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What holds back American Teams for the Dakar?

Dirty Harry

Well-Known Member
More Americans have raced on bikes than in cars, both in Africa and South America. Is that a reflection of America's motorcycle passion and culture or because it is less expensive to campaign a bike in the rally? I could understand arguments for either conclusion, perhaps the truth is somewhere in the middle.
 

R Gordon

Well-Known Member
Guys, I red these comments and posts sometimes and honestly its quite funny.

Example: Budget from what I have been told and what I saw last year Peugot spent close to 200 Million USD on there three car effort with tens of engineers working on them for 1.5 years and yes 1 Pug did beat our car in the final result but out of 42 stages they had 1 top 5 finish VS the Gordini 14 stages and 5 top 5 stages and somewhere around a 2,5 Million dollar spend.

What is our problem in America? :) Budget? Engineering? Driver or Mechanics?

1. In 2015 here is our main Problems
Brake Master Cylinder grew with heat and blocked the Drink Port? Humm Team or Budget? FYI we buy these parts. Caught Fire, Got stuck and burned clutch, and burned brakes were staying on..... (Lost 4.5 Hours on Stage 2)
2. Fly Wheel Starter Ring Broke off: Team? Budget? Engineering? up until after Dakar 15 we bought Fly Wheels, Now we make them too :) (Time Lost 1.5 Hours on Stage 3 or 4)
3. Power Steering Seal on Shaft Leaked on Day 3 only lost 15 minutes with this by stopping and adding fluid
Team, Problems, Budget, I dont think so as this was new on Day 4 and it just started leaking)
4. Biggest Confusion sucked dirt into oil tank in Bolivia lost Oil PSI and about 1,5 hours.
5. American Engineering at its best after Bolivia stages ran rear Gear Oil as Engine oil, Won the final stage on gear oil in the engine,

Take out Stage 2 and 4 just maintain running and we finish on the Podium.
\
Testing has gone stupid good, 4700 mile on Gordini 2 after Dakar, Won Norra, Won Dos Mars and Tested in very hot conditions. I know I say it every year but this is The Dakar Rally, The expect the un expected challenges in front of us again, were ready for 2016 love it or hate it we will get the most exposure over everyone there, Mini's Toyotas or Pugs, Here we come again :)

2016 Just Might be the Year.
 

Dirty Harry

Well-Known Member
I always cheer for you Robby, down there you are the underdog. Stage wins and exposure are great, but I would love to see you holding a trophy at the end of the 2016 rally.


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Chris Tobin

Well-Known Member
5. American Engineering at its best after Bolivia stages ran rear Gear Oil as Engine oil, Won the final stage on gear oil in the engine,

Testing has gone stupid good, 4700 mile on Gordini 2 after Dakar, Won Norra, Won Dos Mars and Tested in very hot conditions. I know I say it every year but this is The Dakar Rally, The expect the un expected challenges in front of us again, were ready for 2016 love it or hate it we will get the most exposure over everyone there, Mini's Toyotas or Pugs, Here we come again :)

2016 Just Might be the Year.
#5 is AWESOME and smart!!!

Go get 'em in 2016!!!!
 

Offspring

Well-Known Member
Awesome post by RG but it really doesn't address the question asked by the OP here. Somewhere along the line, and I think I can see where it occurred, it veered off course. What else is new though?
 

Racer Tim

Well-Known Member
The biggest backers of Dakar teams (car teams) are automobile companies, toyota, mini, peugeot, mitsu. They support dakar for the global sales it brings them, the majority of which is sales outside the US.

Someone mentioned that the TV coverage sucks, the actual camera footage is good but the announcer is the most mono tone guy and has no enthusiasm. If you have ever watched rally vs rally cross? in rally the person sits there and rambles off in mono tone about split times not capturing the US viewer, the stuff is boring for most Americans to watch. You watch rally cross you get shooting flames and big jumps and you have an enthusiastic talking head that connects more with the viewers in the US. In our society we are inundated with ad after ad and use to action sports which make dakar footage and rally footage seem dull in comparison. Think of supercross or lucas oil short course, they are shooting flames into the air at the finish, hot girls standing with drivers, etc. This is what our society wants to watch(i'm not talking about the portion here on RDC im talking about the viewers of supercross nascar rally cross main stream sports which is a large portion of US viewers).

Bringing that back, a US auto maker doesn't stand to gain very much from shelling out tens or hundreds of millions for a dakar program, it would be poorly spent marketing dollars. As for redbull and monster they will sponsor who they see most fit to benefit them which isn't sponsoring a US team because the dakar money is driving sales in the other countries that find the dakar popular.

My .02 cents
 

R Gordon

Well-Known Member
With Regards to this it doesnt seem like TV Sucks either

But im going to answer the question and say its Budget, look wat we do with 100 times les than the PUG and honestly in all the years the South African Toyota team has only won 2 or 3 stages with as many cars as the have run each year.

Lets run 3 or 4 cars at 2.5 per car and see how we stack up then the problem 2.5mil is probally the best off road teams budget that races Lucas and Score seasons on or proball even less than this.
 

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MKR44

Well-Known Member
Isn't the GRC series for sale? 80 Mil, must be Exposure dollars, because it sure as hell isn't worth 80 Mil US dollars!
IMO , ;-)
As for why more motorbike guys historically doing DAKAR, Passion meets obsession meets want and desire. Find a way, financially and logistically. The financial commitment is less, there for more, do-able. Proof, look at the shear number of privateers trying to qualify at a AMA outdoor National.
 

BajaFand

Well-Known Member
Guys, I red these comments and posts sometimes and honestly its quite funny.

Example: Budget from what I have been told and what I saw last year Peugot spent close to 200 Million USD on there three car effort with tens of engineers working on them for 1.5 years and yes 1 Pug did beat our car in the final result but out of 42 stages they had 1 top 5 finish VS the Gordini 14 stages and 5 top 5 stages and somewhere around a 2,5 Million dollar spend.

What is our problem in America? :) Budget? Engineering? Driver or Mechanics?

1. In 2015 here is our main Problems
Brake Master Cylinder grew with heat and blocked the Drink Port? Humm Team or Budget? FYI we buy these parts. Caught Fire, Got stuck and burned clutch, and burned brakes were staying on..... (Lost 4.5 Hours on Stage 2)
2. Fly Wheel Starter Ring Broke off: Team? Budget? Engineering? up until after Dakar 15 we bought Fly Wheels, Now we make them too :) (Time Lost 1.5 Hours on Stage 3 or 4)
3. Power Steering Seal on Shaft Leaked on Day 3 only lost 15 minutes with this by stopping and adding fluid
Team, Problems, Budget, I dont think so as this was new on Day 4 and it just started leaking)
4. Biggest Confusion sucked dirt into oil tank in Bolivia lost Oil PSI and about 1,5 hours.
5. American Engineering at its best after Bolivia stages ran rear Gear Oil as Engine oil, Won the final stage on gear oil in the engine,

Take out Stage 2 and 4 just maintain running and we finish on the Podium.
\
Testing has gone stupid good, 4700 mile on Gordini 2 after Dakar, Won Norra, Won Dos Mars and Tested in very hot conditions. I know I say it every year but this is The Dakar Rally, The expect the un expected challenges in front of us again, were ready for 2016 love it or hate it we will get the most exposure over everyone there, Mini's Toyotas or Pugs, Here we come again :)

2016 Just Might be the Year.

Robby, I don't think a single person will dispute you on this. For the most part those are all pretty minor issues that can be resolved and never happen again. It just seems the teams that win (MINI and MINI) don't really even have these small issues. I know you have tons more testing miles on the Gordini this year, but do you think your program could have a better shot if you were able to run more of the rallys that your competitors run? For one thing to get more miles on the car under race conditions, and also to get more seat time racing against these guys? Obviously, it's not that you need the seat time, Robby, but I don't think anyone in NORRA or the Dos Mares race could hold a candle to your program. I always pull for you at Dakar every year. I ask not to criticize, just for your thoughts.
 

Dirty Harry

Well-Known Member
But im going to answer the question and say its Budget, look wat we do with 100 times les than the PUG and honestly in all the years the South African Toyota team has only won 2 or 3 stages with as many cars as the have run each year.
Robby how important do you think that stage wins are compared to an overall win? The Toyotas have not won many stages, but De Villliers and Yazeed have both been on the podium (or threatened to do so) in the last few years.
 

Offspring

Well-Known Member
I won't even pretend to be able to answer for him and hope you don't mind I chime in, but I see stage wins as a benchmark toward the goal of winning just as a podium finish could be, but the winner of this race wins stages. Strategies that rely on hoping the stage winners break is not a race winning one, especially with the remarkable mini platform and team concept.
 

Dirty Harry

Well-Known Member
I won't even pretend to be able to answer for him and hope you don't mind I chime in, but I see stage wins as a benchmark toward the goal of winning just as a podium finish could be, but the winner of this race wins stages. Strategies that rely on hoping the stage winners break is not a race winning one, especially with the remarkable mini platform and team concept.
I respectfully disagree (well, kinda). Nasser had no "team concept" this year and he dominated the rally. From a manufacturer/sponsor standpoint I see the value in stacking the deck in your favor, but Mini doesn't care if Roma wins or Terranova wins. At that point they are essentially racing against each other with the most capable vehicle and most resources.

I don't know if not concerning yourself with stage wins is the same as "hoping the stage winners break". DeVilliers has a Dakar win to his credit and seems to be very consistent every year. The stage winner has to be first on the road the next day, putting a lot of pressure on the navigator. If you can be consistent and not lose much time on each stage, you will be in contention for the overall victory, regardless of whether other vehicles break.
 

Offspring

Well-Known Member
Well I don't think you and I are very far apart at all maybe I should have said "...remarkable mini platform and/or team concept..." :) , but race winners win stages and lots of podium finishers still haven't won.
 

ZequeArgentina

Well-Known Member
Very good to see/read Robbies opinion here.
I really do believe that you can have a better chance this 2016.

on the other hand, having only one HST, and only some testing per year (much this year you mention), do not help to sort all thos e little details that appear.

What you have done with your team is remarkable.

Peugoeot and in less manner Mini are works teams. I would not consider the Hallspeed Imperial Toyota a works team. Yes they have Toyota Southafrica sponsorship, but not the tecnical resources from the company backing them. It is not as Le mans cars, o the new WRC team from Toyota.

In a different was, others have a different approach. The Toyota Southafrica team is actually a 2 car team, (3 in last Dakar only; with Yazeed being client), and while true that they have not won many stages, they have been extremely reiable. It may also be a question of drivers: Giniel did not even won many stages in the VW era, but won the race. He did not perform much different with the Touaregs than with the Hillux.

All the other "Overdrive" toyotas, is a bussiness, they have sold some 20 - 25 of them, and it become a source of income to help develop the Hallspeed team.

I would love to see a Toyota with a driver really fast to see what can be done.

We know you are really fast, top level driver, and with the more testing and preparation,
Peugeots should for sure better sort out their cars, and the have Petehansel and Sainz in the team, so they could be candidates also.

This Dakar could be really interesting. Good preparation Robby, and hopefully see you in Argentina at Rosario podium
 

Short Bus

Well-Known Member
In a different was, others have a different approach. The Toyota Southafrica team is actually a 2 car team, (3 in last Dakar only; with Yazeed being client), and while true that they have not won many stages, they have been extremely reiable. It may also be a question of drivers: Giniel did not even won many stages in the VW era, but won the race. He did not perform much different with the Touaregs than with the Hillux.
This is my thought as well. GDV, while not slow, plays the tortoise vs. hare method. I think he is very risk adverse. I doing so, he seems to rule himself out for the overall since there seem to be enough others that are going fast and are also not making mistakes. He seems to race for a podium and his strategy for winning is that someone else screws up. For the most part, it seems the Toyota drivers are 1/2 notch below the elite (with Yazeed possibly being the exception). Or more simply - Why does Robby Gordon have more stage wins than Toyota? Because Robby Gordon doesn't drive a Toyota.

Mikko Hiroven made an interesting comment following his Spain Baja debut. WRC guys are used to pushing 100% in every corner through the whole stage since WRC stages are short, they know the course and have pace notes. Hiroven said he was really surprised how hard everyone was pushing in the Spain Baja considering the length of the stages and that they are driving the course unseen. I think that shows that winning a stage isn't as easy as cherry picking it from other teams running stages on cruise control. Like RG, I don't think guys like Nasser, SPH, and Sainz like driving at anything less than 100%.
 

Hog Wild

Well-Known Member
As far as American bikes go, by far the number one reason many who want to race Dakar don't is because of budget. There are not many "rich" bike guys. If they get rich, they tend to move to cars.

Other than the factory supported bike guys, the one's who do race Dakar are either so passionate that they sell everything and max out their credit card to go, or they are on the very bottom edge of rich, and take a painful but acceptable hit to their piggy bank. I was a little of each when I went.

Last year team Rally Panam had plans to go, and had even won the Dakar Challenge and got free entry, but were still short on funds and had to stay home. This year they are a go!

There's a much stronger rally community among the bikes in North America compared to the cars. We have regular navigation training events and roadbook navigated fun rides. A lot of valuable information is shared around the group between those who have raced Dakar and other international rallies, and those who are dreaming of it. When newcomers try roadbook nav in a fun stress-free setting, they almost always fall in love with the concept, and begin dreaming of Dakar. When they are bench racing around the campfire, with several Dakar moto vets sitting around them, the passion and real possibility of going sets in. Those are the bike guys who came out and raced our Cortez Rally to have fun and gain some real Dakar style rally experience, and are lining themselves up to head for Dakar in the coming years.
 

Petepecas

Well-Known Member
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When newcomers try roadbook nav in a fun stress-free setting, they almost always fall in love with the concept, and begin dreaming of Dakar. When they are bench racing around the campfire, with several Dakar moto vets sitting around them, the passion and real possibility of going sets in.
That is exactly what I am talking about...in any form of racing money will be an obstacle to overcome of course, it´s an aspirational activity for the most part. So, in my mind at least, what keeps North American teams from participating in the Dakar is a lack of knowledge of the rallying world and it's intrincancies, i.e. "Rally Racing Culture" Why does Robby keep going year after year? because he has been bitten bad and it's in his system now, regardless of the financial aspect of it, so... the more people in North America are exposed to this type of motorsports competition, the participation will grow. The money will be a consequence of the desire to go.
 

Bricoop

Well-Known Member
@Petepecas I'd like to rephrase my tv comment. In the United States we get 30 minutes of replay coverage. It is a high quality product, but it's just too short. It's too bad America doesn't have coverage like other countries. I've read so many great stories of the RDZ members' experiences, I can only imagine how many other stories there are. RGM produces high quality recaps, but they're occasionally delayed because of connectivity. Offroad racing is one of the best kept secrets. We drool over 20 second clips of RG shock testing, It'd be incredible to get live coverage
 
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