The "Official" Dakar 2021 Thread

slcdmc

Member
Posts
20
Reaction
39
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.
20190115_182332.jpg
20190115_190042.jpg
imagejpeg_0_09.jpg
IMG_20190115_195824_043.jpg
IMG_20190115_195824_047.jpg
IMG_20190115_214500_171.jpg
 
Last edited:

GEO_DXB

Well-Known Member
Posts
552
Reaction
504
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
Posts
5,495
Reaction
1,576
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
Posts
5,495
Reaction
1,576
Tons of Americans this year in UTVs...Anyone thinking of going from here to spectate?
 

slcdmc

Member
Posts
20
Reaction
39
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.
 

spalind

Well-Known Member
Posts
5,495
Reaction
1,576
Africa Eco Race is now cancelled for 2021...looking more and more pressure on Dakar to happen or not...next few weeks will be telling with boats shipping from Europe soon
 

slcdmc

Member
Posts
20
Reaction
39
I caught wind of another US team trying to make it to Dakar racing in the Classics group. Could be pretty cool if they pull it off but it's an 11th hour effort.
 

Desert Dog

Dakar Finisher
Posts
1,242
Reaction
646
Don't think there is a hope in hell that you will be allowed in to spectate:

SANITARY PROTOCOL: COVID-Free DAKAR 2021


1. Before the rally


🔴 Limitation of all social interactions: starting from 2 weeks before the rally, please limit your physical contacts in order to reduce the risks of contamination;

🔴 D-2 PCR Test: the organizer will ask every participant to provide a negative PCR test dating back from D-2 before their boarding for Jeddah.

🔴 Flu shot: it is mandatory for all participants to get a flu shot, hence lifting doubts in case of appearance of symptoms that can be similar to the ones of the COVID-19.


2. Arrival in Jeddah (from December, 28th 2020 to January, 2nd 2021)


🔴 First 48 hours: after your landing in Jeddah, a period of 48 hours of self-isolation will be asked from the Saudi authorities, with strict limitation of all your movements and social interactions, at the end of which you must carry out a PCR test (a specific communication related to the appointment procedure will be released later on);

🔴 Organizer - PCR Test: during the scrutineering, the organizer will set up a mandatory PCR testing on January, 1st and 2nd allowing the participants to access the sanitary bubble of the rally (Cf. III. Entry in the sanitary bubble). Participants who arrive in Jeddah after December, 29th will therefore only need to take the Organizer - PCR test.

🔴 Sanitary gears: a sanitary kit with masks and sanitizing gel in sufficient quantities will be distributed to all the participants during the scrutineering;

🔴 Limited access: only competitors, assistance teams, medias and members of the organization will be allowed within the venues of the administrative and technical scrutineering;

🔴 Strict limitation of movement: Participants must limit their movement to the strict essentials (hotels, scrutineering venues, onloading park, Shakedown, Prolog) and respect the sanitary rules at all times;

🔴 Strict limitation of social interactions: Participant must limit their social interaction to the members of their own team and the members of the organization dedicated to the scrutineering and respect the sanitary rules at all times.


3. During the rally


🔴 Negative PCR Tests: people who can provide deux negative PCR tests only will be allowed to enter the sanitary bubble and get their accreditation giving access to the bivouac. The first test will be provided by the participants and date back from 48 hours before their arrival in Saudi Arabia. The second test will be provided by the organizer and carried out during the scrutineering in Jeddah.

🔴 External persons: the sanitary bubble will constitute an isolated ecosystem; no one from the outside will be allowed to access the bivouac during the whole duration of the rally and every contact with external public shall be avoided. All the hospitalities will be carried out outside of the bivouac;

🔴 Hotels & Restaurants: Participants must sleep and eat within the bivouac during the whole duration of the rally, including during the rest day. From the 3rd in the morning to the 15th in the morning, no accommodation in hotels will authorized.

🔴 Transfers between bivouacs: assistance vehicles driving from bivouac to bivouac must limit to the strict minimum their interactions with the local population and respect the sanitary rules at all times.


Land border crossings are non-existent at the moment. I also suspect that normal tourist visas may not be entertained and that the rally issued visas are the only ones will let you into the country. Having said that, all could change next month.
 

slcdmc

Member
Posts
20
Reaction
39
Don't think there is a hope in hell that you will be allowed in to spectate:

SANITARY PROTOCOL: COVID-Free DAKAR 2021


1. Before the rally


🔴 Limitation of all social interactions: starting from 2 weeks before the rally, please limit your physical contacts in order to reduce the risks of contamination;

🔴 D-2 PCR Test: the organizer will ask every participant to provide a negative PCR test dating back from D-2 before their boarding for Jeddah.

🔴 Flu shot: it is mandatory for all participants to get a flu shot, hence lifting doubts in case of appearance of symptoms that can be similar to the ones of the COVID-19.


2. Arrival in Jeddah (from December, 28th 2020 to January, 2nd 2021)


🔴 First 48 hours: after your landing in Jeddah, a period of 48 hours of self-isolation will be asked from the Saudi authorities, with strict limitation of all your movements and social interactions, at the end of which you must carry out a PCR test (a specific communication related to the appointment procedure will be released later on);

🔴 Organizer - PCR Test: during the scrutineering, the organizer will set up a mandatory PCR testing on January, 1st and 2nd allowing the participants to access the sanitary bubble of the rally (Cf. III. Entry in the sanitary bubble). Participants who arrive in Jeddah after December, 29th will therefore only need to take the Organizer - PCR test.

🔴 Sanitary gears: a sanitary kit with masks and sanitizing gel in sufficient quantities will be distributed to all the participants during the scrutineering;

🔴 Limited access: only competitors, assistance teams, medias and members of the organization will be allowed within the venues of the administrative and technical scrutineering;

🔴 Strict limitation of movement: Participants must limit their movement to the strict essentials (hotels, scrutineering venues, onloading park, Shakedown, Prolog) and respect the sanitary rules at all times;

🔴 Strict limitation of social interactions: Participant must limit their social interaction to the members of their own team and the members of the organization dedicated to the scrutineering and respect the sanitary rules at all times.


3. During the rally


🔴 Negative PCR Tests: people who can provide deux negative PCR tests only will be allowed to enter the sanitary bubble and get their accreditation giving access to the bivouac. The first test will be provided by the participants and date back from 48 hours before their arrival in Saudi Arabia. The second test will be provided by the organizer and carried out during the scrutineering in Jeddah.

🔴 External persons: the sanitary bubble will constitute an isolated ecosystem; no one from the outside will be allowed to access the bivouac during the whole duration of the rally and every contact with external public shall be avoided. All the hospitalities will be carried out outside of the bivouac;

🔴 Hotels & Restaurants: Participants must sleep and eat within the bivouac during the whole duration of the rally, including during the rest day. From the 3rd in the morning to the 15th in the morning, no accommodation in hotels will authorized.

🔴 Transfers between bivouacs: assistance vehicles driving from bivouac to bivouac must limit to the strict minimum their interactions with the local population and respect the sanitary rules at all times.


Land border crossings are non-existent at the moment. I also suspect that normal tourist visas may not be entertained and that the rally issued visas are the only ones will let you into the country. Having said that, all could change next month.
I was reading through those yesterday. There is an outside chance I may be invited to go support a team so the Dakar rules hold more weight now. ASO is not messsing around. Essentially a moving quarantine bubble. Your comment about normal tourist visas not being issued is my biggest fear right now. Too many variables in place to make any real plans and if we wait until late December airfare will be cost prohibitive not to mention trying to find a decent rental.
 

Bricoop

Well-Known Member
Posts
5,303
Reaction
2,753
I was reading through those yesterday. There is an outside chance I may be invited to go support a team so the Dakar rules hold more weight now. ASO is not messsing around. Essentially a moving quarantine bubble. Your comment about normal tourist visas not being issued is my biggest fear right now. Too many variables in place to make any real plans and if we wait until late December airfare will be cost prohibitive not to mention trying to find a decent rental.
I believe certain top teams would helicopter their drivers to and from a hotel. This should eliminate that advantage.\
 

spalind

Well-Known Member
Posts
5,495
Reaction
1,576
Looks like I'll miss it again....some year....WRC Ypres cancelled this week. Only one WRC event left and I bet that gets cancelled as well. I'd be shocked at this point if Dakar happens.
 

mrlentle

Well-Known Member
Posts
824
Reaction
813
I believe certain top teams would helicopter their drivers to and from a hotel. This should eliminate that advantage.\
My first thought too. Cool little positive to take from the situation. Great to hear the event is going ahead.
 
Top