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Offline BlueBull2007

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Racing Dakar/ Racing in general : Why the attraction?
« on: July 16, 2013, 04:57:59 am »
Yeah, yeah the competition, the challenge the adrenaline is great, but its more than that isn't it?

We all have our own dreams, but few people Step up and live them - Christophe Barrier Varju (2 times Dakar Malle moto finisher)



Its not just about the Dakar, I think its same to a lesser degree maybe for other kinds of racing isn't it?  What do you think?

So....



  • How did you get into your racing?

Some of you are old toppies at it  
  • Do you even remember how you go into it? :biggrin:
  • Do you have the same problem I do? Are you a racing tragic and care to tell us about it?
  • Have you ever considered racing but have been too scared to give it a try? [/li
What ever it is, lets hear about it.  :thumleft:



My story so far.

First, let me make one thing clear: My name is Neil an I am a racing tragic. There. I said it.

I always admired those crazy people who raced the Camel trophy and the Dakar. There was something special about it. The Adventure seemed exciting and alluring. But like everyone else I got on with normal everyday life. It was easy for me to do that back then because I had never ridden a bike and had it ingrained in me that bikes were coffins on wheels. So I thought I would never be able to race, never mind do any full blown rallies.

Things began to change 10 years ago when at the tender age of 31, my girlfriend asked me to take her dirt bike. Dirt girls are hot so I did it.  >:D  ;D  And that how I started casual weekend riding on XR's In those day. We never did any serious riding until 2008 when we really started to get into DS biking and longer trips, first in Ghana and later in Peru and Southern Africa.

I always thought racing was a bit nuts, especially after breaking a few bones being a bit windgat on a weekend outing. I did enjoy the exploring part of it and the adventure, realizing that average people already around us started labeling us (incorrectly!) as adventurers. I suppose some of that sank in to some extent.

But it was only when I started to follow the Dakar more closely in 2007-2009 (mostly on the net) that I really got bitten by the racing bug.

Just after the 2010 Dakar finished, I decided to give a rally a go. So without any any Enduro, Offroad or any trials comp I went on a 4 day rally school in Nevada, bought a bike, prepped it trained like crazy and did the 4,600km Sertoes rally in Brazil 6 months later. Sertoes runs for 10 grueling days without a rest day. I just managed to finish it, riding with a broken foot for the last two days, somehow coming 8th in the FIM world championship category even though I was 35/75 overall.

It was TOTALLY awesome.

Life changing.

It was the best riding I have ever done by far, and I have ridden through a quite few very cool places.

I realize anybody can get to the Dakar if they really set their mind to it. - I'm just an average Joe. Ask Hoofseun: He saw me drop my bike more times than anyone else that weekend we happened to be at the Country Trax course in Amersfoort together. Its a very good course by the way.

So I guess I'm still just this average Joe who likes racing. But I've also realized its less about the skill, and more about the heart, the head, a healthy dose of sheer, bloody mindedness and some luck to finish.

So I thought I would have a chance to enter the 2012 Dakar but I quickly realized I did not have enough experience. One needs to do at least 2-3 international FIM rallies to even get in anyway. Good thing too because it a lot of money, and some people realize they don't like desert racing so much after 6-7 non stop heartache.



In a nice kind of way.



I've since put a couple of rallies (not enough really) under my belt and I still love it. Its all I want to do. Why? The adrenalin of flying along and crazy speeds does it for me most of all. But there are many other reasons. The great people, where the best and the worst riders are all treated the same and all suffer together. Its a camaraderie which you only get when people suffer together.  I considered entering in 2013 and a new job got in the way. I figured 2014 would be my year, but then I shattered my leg on Boxing day last year, and seeing I am still not walking properly and face another operation later this year there is no way I would be ready. What a dumbass.  :-\  Oh, did I mention I also don't have the have R900,000.00 one needs to do the Dakar either?  :imaposer:  :-\  Yip its expensive, VERY expensive.

But at least I do have the bike.  :biggrin:


That's one big big plus. Nevertheless the Dakar still eludes me...I get very despondent when I think about that, but I suppose that's half the battle, getting to the start is a tough rally of admin, training, medicals and logistics in its own right. Maybe 2015 will be my year, how knows. I'm not holding my breath but I would love to go. Meanwhile I plan to do a couple of others hopefully next year if I can afford it.



Sorry for the long ramble, but I feel better now that I have gotten this off my chest. I cant ride right now so I am writing. ::)

What do others say about racing?

Some comments by people who have done the Dakar and how it made them feel.

Don't be put off by fact that this is a trailer, bur listen to the words. :thumleft:



Here's what some other riders and drivers have to say about the Dakar.



Having the right mindset I think has a lot to do with how far we can go. Christophe filling us in on what sacrifices are needed.



« Last Edit: July 16, 2013, 11:04:25 pm by BlueBull2007 »
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Offline White Rhino

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Re: Racing Dakar/ Racing in general : Why the attraction?
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2013, 05:31:27 am »
Neil, you're not a tragic, just a regular guy that has dreams and a good dose of passion for the sport.

Greg Raaf had the same desire and drive to do it and he did - but it cost him a year or so of preparation and a pile of cash. Without the time (job sacrifice) and money (or sponsor) the Dakar remains a dream for many.

Thanks for sharing - I think your contribution to the sport goes beyond your riding and into the time you spend opening the sport up to all of us with all the fantastic information that you bring to the fore. Get that leg sorted and take on another challenge, even if it's a smaller rally, you will notch another joy up :thumleft:
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Offline J-dog

Re: Racing Dakar/ Racing in general : Why the attraction?
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2013, 06:55:55 am »
Nice piece neil, thanks for that.

i've often wondered why people say that those that are fortunate enough to do a rallye are "living the dream"

i think for most of us it isn't a dream at all?

for me, i'd love to try one, starting out with the (now possibly cancelled) amageza. unfortunately, i don't have a bike, but would love to do it to see if the bug bites. i would imagine the whole experience right from prepping and training, until the finish line would be fantastic, not just the hard yards in the saddle. as you say, the bivvy, the comrades, the stories after etc etc must be amazing.

living the dream? not so sure. but would love to find out  :thumleft:
 

Offline Pom17

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Re: Racing Dakar/ Racing in general : Why the attraction?
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2013, 09:26:22 am »
Nice post Neil  :thumleft:

I agree with the previous posts, definitely not a racing tragedy, you went way further than probably anyone on the forum and achieved what most of us are still just dreaming of.

The rally type events are to expensive for me so I thought I would start of with enduros and offroads. For some reason I keep on postponing the whole thing. Mostly due to financial reasons but also due to smaller things like time and the fact that I don't even know where to start and I don't have anyone to train or go ride with. I would like to service my own bike to keep costs down so have been reading a lot about the technical stuff but still its difficult if you don't have someone to help and teach you.

But enough moaning, I am saving up for a bike and hope to buy some time in September. Even if I have to ride and train alone but this is going to happen. At the moment I cycle and go to gym on a regular basis to try and keep fit (4 to 5 times/week). Looking to enter my first race next year and I am tripping major ballsack and its still months away  :-[.
 

Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: Racing Dakar/ Racing in general : Why the attraction?
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2013, 01:34:37 pm »
Thanks for the comments, guys :thumleft:

J-Dog don't give up on that dream: Anything is possible.

Pom17 hang in there. I know exactly where you are. The biggest decision for me was to get the bike for the job the first time. It cost me a lot of money and it has a purpose so it needs to be used for that purpose. So even though I was super nervous and did not know much I committed myself to it.  I -like you- also know precious little about maintenance, I've learnt a lot but I'm still pretty lost with that kind of thing. You learn enough to get by (not much ;D ) and strangley when I had mechanicals there was always someone who helped me out although it was not without anxious moments. Actually I found this the most stressful thing about rally as I did not have the luxury of my own mechanic and the guys who worked on my bike had worked on 4 others before mine in the same night. So naturally mine was the least maintained as it were.

Anyway don't let mechanical stuff bother you, you can maintain these bikes yourself pretty much if you have the repair manuals and look things up on Youtube and edirt, that kind of thing.

You are certainly fit enough if youre gyming that often, the next thing is TITS -  Time in the saddle. Get used to your bike and then find some routes at near you that are tough and go and do them. After that, there is not much you can do to prepare except enter an event. The level of riding will be hard, but with everyone else there and the adrenaline of the event this is where you learn fastest. Its okay if you DNF, just as long as you don't give up after your first event. I cant tell you it is EXTREMLY rewarding to do something like this.

So it comes back to the commitment. Once you have that bike, then tell yourself there is no turning back and go and do it. Don't wait until next year because that is too far out. Get out of your comfort zone and try and do something with that bike within two months (while the bike is new and does not need maintenance), and before you know it you will be on top of the world and 100% hooked. 

All the best brother, and ride safe.

Neil
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Offline cocky

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Re: Racing Dakar/ Racing in general : Why the attraction?
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2013, 01:41:21 pm »
Ah fook man, now my mascara is running :'( :'( :'( ........ Great piece Neil and all our hearts are with you on this! :thumleft:
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Offline weskus

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Re: Racing Dakar/ Racing in general : Why the attraction?
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2013, 05:09:13 pm »
 :thumleft:
Vorige scooters : Suzuki TS 185, Honda CD 200, Suzuki PE 250, Kawasaki Z650, Yamaha 495 IT, Kawasaki KLX 300, BMW F 650 GS Dakar, BMW F 800 GS, KDX200, KTM300, Suzuki GSXR1000, Honda CD200, KTM 1290 Superduke (stukkend geval) tans KTM 990 Adv - toer,  KTM 300 XCW- funrides,Honda Z50 Monkeybike(projek), Honda ST70 Dax, Honda CX500 Custom - bar toe..
 

Offline Pom17

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Re: Racing Dakar/ Racing in general : Why the attraction?
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2013, 05:14:30 pm »
Thanks Neil :thumleft: :thumleft:

I appreciate it. Will be looking at a bike this coming weekend :ricky: