Here is a glimpse why it is claimed as the most grueling of the rallies
The 40th edition of Dakar Rally has commenced and the Indian participating team Hero is competing with its group of three riders including CS Santosh, Joaquim Rodrigues and Oriol Mena. The 2018 Dakar Rally is completing 10 years in South America before which it took place in the Northern region of the continent. The course of the rally goes through Peru, Bolivia and concludes at Argentina and has been distributed in 14 stages. However, the current season aside, we delve into the fact that why this particular rally is the most esteemed among all those held across the globe.
Rally races are distinctive from standard racing as they don’t require racers to compete on the same race track starting at the same time. Instead, it involves recording the lap time of every individual racer, regardless if it is along the same track or individual tracks built for every participant. Numerous rallies are held around the world every year and each of them make for an action-packed show as racers try to conquer the lap with all their might in the least time. However, some rallies don’t last long and finish in just a matter of few hours and the rally course is also not set much daunting. Considering these factors, Dakar is tagged as the longest and toughest rally held around the world which tests the riders sustainability to their core.
Dakar rally is a competition which involves going through most treacherous of terrains astride the purpose-built cars or motorcycles built by the participating companies. Not just the rally course is frightening, but also the distance which riders cover is beyond imagination and it is not a matter of one or two days. Every year, the skilled and capable riders strive to stay in the competition which normally lasts for around 15 days. Thousands of kilometers of rally course is inspected and finalized by the crew members and to give you the exact figure, the one to be held this year covers around 8,300 kms.
The rally is being held for the last 40 years and every year it takes place in the remote locations of North or South America. Riders have to tackle a variety of lands along the course which involves wafting the sand in a magnificent desert, splashing water through river stream, dipping and climbing along the rocky land and struggling through slush, mud, gravel, and everything except smooth asphalt. Whatever may be the position at the end, completing the rally is an achievement in itself and several riders are unable to make it either due to a technical fault or an accident.
As for the motorcycles ridden in Dakar, our everyday machines cannot last successfully for even a day as the journey is full of leaps, drifts, and slides. The motorcycles are specially designed to endure everything thrown at them. The design and architecture of the Dakar bikes have the involvement of experts who have years of experience in producing rally machines. From sustainable long travel suspensions to solid and reliable chassis, every minute part of the bike is designed and fitted with utmost care and assurance. Days of testing is carried out to inspect its reliability and the bike is put into tougher situations compared to what it experiences in Dakar.
In terms of technology, the Dakar bikes pack in a plethora of gadgetry to aid riders along the tricky terrains. Every motorcycle is equipped with a special type of navigation system which is mounted above the handlebars. These systems have the whole course loaded into them to help the rider track the accurate route and advance in the right direction. And, this is where the mental and physical ability of the rider comes into play – to track the right route and cover it as fast as they can. And all this mayhem goes for not less than 15 days which demands riders to put a consistent and complete effort in finishing off the Dakar.
After motorcycles, the other most important characteristic is the fitness and well being of the riders. Similar to the athletes, even the Dakar riders undergo rigorous training long before the rally starts so that they should be in their fittest form. Apart from standing on the foot pegs and having a firm hold of the motorcycles, they simultaneously need to keep their brains at work for following the accurate route and other monitoring tasks.
The unusual sport tests the true mettle of a person as well as the motorcycles. Riders who win the competition are considered as the most respectful figures of rallying world and you must have understood why so. We hope the Indian team excels at Dakar and ends the season victoriously.