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20 December

The Dakar Rally is undoubtedly the toughest off-road race in the world. But as if that wasn’t challenging enough, some riders choose to go it alone. And when we say alone, we mean just that: no team support, no mechanics, no chefs or assistants. Just them and their bikes and the wide open desert. We speak to some of the entrants of this year’s Original By Motul category.

Emanuel Gyenes

“For me, it is the most important race of the season and the ultimate adventure. I am grateful that I raced in Africa, South America and Saudi Arabia. Since 2020 I am on the Dakar’s ‘Legend’ list. It is something I couldn’t even dream of in 2006 when I started to prepare for my first Dakar.”

Kirsten Landman

“Mentally, I am well and know what to expect from my previous experience. But the mechanical part will be a challenge. I am catching up and learning mechanics in a crash course so I can look after the bike myself. I’m making good progress.”

 Benjamin Melot

“It really is a tough race. On an average day you get up at 4.30am and you’re off around 5.30am. Mostly for a ride of 10 to 12 hours every day. Once back in the Bivouac you need to maintain, check and, in the worst case, repair the bike. Catch a few hours of sleep and you’re off again. And that’s the pace for two weeks. It’s not an easy race.”

Mario Patrao

“I have been focusing on my physical fitness and the technical preparation of the motorcycle and the roadbook. I think I am well prepared. I have lived many adventures in the Dakar, which are difficult to explain in a few lines, but they have certainly enriched the experience for me.”

Carlos Verza

“You are always on the verge of abandonment. The hardest thing for me was in 2015 when I arrived at the bivouac with a broken engine and I had no choice but to replace it! That pushed me to the limit of my physical and mental endurance. I changed the quad's engine by myself and drove two days without sleep. But it was worth the effort.”

Stuart Gregory

“It would have been nice to have had the ‘luxury’ of going with a team but with my sponsor pulling out I just couldn’t justify the extra cost. It might have allowed me to improve my result but being realistic I’m never going to be much faster than I have been however many times I enter. I do however have a new challenge. I’m in the veteran class now so a top three in that category would be good… But for me the principle pleasure is to be out in the desert and navigate with the road book.”

Javi Vega Puerta

“It is a great experience, and just like mountain climbers might aim to conquer Mount Everest or Kilimanjaro as the ultimate goal, riding and finishing the Dakar Rally is the summit for every self-respecting enduro rider.”

Simon Marcic  

“It has always been my dream to ride it. I thought it would never be possible, but at the age of 30 I managed to ride it for the first time. Once you’ve ridden one, it becomes an addiction, I guess.”

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