Guest Author - Nancy Brotherton
The Dakar rally was created by Thierry Sabine who got lost in the Libyan Desert while riding in the Abidjan-Nice rally. He was so mesmerized by the landscapes and extreme motorcycling opportunties, he decided to let others know about it. Thus, the Dakar rally began at the end of the year in 1978. The Dakar rally is open to all participants that drive or ride vehicles and share a passion for extreme adventure.
The rally usually began in France and ended in Dakar and was named the Paris-Dakar rally. Every year since, the starting points and destinations have been changed somewhat due to uncertainties and uprisings the route. In 2008, because of uprisings in Africa and surrounding areas, the Dakar was cancelled. For 2009, the Dakar is scheduled to run January 3rd though January 18th, 2008 in South America for safety concerns, as well as, for new and challenging routes. The route is 5900 miles through two countries with 550 teams registered at last count. The 2009 route will have riders and drivers navigating through the Andes mountains, the shores of the Pacific ocean and a Desert.
There are three categories consisting of motorcycles, automobiles, and large trucks. Since the inception of the rally in 1978 through 2007, winning motorcycle brands are: 8 wins Yamaha; 7 wins KTM (2001-2007); 6 wins BMW, 5 wins Honda; and 2 wins Cagiva Elefant. Of the 8 wins on a Yamaha, 6 of the wins was the same rider, Stephane Peterhansel. Participants must be in top physical condition, often training for months, to be able to complete the entire grueling course. This rally is about your endurance, passion, love of adventure and the unknown, and your vehicle navigational and driver skills.
This is extreme riding and driving at its best. Since the rally began, there are a total of 48 deaths connected with the rally. The elements are unpredictable, the route challenging, and the exhilaration is endless. To check out this year's Dakar rally, click on the link below.
Until next week, ride safe.