few technical issues, which was okay, we’ll go through them, I kept believing.”

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Had no dry clothes for 48H Chrono
This year’s race got even tougher with the introduction of a new stage called the 48H Chrono. In this stage, the riders had to cross around 600 kms in deserts over two days without any help from their teams. Although there were eight campsite shelters spread across. After 4 PM, the riders had to reach and stop at the nearest shelter.
“During the 48H Chrono at night, it was bitterly cold, and I had no dry clothes to wear. So the next day, it remained freezing, and I had to put on the moist clothes from the previous day. Consequently, I fell ill, developing a throat infection followed by a persistent cough that plagued me throughout the second week. Even now, I’m still recovering from the cough. However, the second week went more smoothly. Stage 11, though, was challenging as I encountered two minor crashes on the rocky terrains as -they are- always difficult for me.”
Taking it one kilometre at a time
During the Stage 8 and 10 in the second week, Noah put on the fastest times compared to all other riders. Speaking on his strategy he used to achieve it, Noah explained “Each stage, every race, follows a similar strategy for me. It’s about taking it step by step, focusing on the present moment without distractions. I aim to give my best effort every kilometre. Where I end up after a race or stage is where I’m meant to be, and I find satisfaction in that,”
“Ultimately, I can only control my own performance, not external factors. So, I maintain this mindset, avoiding getting too caught up in past achievements. It’s all about staying focused, one kilometre at a time, pushing hard until the finish line. Also, I purposely avoid checking the results during the race, staying focused solely on my performance.”
Top 10 finish – so, so close!
It’s truly impressive yet a bit sad that Harith nearly cracked the top ten, missing the tenth spot by just six minutes. When asked if he felt any mixed emotions about this, he said that he shouldn’t feel disappointed because he gave his all with every kilometre that’s what he believed he deserved.
“However, six minutes doesn’t seem like much time, and I know who was in 10th place. So, perhaps I could have done a bit better, but I need to find contentment with my 11th position. Each kilometre, I tackled to the best of my ability. So, this is where I ended up, and I’m satisfied with it. Next year, when I take on the race again, I’ll give it my all, regardless of where I finish, even if it’s 15th or 20th. That’s all I can ask for.”
Support from TVS
Noah expressed his gratitude to TVS Racing, his long-term supporter. “TVS has been with me almost since the start of my racing journey. Initially, I was a privateer for about two and a half years. Then, TVS noticed something in me, and under the management of Aravind KP, I joined their team.”
“Starting out, I was just one of their riders, steadily improving over time. My goals evolved, and eventually, I won the Supercross championship in the premier class after a couple of years, followed by several more victories. TVS then became the first manufacturer to venture into the Dakar Rally scene. Seeing TVS’s presence at the Dakar Rally inspired me to explore this avenue. We gradually built up, starting with local rallies in India and eventually competing internationally, including my debut in Morocco in 2018. The journey continued with my participation in the inaugural Dakar training program. Throughout, TVS has provided unwavering support, catering to my every need, whether it’s training, bike parts, or suspension adjustments. It’s been an incredible journey thus far, and I’m grateful.”
It’s just the beginning, enthusiasts take note!
“It’s difficult to articulate, but knowing that all the hard work I’ve put in has paid off makes it incredibly rewarding. This knowledge instills a strong belief in myself and propels me to continue striving for improvement. Winning the Rally 2 category after completing 12 stages and finishing 11th overall is also a significant achievement, not just for me, but for the sport as well,”
“So I think it’s definitely a step in the right direction for me personally, and also for people from India, who are interested in the sport, including manufacturers. Obviously, there are two already, one being TVS, who were the first manufacturers who took part in the Dakar and then there’s Hero. And hopefully this will open eyes to people who want to do racing of what’s possible from India as well as other manufacturers of the extent we can go,”
“It’s important to acknowledge that this is just the beginning; there are more races to come, and I approach them with optimism and enthusiasm,” he noted.


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