Go watch, chase, Dakar????

nimrod

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If some of us wanted to get together and rent a motorhome and follow the race is that possible? Any advice on chasing it as a spectator? Best in 4 wheel drives and tents? Could we rent a motorhome and a 4x4 or is it better to do tents and motels?

Any info would be awesome.

I know this is like asking what's the best way to see the Baja 1000, kind of a big open ended question but thanks in advance for the info.
 

DarrenSkilton

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If it was me going on a fun trip I would outfit a couple of capable, reliable 4x4s (ARB fridge, on board shower and tents) ship them out of Long Beach to Chile (cheap, fast, less customs hassle) and follow the rally leapfrog stages to get in front of the race. Camp one night then hotel the next before the rally gets to town. You can't see all the stages the distances are just too much, so pick and chose. Also take time to enjoy local hospitality, food and wine. It is what makes Rally Raid an adventure and part of the culture of the events. We are trying to foster the same thing with Sonora Rally....true adventures tied to the excitement of off road competition.
 

JCSDakar

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Best way is 4x4 and motels. Biggest problem is info regarding spectator points as they only get released 2 days earlier and only in spanish. So you need internet & some basic spanish or someone at home that can assist you with your route. It won't be possible to really find a spectating point somewhere deeper into the stage as you would have to get there the night before. You would also most likely need the road book and that is only released to people that are accredited. You will also have no access to the bivouac at all without accreditation. Prepare to sleep in the car on some nights as there might be some motels that don't get your reservation, sell your room to someone else or some other problems.

Preparation is key. Internet and mobile connection is terrible in many areas. If you know the basic route try to find points of interest and try to determine where you want to see the stage. Spectator points are often boring and bland. Try to find the best points via google maps or ask people that have been there before. If you manage to find a european photographer/cameraman you will be in for some sweet sweet spots.
 

JCSDakar

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You can't see all the stages the distances are just too much, so pick and chose.

It is quite possible to see every stage. You just need to get out early and prepare pretty much your whole trip before it starts. Also a genuine way to experience the Dakar. Tired and wasted. ;)

As Darren already said, try to get some of the cultural feeling when you are in towns. Especially asado and the great wine.
 

JCSDakar

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Would there be any point in going to a European Baja round for 'training' purposes.


Preparation as a spectator? Not really. European Bajas are the same as any normal rally in New Zealand from a visitor point. The real problems about spectating the Dakar is the seclusion from civilization and hardship of getting valuable information. If you want to prepare for Dakar as a spectator go to the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (03rd April - 7th April) / Quatar Sealine CC Challenge (17th April-22nd April) / Egypt Pharaons CC Rally (7th May - 14th May) or the Rally dos Sertões in Brazil (3rd September - 10th September). I for myself don't think that it will help you in any way during Dakar but those are still nice CC rally.

The closest for you would probably be the Australasian Safari which is part of the Dakar Challenge. But it seems that it is somehow suspended at the moment. Last event that i could find was from 2014.
 
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nimrod

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Thank you guys for all the great input. It seems like going to the Baja 1000 on steroids, the more you go the more you learn but that first time is still amazing even though you're pretty much clueless.
 

SDSam!

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I wonder what kind of budget per person would be needed? based on your idea of 4x4 vehicle and tent/motel.
 

JCSDakar

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I wonder what kind of budget per person would be needed? based on your idea of 4x4 vehicle and tent/motel.

18 days.

18 motels á lets say 70 $ = 1260 $

Around 8.500 km of driving with a Toyota Landcruiser.
Consumption of 8,5l per 100k = 722,5l * 1,04 $ = 751,40 $ for fuel

Say 25 $ a day for food and other stuff (maybe a restaurant on some days) = 450$

ca. 100 $ for a tango show in Buenos Aires

Flights from San Diego to Buenos Aires and back are 1600 $. Although its unlikely that the Dakar will end in Buenos Aires in 2017.

Car rental is probably around 1000 $. It's gonna be more in 2017 because you will probably not drop it off in Buenos Aires again.

So you can expect costs around 5200$+ for a single person. Scaling effects for fuel and car will obviously apply for a group. :)
 
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Ship over on of our Agile Off-Road Long Travel Sportsmobile vans and spectate in comfort - anywhere you want.

Got any DAKAR short term lease specials?

(For that matter, any 4x4 Sportmobile short term leases? Great vehicles, but I can't emotionally handle the opportunity costs involved in ownership. "Let's just say: I have enough money to rent anything I need" )
 

JPBart

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A cursory search for shipping was $3300 one way from LA to any port in Chile. I have to think you could get it for less but certainly more than the cost of a rental car so I stopped looking.
 

JCSDakar

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Almost forgot for the most important info for all our American friends in here. You won't be able to pay by credit card in most of the places. Especially gas stations rarely have the possibility for it. It's gotten better in the last years. Most Esso / Axion are possible but YPF and ACA as well as all of the remote stations don't offer it. This also applies to most of the stores in Argentina. So be sure to always have enough cash with you and plan in advance. You never know when you will find the next working ATM.
 

Dirty Harry

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Unlike Baja, ASO doesn't make this a very easy race to chase. When I first went with Darren Skilton in 2010 there was a sizeable group of motorcycles following the race from town to town. This year I hardly saw any of that. I believe (don't quote me) that it cost Klaus about $3k each way to ship his 4Runner. Plus he is without the vehicle for over a month on each end of the trip.

You could rent a truck locally and fly in with your camping gear, I think that would be the best way to go. On a route like this year I would follow the race north to the border, then go to Salta for a few days and chill out. One of the biggest bummers of following the race is all of the spectacular natural and cultural opportunities that we drive past to get to the next location.

Spectator locations are located at:

Zonas espectadores: Dakar

You could go to those and watch some race cars, then follow them on the liaison. Stopping at the gas stations is crazy and cool at the same time. Huge crowds and people asking for photos, hats, t-shirts. You can't get into the bivouac without being smuggled in, but I think that one or two trips to the bivouac is enough to get a feel for how it works.

In the past I've had friends fly down to Buenos Aires for scrutineering and follow the first stage or two, then head home. This makes a nice vacation and gives you a taste of the race without making a huge commitment with limited knowledge of what you are getting it to.
 

JPBart

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I am thinking 5k would be the low budget trip for the whole event. You could spend less but I like to have a little buffer. Bucket list event for me. Anyone know if you need vaccinations or visas or anything else to follow the event?
 

JDDurfey

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I wouldn't go to South America without getting a few shots. Hepatitis (not the STD kind) is in water, you can get it from simply getting it in your mouth while taking a shower. Typhoid is another. I bet vaccines would be covered by insurance, so why not get poked a few times to possibly save your life.
 
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