15 days of the Dakar Rally has come and gone, 472 competitors took the starting line in Lima Peru and only 301 competitors made it to the finish in Santiago Chile. The 2013 Dakar Rally saw over 5,000 miles of race course though 3 different countries in 4 major categories; Car, Truck, Bike, and Quad.
Often times we go though the paces of who is leading the days stage or who holds the over-all lead forgetting about the fine details of the Dakar Rally, those in which are usually pretty significant to American style off-road racing.
The United States was represented in two of the four major categories; Car and Bike, some very well known and some very unknown. Not only was the United States represented with race competitors but it was also represented with car builders. 11 time SCORE Baja 1000 champion Johnny Campbell and factory Red Bull KTM rider Kurt Caselli were some of the more well known American competitors in the Bike category while Denver Colorado privateer Kevin Muggleton was among the unknown riders who represented the United States. Caselli and Campbell both pulled off an amazing finish and Caselli even earned himself a couple stage wins. Muggleton wasn’t so lucky, Kevin Muggleton would go out early in the rally with a severely bruised back and quite a few busted up ribs. Muggleton was taken to a local hospital and later reunited with his family in Denver.
Just as with the Bike category, the Car category saw the likes of NASCAR star and owner of Stadium Super Trucks and Speed Energy Drink; Robby Gordon. Along with Gordon (although not registered as being from America) Dakar veteran Eric Vigouroux wheeled his American built Chevy Pro Truck from start to finish of the 2013 Dakar Rally. Though the Car competitors were slim, the amount of American Car builders was much larger this year. Southern California native and local off road racer Jason LaFortune built his signature Aggressor based chassis for Chilean Victor Mastromatteo and outfitted it with a healthy Chevrolet LS3 in order to obtain the competitive edge among the rest of the category. LaFortune and Mastromatteo saw the sunrise in Santiago on Day 15 with all of the odds stacked against them. Southern California native Damen Jefferies also saw two of his cars in the 2013 Dakar Rally. Jefferies was approached by previous Dakar winner Nasser Al-Attiyah and Carlos Sainz with the direction of an F-1 engineer to build the ultimate two-wheel drive Dakar buggy. Jefferies saw multiple stage wins until both cars withdrew from the rally due to catastrophic failure.
2013 Dakar Rally for America by the numbers:
- Bike; 2 stage wins, 3 podiums, 5 top 10 finishes.
- Car; 2 stage wins, 8 podiums, 13 top 10 finishes.
- American Car builder; 7 stage wins, 16 podium finishes, 36 top 10 finishes.
At the end of the 2013 Dakar Rally it was the Frenchmen Stephane Peterhansel and Cyril Despres who came the victor. Although America didn’t have representation within the top finishers of the Rally, for America; finishing the 2013 Dakar Rally was a success in itself. Every American car that entered the rally finished the Dakar Rally. Every American built car was fitted with Toyo Tires and every American that represented the United States can proudly say they represented off-road racing in the US.