The "Official" Dakar 2021 Thread

slcdmc

Member
Awesome!! Well done to take that on, on your own. Has this just all been leisure trips or any of this business/media related?
That's a good question. I would say leisure but with a bit of aspiration. Not at all business/professionally related. Racing Dakar has always been a dream. Oddly I actually aspire to be a navigator not a driver. I love the challenge of a road book vs the terrain. I do both now depending on which race it is but if the situation ever presented itself i would prefer to co-drive Dakar. In general I love to travel (specifically to deserts) and love racing. I hope to go to Monaco one day for an F1 race. I've tried to get to a WRC race but the Mexico rally always conflicts with other events. I've been to Nascar, Indy and Lemans (series, not the 24hours, but one day) so when I can combine the two even better. Dakar, both because of Africa and it being desert racing, was always at the top of the list of races to go watch. When it moved to South America it got much more feasible. Thus the trip to Peru. I'd been there twice and knew it would be an easy/cheap place to go watch. Going to Saudi was as much about the country as it was the race. They've changed the visa process considerably so the two didn't need to coincide but that's how it worked out for us. I still don't know how it will work out but my current race team continues to scheme about how we can make Dakar happen. It's a daunting concept and truly unrealistic but going to watch is the first step. The introduction of UTV classes helps the costs considerably.

As I mentioned in an earlier post we (myself and a few guys I race with) were able to get into the Bivouac in Peru. I have an acquaintance that crew chiefs for a Chilean that raced in an X-Rain mini. We only spent about 2 hours there but had lots of conversations with mechanics and crews. As we did rough math of what we saw; race vehicles, support trucks, spares etc it wasn't out of the question to say a cool $1B sits in a cozy little area each night. That's not the crowd I run it. Even the malle moto guys run in a different tax bracket than I do. Racing 4 wheels is not a cheap endeavor. We've chatted with guys that 'race' a Toyota Prado. They're actually a parts truck for a UTV team but they get their race costs covered. I'd love to start out just doing that. I sacrificed about 5 years of my life to airplanes and hotels (IT Marketing) so making it to these events is cheap using miles and points. Especially when camping. Saudi cost me about $1k and that was with going 1000kms over on our rental car agreement. We camped all but 3 nights in Saudi and one of those hotel nights we stayed at a Hilton Garden Inn with points. I think it goes without saying that Dakar is something everyone should experience in person. Having now been to Saudi Arabia I can say that desire shouldn't change. I've only been there once but I've also been fortunate enough to travel to 5 continents and a couple dozen countries so it's easy for me to compare and contrast the experience when it comes to safety, language, paperwork, cost, hospitality etc. I've done most of that travel solo. If anyone has desires to travel to Saudi for Dakar 2021 (Covid contingent obviously) I'm more than happy to answer questions or provide more in-depth info. Either in this thread or via DM.

A few pics from the Peru bivouac below. 3rd pic is with my Chilean friend Patricio (he runs the Raid de Atacama event in Central Chile). Last pic is us with a Utah local, Nathan Rafferty, that finished the Dakar in his first attempt as a privateer. There used to be an informal Utah moto rally that I volunteered for and he was there each year. That was a great event. Andrew Short, Skylar Howes and Lyndon Poskitt all raced it at some point.
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GEO_DXB

Well-Known Member
Jean Louis
Quick question for the dakar experts!

I watched YouTube video about Formula 1 substitute drivers and a certain John ___ Schlesser was a driver in the 70s or 80s?

Is this the same guy as the Dakar rally winner? And currently runs the Africa - Eco rally?
Jean Louis Schlesser. Yes, same person. He actually started racing in open wheel formulas, was in F3 in the 70s and was a test driver for Williams F1 team in early 80s. In 1988 he replaced Nigel Mansell for an F1 race at the Italian GP in Monza for Williams and took Senna's McLaren out of the race in an accident. McLaren could have one all races of that season if it did not happen. He was also in European Touring Championship and in the 70s in rallies. He started offroad racing in 1984 in Dakar, but got actively involved since early 90s. He setup Africa EcoRace as a "real Dakar" when original Dakar moved to South America. Mind you, Schlesser was born in Marocco, so he knows how to drive in the sand...
 

spalind

Well-Known Member
Good to see this which seems to indicate the Red Bull program with the young guns from the US continues...I was worried it had been quickly shelved...
 

spalind

Well-Known Member
Tons of Americans this year in UTVs...Anyone thinking of going from here to spectate?
 

slcdmc

Member
Tons of Americans this year in UTVs...Anyone thinking of going from here to spectate?
As you know from messages on IG I'm still planning on going to Saudi again but the 1000 and travel restrictions (not to mention the election) are going to make it a December decision for us. Unfortunately ticket prices will be higher but maybe the airlines will be desperate for revenue. My biggest fear is that Saudi will require testing and quarantine which will be impossible to accomplish with the holidays and cost of sitting in a hotel for 2 weeks in country before being able to travel. we'll see and I'll keep in touch. Stoked to see more Americans. I purchased some Skyler Howes swag earlier this week to help him try and get there as well.
 
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