Our buddies in sunny Florida are hitting the first snags in this long process of Dakar Rally preparation. Justin Maley checks in with an update on the KTM 530 modifications and the status of his team down at the WyoTech campus. Check out Project Dakar 2013 Part 1 to get the scoop on this optimistic undertaking.
Well, the first two weeks of the project didn’t go as planned. I expected to be out riding around on the bike already and getting some seat time the machine we will be racing. Charley Sikes decided to let the team check the bike over and give it a service before pointing me out into the Florida trails; yes, not much like Dakar will be but it’s all we have right now. The bike wasn’t brand new when we got hold of it so we did a cylinder compression test. The results came back less than stellar…. A lot less than stellar!
I made the decision to tear the bike down and give it a once-over. The guy that had it before us had given it a backyard rebuild and managed to destroy the valves and head, although the piston and rings were in great condition. Immediately I packaged up the head and sent it to LA Sleeve in California. Nick and the guys there gave it a clean-up, fixed what needed fixing threw new valves and guides in and massaged the ports.
While the team and I were waiting on the head I decided to have them strip the frame and paint it a nice shade of orange. The suspension was torn down and I ordered some Gold Valves from Race Tech. Race Tech was actually kind enough to send me some springs for the Husqvarna TC250 I have been using to get seat time.
The other big part has been raising money and talking to current and potential sponsors. It’s a tough economy and things are progressing, however, it is slow going. The Dakar is an expensive race to do; just taking one mechanic looks to be about a $20,000 ordeal.
Former Army Ranger, Charley Sikes, installs Motion Pro’s REVOLVER throttle kit and tube on the handlebars before we throw it all back together next week.
Charley and I fired our first potential race mechanic this past week. We are finding that dealing with students is tougher than we initially guessed. Basically, we are asking a lot of them before most of them are even ready for the field. One of our candidates for the team mechanic position was let go after a snafu with the KTM starter button that burned up the entire starter motor. This whole process has been an education in tough love and logistics for everyone involved.
Follow the build more closely via our Twitter @maley51. Shirts and stickers will be available soon. In the meantime, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for sponsor inquiries or chip in on the project via PayPal donations using the same email address.