If you watch the daily Dakar coverage and think that racing 14 days in a row is tough you are right but then there is yet another level to the Dakar, those that value pure human endurance and take it to yet another level. Meet the “Malles Motos” group. Males Motos loosely translates to Manly Motorcyclists or what we like to call it riders with balls of steel.
It is a class of riders that ride this race solo as in zero support. The rider is also the only person repairing and prepping the bikes in between stages. They setup their own campsite in the Bivouac daily and rely solely on themselves to complete the Dakar. They don’t race against any other riders and simply making it equals a victory.
We met with Escondido, CA resident Antonio Narino (#164). His is a native Colombian and represents both flags on his riding journey. Unfortunately he crashed out during stage 6 from Antofagasta to Iquique and had to call it quits for this years Dakar. Out of 20 Malles Motos starters there were only 9 still in the race at Iquique. One of them racing a quad even had to change his engine out after the first stage but is still running.
Antonio rides a Husky TE449 equipped with a 24 litre fuel tank. Just like any other rider he carries the basic spare parts and tools on his bike during the specials and other competitors may assist him during this specials if needed. Once he is in the bivouac all Malles Motos camp in a special area that is closely monitored by the A.S.O.
Once inside this area only the rider himself is permitted to touch his own bike or quad. All the A.S.O. does is carry a spare parts and tools box from stage to stage. Once a rider leaves for the next stage they simply pack up and leave their belongings behind and A.S.O. will have it sitting waiting for them at the next Bivouac. This process seems nice at first glance but since the A.S.O. hauls all this stuff on a slow moving 18 wheeler it leaves on a predetermined schedule. If the stage is long the hauler will leave early and a rider that came in late from the previous stage will be limited in hours to work on his own bike. The hauler leaves when they have to and if you are not packed up you just lost your tools, tent, change cloths and parts from here on out since no one else but A.S.O. can move them.
There are a few items where outside help is allowed. If for example things need to get welded on your bike A.S.O. under permission and supervision allows those parts to be welded outside of the restricted zone by other teams. A.S.O. also provides a small work bench and basic power tools to be shared by all Malles Motos riders.
ELF lubricants offers all lubricants, free of charge, to the group so you can change oils daily and safely depose of them as well.
Sleep deprivation is the biggest hurdle for these guys. “I pulled over during one of the liaisons where I asked a kid on the side of the road to watch my stuff and wake me up in 20 minutes”, Antonio explained.
Antonio Narino attended Dakar in 2009 assisting Jonah Street and again in 2012 for a Chilean team. He felt that his skills are there to give it a go. He is also no novice to Rally Raids as he has completed other rallies including the 10 day Brazilian Dos Sertoes, the Baja Rally and the NORRA Mexican 1000 to prepare for the Dakar.
To get ready for the 2015 Dakar he attended training with Scott Whiney and Dave Peckham in Death Valley, CA to improve his Navigation skills.
He considers himself an enthusiasts but would love nothing more then to be part of a pro team in a support role.
Now that he is out he will continue to follow the Rally day by day as a spectator. “I will take more pictures and hey maybe I’ll write a book about my adventures….. Can’t wait for 2016 to do it all over again” a smiling Antonio tells as we walk away in absolute respect and amazement for the Males Motos.
Follow Antonio on Twitter
Words and Photos by Klaus Rasch.