One of the challenges of reporting on an event like the Dakar Rally is the remote locations that competitors face along the route. Not only does the difficult terrain challenge man and machine, but connectivity to the outside world can be spotty at best. As a result, news is often slow to filter out of the desert. Even the organizers often have challenges keeping their live scoring up to date, as competitors are often MIA for long periods of time.
Today marks day three of competition in South America, as teams tackle 96 km of steep sand dunes leading from Pizco, Peru to Nazca. Currently, rally legend Carlos Sainz is shown on top of the leader board in the cars. My focus during my coverage this week will be on the Canadian entries.
If you are attempting to follow the somewhat confusing live scoring on the Dakar site, you may have noticed that Canadian entry in the Cars category, David Bensadoun in the #353 Desert Warrior, has vanished from the scoring. That is because the Desert Warrior has already fallen victim to The Dakar. Just 21 km into Stage 2, the team suffered a blown engine.
The photo above was shot exclusively for Wheels.ca by Gary aka motoperu on Flickr during Stage 1, while the Aldo Racing entry was still running strong.
Stage 2: The save of the day
It’s not too much of a stretch to say the bike riders are by far the craziest of the entrants. It really is just a rider and his or her machine against all odds. Sometimes a little bit of luck is all that makes the difference between staying on the bike and eating dirt. Just ask Chilean rider Patricio Cabrera who had a massive save in the dunes on Stage 2, just as a camera chopper was flying overhead.
The Aldo Racing flag is still flying, as rider Patrick Beaule is currently in 52nd position after Stage 2. His Facebook page is quiet so far today, and the rankings show him as being still on the road, so it is safe to assume all is well.
Don is plugging away on the #110 KTM, with the standings showing him in 164 position overall out of 171 bikes. A veteran of The Dakar, Hatton knows that there is merit in the old saying “slow and steady wins the race”.
Don has commented to the folks at Rally Raid Canada that there were over one million spectators at the starting point, with 600,000 more lining the stage roads from Lima to Pisco. That has to be a record of some sort!
Once again, the photo above is from Gary in Peru and shows Don Hatton in action on the sand during Stage 1.
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