Being an avid dual purpose rider myself, there is no bigger event to look forward to than the annual Dakar Rally. The history The Dakar rally was first held in 1979 and covered a route of 5534km, taking competitors from Paris, France, to Dakar, Senegal. Â That year saw a total of 170 competitors taking part.
A total of 26 competitors lost their lives during this gruesome event since 1979, 17 of which were motorcycle riders.Â Sadly the list of non-competitors involved in fatal accidents is even longerâ¦ In 2008 the event was cancelled due to fears of terrorist attacks.Â Chile and Argentina, along with the Czech Republic offered to host the event the following year.Â Although the name remains the âDakar Rallyâ, the event has been held in South America since 2009.Â The 2014 rally will see competitors travel a total distance of almost 9000km through Argentina, Bolivia and Chile. Â The bikes Entrants in the event since the first competition included bikes such as Yamahaâs XT500, YZE750T and YZE850T. BMWâs R80G/S, R100G/S and F650RR.Â Hondaâs NXR750V and NXR800V.Â Cagivaâs Elefant 900.Â KTMâs LC8950R, LC4660R and 690 Rally.Â Since 2012 however, all motorcycles are limited to 450cc.Â This made room for bikes such as KTMâs 450 Rally, Yamahaâs YZ450F, Hondaâs CRF450, Shercoâs SR450, Gas-Gasâs FR450, Suzukiâs RMX450, Husqvarnaâs TE449, Kawasakiâs KLX450R, BMWâs G450X and Betaâs 450RR. A total of 196 riders will take part in the 2014 edition of the Dakar Rally.
The route Over a period of 14 days, competitors will travel a total distance of 5228km of timed special stages, starting at Rosario, Argentina on the 4th of January and ending at ValparaÃso, Chile on the 18th.Â The route, consisting of 13 stages will test competitorsâ skills on different kinds of surfaces and under extreme conditions through Argentina, Bolivia and Chile.
The competitors Since 2005 the motorcycle class was dominated by two riders, the Frenchman, Cyril Despres and the Spaniard, Marc Coma.Â Both riders on KTMs.Â Despres and Coma took turns taking the title till 2012 when Depress won twice in a row, making him a five time Dakar winner over Comaâs three titles. After his 2013 victory with KTM, Despres announced that he will be signing with Yamaha for the 2014 edition of the rally.Â The move to Yamaha was done with the idea in mind that, should he be victorious for the sixth time, it will be with the same team with which fellow Frenchman, StÃ©phane Peterhansel, also claimed six wins during his motorcycle career. Other riders to look out for are the young Spaniard, Joan Barreda Bort on his Honda, Ruben Faria, runner-up in 2013, on a KTM, Francisco LÃ³pez, also KTM, Olivier Pain on a Yamaha and Paulo GonÃ§alves on a Husqvarna, to name a few.
Over the next week and during the 2014 Dakar Rally we will try our best to keep you up to date with the latest news, standings and stories of this major event.