I’ve been fortunate to have competed in several Australian Safari Desert Races in Nissan Patrols and a Holden Rodeo, and they definitely gave me some of my greatest motorsport memories. The rough racing conditions, continual beating of the machinery, long days and sheer tenacity required to compete over seven days made simply finishing the event an amazing achievement and anything better than that was a bonus.
One of my dreams was to one day compete in the Paris-Dakar Rally, now known as the Dakar Rally, and it’s still one of my dreams ……, but until that day comes (if ever), each year in January I become an avid Dakar follower.
I love cheering on Australian bike riders like the late Andy Caldecott who sadly passed away after an accident in the 2006 Dakar; more recently two-time Dakar winner Toby Price who fell on the ninth day of this year’s event and in doing so, celebrated the breaking of the 30th bone in his body; and Daniel Sanders who this year competed in his first Dakar Rally, after a spill on day one he went on to be the fourth rider across the line just thirty eight minutes fifty two seconds behind the winner and won the Rookie Rider award for this year’s event. It was an amazing effort.
The daily television packages are always a highlight and the Dakar Rally website coverage on www.dakar.com enable you to follow the race live, showing competitor locations and up to date new snippets and video packages.
Following is one package I love from this year’s event involving Daniel Sanders who at the end of day one had to make repairs to his bike himself and also get some running repairs to a gashed mouth. It’s a good insight into the toughness of these riders, what a great guy Daniel is, and the comments at the bottom of the video are endorsement of his popularity.
It certainly makes you proud to be an Australian and I can’t wait for Dakar 2022 when there’s a real possibility that Australian riders could be First and Second on the podium, I’m just not prepared to speculate who will be on the top step!!