F1 is over, after an amazing season, and NASCAR is winding down (if you’re into that sort of thing) so what is a race fan to do? Obviously, everyone’s main priority should be to spend time with friends and family over the holidays, so they’re well rested for the fifteen days of transcontinental racing that is Dakar 2013.
Hit the Jump for a little history, a highlight reel, and at least one good reason for being glued to the TV for fifteen days.
Dakar is a cross country off road race that has been run for the past thirty four years. The route for the 2013 edition covers just over 8500km(5100miles) between Lima, Peru and Santiago, Chile. The race is split into three main divisions: bikes, cars, and trucks (and they aren’t pickups, think off road semis) and it normally has 300 plus entrants across all the classes.
Sadly, like a lot of worldwide motorsports, the Dakar receives so little coverage in the U.S. that many people haven’t even heard of it. That is a real shame because the Dakar is one of the last real tests of skill, endurance and guts left in motorsport. Navigating hundreds of miles of open terrain at race pace, while making sure to keep the car in one piece, is impressive enough and when you multiply that by fifteen it becomes a real test with serious consequences.
I think one of the reasons more Americans don’t follow the Dakar is that there aren’t a lot of ‘Mericans in the race. Mark Miller, driving for the all conquering VW team, managed a best result of 2nd in 2009 and Chris Blais crossed the line 3rd on the motorcycle in 2007. Of course, Robby Gordon has been competing for the last few years in a series of amazing Hummer race trucks but so far he’s had more bad luck than success.
Unfortunately, this year, like so many others, has little American presence. One notable exception is Johnny Campbell, a Baja legend with a staggering 11 wins, who will be riding for Honda.
Former winner, and WRC champion, Carlos Sainz will team with another former winner, Nasser Al-Attiyah, in a Red Bull sponsored buggy that is rumored to be built by Jerries Racing out of California.
Personally, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we might still see Robby Gordon’s Hummer flying through the Atacama desert, though there has been no official word as of yet.
If any of this sounds remotely interesting, and why wouldn’t it, check over the next couple of weeks as I take a more in depth look at the Dakar Rally 2013.
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