Considered by many to be one of the most grueling tests of man and machine ever devised, the Dakar rally has a history of triumphs and crushing defeat dating back to 1979. Originally beginning in Paris, the event wound its way through the African deserts, eventually finishing in Dakar. Over the years, the unstable political climate of the continent has caused organizers to choose many different routes. Eventually, in 2009, The Dakar left Africa altogether, finding a new home in South America, where teams have been welcomed with open arms. The relocation has not changed the intensity of the rally, it is still a massive accomplishment just to finish. It is an accomplishment to live through the event.
Few Canadians have been fortunate enough to succeed in finishing The Dakar and only one crew on four wheels. Most recently was the Aldo Racing team, made up of David Bensadoun and Patrick Beaule who competed in the event for the first time in the 2012 running. Not only did they finish, but they scored 40th place among the 78 vehicles that finished in the “Car” class. Pretty impressive when you consider that 150 competitors started in the class.
The 2013 round of The Dakar begins tomorrow in Lima, Peru. Competitors will wind their way through desert and mountains before reaching (hopefully) Santiago, Chile, on Jan. 20.
I’ll be including news from The Dakar daily in the Insider Report. Read on to learn more about the Canadian contenders after watching the official 2013 Dakar video trailer.
The leader of the popular Aldo Shoes company is back for 2013, once again at the wheel of a specially built Desert Warrior racing truck. This year, the four wheel drive truck is wearing a new body, built to resemble a Land Rover Evoque. Bensadoun has a new co-driver this year, Paul Round who is the leader of Rally Raid UK, who built the truck and is a seasoned Dakar veteran. This pair looks good to finish near the top this year.
YouTube user Javier Vasquez went for a ride with Bensadoun in the yellow and black beast a few days ago in Peru.
Not content to be one of the only Canadians to finish The Dakar on four wheels, Beaule has decided to trade the shotgun seat for a saddle for 2013 in an effort to become the only Canadian to ever finish on two and four wheels.
9LenS caught up with Beaule while he was practicing on his KTM.
British Columbia insurance broker and bike shop owner, Don Hatton, is back in 2013 for his fourth attempt at finishing The Dakar. Hatton’s luck has seen the event get cancelled due to terrorist activity, mechanical failures and a high speed crash that caused many broken bones. Hatton believes it is his destiny to finish The Dakar.
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