Project Dakar 2013 Part 1

February 28, 2012
Coma gains ground on Despres once again  his second-place finish in Stage 10 closing the overall advantage to 21 seconds.
Dakar is the ultimate dream for many off-roaders – and usually never more than that.

Every January the office is swept by Dakar fever. Even the street riders are affected by the grandeur and ultimate struggle the Dakar Rally represents. More than one of us dream of one day setting tire marks along the rally course. Considering the logistical reality quickly drags us back to Earth, and it’s safe to say that MotoUSA won’t be on the list of entrants for 2013. That doesn’t mean we can’t live vicariously through our friends.

Justin Maley is an instructor at the WyoTech campus in Daytona, Florida. He too gets bitten by the rally bug and has decided to man up and do something about it. With the eventual goal of kicking off 2013 in South America, Maley is already taking the preliminary steps of this massive undertaking. We’ve got plenty of questions about how someone goes about preparing for their first Dakar experience and figured this would be a good way to share that with readers. He’s even assembling a support crew complete with tryouts. We’ll be following along with him as he sends periodic updates on his program development, bike build and physical training. Let’s kick it off with this brief intro and stay tuned for more information in the future.

Keep an eye on Twitter and if you have any feedback make sure to mention #projectdakar2013.

What do you do when it’s time to hang up the boots from a competitive motocross career but you really just want to ride? This was the dilemma I faced eight years ago and have struggled with in the time since. Do I just give in and ignore my desire to ride and be competitive? Do I take up vintage racing? Do I stick to the old “with age comes a cage” adage? My original answer was to step away almost completely and see if I could find other things to make me feel like a responsible adult. As my wife can attest, this didn’t really work out. After many discussions with Hall of Famer Scot Harden I decided Dakar should be on my bucket list. Is it possible? Can I really pull this off?

The team for Project Dakar 2013  from left: James Aultman  Justin Maley  rider   JT Fortner  Charlie Sikes and Danielle Pray. The bike we have chosen is the tried and true KTM 530XCR-W. Of course we need to turn it into a 450 and then perform extensive modifications.
The team for Project Dakar 2013, from left: James Aultman, Justin Maley (rider), JT Fortner, Charlie Sikes and Danielle Pray. The bike we have chosen is the tried and true KTM 530 XCF-W. Of course we need to turn it into a 450 and then perform extensive modifications.

Here is my attempt, from start to finish, of riding the 2013 Dakar in South America. A “warts and all” account if you like! Our bike of choice is a 2009 KTM 530 XCR-W modified to fit the 450cc requirements. Over the coming months Motorcycle USA and I intend to let you know what broke, what worked and what was a dismal failure in (hopefully) a successful attempt at completing the Dakar Rally.

My team so far consists of myself, former Army Ranger Charlie Sikes, WyoTech Daytona instructor JT Fortner, WyoTech Eagle Tech President Danielle Pray and WyoTech Student James Aultman. In a “The Apprentice” kind of way we are going to narrow the team down to just one technician and me as the rider. Follow the story to see who we get to say “You’re FIRED!” to first…

You can follow my tweets about the project and see our supporters @maley51 or @motousa
Special thanks to Motorcycle USA, Race Tech, Motion Pro, WyoTech and LA Sleeve so far for making this possible.

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