The Dakar Project has been coming along, although it seems somewhat slowly. However we have been making some dents in the logistics of things. When we took a step back and looked at the sheer enormity of what we were doing it all seemed to overwhelm us. So we thought, where better to start a Team USA attempt than with a phone call to Patsy Quick A.K.A. “The Desert Rose,” who runs a team out of the U.K. and has been a staple of Dakar for more than 10 years. With the logistical nightmare that comes with racing Dakar we decided that our best shot at success would be to piggy back our effort off someone that has done this before. A quick look at Patsy’s site at www.desertroseracing.com put everything into perspective. She does rides all over the world and if you are planning a holiday to do with bikes we strongly suggest contacting her. When we called Patsy on her cell she just happened to be heading to Morocco for a tour.
Talking with Patsy, two things immediately became apparent – A: Patsy has that strong English accent that says “I have fun but don’t mess with me.” and B: The woman knows her stuff! An hour-long phone call had us extremely reassured that this is who we would like to go to Dakar with.
As a team, we have decided to attempt the Australasian Safari Down Under in September this year. It will be a great warm up to the Dakar and will be a test to how well the team works together. Plus, who in their right mind would pass up a race across the Australian outback? Especially after the Safari organization offered free shipping for a limited number of competitors from the U.S and Europe. (Editor’s Note: Justin attended this race as a media liaison in 2010. Read his MotoUSA article 2010 Australasian Safari Adventure.)
If you have an interest in taking up the shipping offer and doing this event, slated for the 21st – 29th of September, contact Justin at firstname.lastname@example.org and also check the event site out here: www.australasiansafari.com.
As a rally side-note, our good friend Brent Teixeira from Key West, Florida, went to Morocco to race in the 2012 edition of the Tuareg Rallye. Brent was the only representative from North America and apart from some navigation issues and a couple breakdowns on his rented bike, did extremely well. Brent ended up 74th out of 149 riders on the Pro Motorcycle class. All this while racking up a whopping 40+ hours of penalties due to his setbacks. One penalty was given to Brent after an official informed him of the wrong start time and then when it was protested the organizing body simply said “Well, that is your responsibility to start on time.”
Brent is one of those guys that is not easily impressed, but even with the snafu he came away from the Tuareg raving about how well it was organized, how well the guys he rented a bike from looked after him and his wife and that he will go back!
Since starting this Dakar Project the team has sat down a number of times to go over as many variables as we can collectively think of. I am sure we are missing a few; however we have tried to think of everything from raising money to passports and visas. From parts to budgets and even down to physical training for our rider. When we set the wheels in motion we were skeptical as I tipped the scales at 238 pounds. I started going to the gym with a trainer but soon stopped that and took things into our own hands. Now after having dropped 14 pounds in the last three weeks the team and I feel a little better about this project. The commitment is starting to show and with all the work we are all doing, seeing our rider go to the next level with training, chasing sponsors and R&D’ing parts for the bike has made our work a lot easier. How guys like Jonah Street manage to do this year after year really has us amazed!
The bike is in its final stage of its test build. Next week we expect to fire up the engine with the LA Sleeve-spec head, twist the Motion Pro Revolver throttle and give the Race Tech tuned suspension a shake down. A long time sponsor of mine, BELL Helmets, stepped up and sent out a new Bell Moto-9 Solid Helmet in Matte Black that we are taking up to the Navy SEAL’s in Virginia to do a promo with. This helmet will be worn to honor the military guys that have all done so much for us at the Australasian Safari and then auctioned off to help cover some costs of racing Dakar. In the next installment the team will start breaking down the cost of the build so far. Additionally we will start to explain the budget and how we plan to make it down and back.
As with anyone’s effort to do a race of this magnitude it wouldn’t be possible without the help of some amazing people and sponsors. Thank you to the guys and girls at KLeN Laundry, 1DAYWRAPS.COM, Motion Pro, BELL Helmets, LA Sleeve and Race Tech. Follow the build more closely on Twitter: @maley51.