There’s not much Mini about the Mini team at The Dakar. Under the x-raid umbrella, there are 9 of them and one Buggy driven by Guerlain Chicherit. These are not the Mini’s you may know from your Starbucks drive through but they are based on the Mini Countryman and resemble full size SUVs.
We toured the x-raid compound within the bivouac after the marathon stages, when the rest day was ahead. The mood was good and we were given full access to anything we pointed our fingers at.
Each teams race car has its own dedicated T5 and crew for maintenance and repairs. Each car has sixty four spare tires assigned plus the ones it started the journey with. There are a few additional tires loaded for good measure, plus all service vehicles carry spares as well. It took one single tire technician no less then sixty days to mount them all.
Besides those assigned T5 service trucks, there are two additional ones totaling the T5 truck count to twelve Units.
The entire crew is one hundred and thirty five people and comes from over twenty nations. English is the mandatory team language and everyone sticks to that rule unless they congregate in small groups for none task related conversation. Team x-raid elected to skip the A.S.O. provided meals to feed them all and instead brought their own rolling kitchen along. By doing this, they can better control the quality of the food and safe valuable time standing in lines and walking across the various sized bivouacs.
At Dakar, every minute counts. Food gets pre-ordered at various cities alongside the route by the in-house chef that runs his own restaurant in Dresden, Germany. The food truck is equipped with a restaurant style cool room. There are also exceptions where an outside local chef gets called in for team bbq’s. Again, quality is important and the team re-uses the same trusted Chilean catering service they have used at previous Dakars. If you need a quick energy boost or simply feel like relaxing, there is a coffee station located around the food truck open to all crew.
One of the T5 assistance trucks houses a shock dyno and assembly station for the exclusive Reiger shocks x-raid uses.
Electricity for the entire x-raid camp comes from a single massive diesel generated mounted inside one of those assistance trucks.
While most of the crew sleeps in sleeping bags and tents right onsite, VIPs and drivers get to enjoy bunk beds in yet another support truck when suitable close by hotels are not a viable option.
For quiet office desk time, there is a solution for that inside a support truck.
To move all of those bodies from stage to stage, additional vehicles are available. Four BMX X6, two Mini Countryman, six BMW X5, one Mercedes Sprinter 4wd, one VW Multivan 4wd and three small 25 foot RVs. One central announcing board shows each vehicles daily departure times so everyone can remain informed without having to ask around.
The team has its own doctor to help out with smaller injuries and to simply be of faster aid versus walking across the bivouacs to find the medical tent. Within thirty minutes of completing a stage a masseuse may massage each driver and navigator in a dedicated area to get them fit for yet another stage the next day.
Monster Energy plays a large partnership role to team x-raid and Joe Parson with Monster operates a converted auto bus for hospitality and conference rooms. Inside the bus, there is a full size refrigerator, beer on tap, music and video entertainment. One of the inside walls is signed by monster athletes over the years from various disciplines besides rally raid.
All of these vehicles ship from Europe to wherever the Dakar might be. One would think it would be easier to simply park them in Argentina since that seems to be the host of the Dakars in recent years, but high tariff fees make that idea unrealistic.
So if you thought hat some of our SCORE, Lucas or BITD teams are big, think again. This is one of the larger if not the largest team at the Dakar, while the Malles Motos are the smallest.