Tuareg Rallye 2014 - OFFICIAL Event coverage thread - follow our ADV Inmates here!
Yes folks! It's that time of year again when I pack a suitcase, grab my cameras, don a bandana, and take the little fella (Piglet) down to Tunisia to cover another edition of the Tuareg Rallye!
Those of you who followed along last year (of which there were many - over 74,000 pages views to date - thank you!) http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=865985 will know I did my damnedest to provide you with a daily media feed - words, photos, braking news and inside scoops from what is not only the first major event on the Rally-Raid calendar, but also the largest moto-rally outside of the Dakar, and the #1 'must-attend' event for privateer rally racers.
Once again there are over 200 moto riders entered on the 2014 edition of the Tuareg Rallye, which after 14 years in Morroco, moved to the desert and dunes of Tunisia in 2013.
Last year I stretched my mental capacity to the limit - and in addition to general reportage here and on the Jennydakar.com Facebook page (what do you mean you don't already 'like' it?! - it is the definitive guide to everything rally raid! - well, what I find interesting anyway...) - I also provided a Personal Media Service for a number of riders who are also ADVrider Inmates, together with the whole IYSK Wine sponsored RMS team from the United States - and our very own Neduro didn't disappoint with a storming performance all week and a 2nd overall podium position as a result!
Once again I will be supporting a handful of individual riders along with the general reporting, and would like to take this opportunity to introduce them to you here. This year I shall be concentrating on 4 specific riders, each with a great backstory and varying degrees of rally-raid experience.
I trust you will join me in wishing them all the best of luck, and support them where you can as they venture into what is undoubtably a serious challenge for even seasoned racers...
So without further ado, let me introduce my rogues' gallery for the Tuareg Rallye 2014!
Rider #47 Tony Landh (Sweden) - KTM 450 EXC
Name: Tony Landh (inmate: Landh of Racing)
Race number: #47 (class: Moto Profi)
Bike: KTM 450 EXC Six-days, with Raid Designs MRS kit.
Service Team: Torque Racing
Team Name: Landh of Racing
Tony and his KTM 450EXC
Tony in action - Tuareg Rallye 2013
“From Snow to Sand”
Coming from a primarily enduro racing background, over the years Tony Landh has gained a wealth of experience in European hare-and-hounds style events, together with an impressive resume of short-course desert races in the United States.
More recently he has also embraced desert Rally Raid events - training in Dubai in 2012 before an impressive debut last year on the Tuareg Rallye in Tunisia, with a top ten finish in the Moto Profi class.
Tony’s bike is typical of the new breed of enduro based ‘rally lite’ machines - in this instance a KTM 450 ‘Six Days’ edition with just a few simple modifications required to make it a competitive and lightweight rally bike.
Together with a slightly larger (14L) fuel tank, steering damper and heavy duty skid-plate, Tony utilises the Raid Designs MRS ‘mini’ frame-mounted navigation tower system to hold the minimum of navigation gear, allowing him to concentrate on the riding with the minimum of incumbrance.
“There are many reasons I wanted to return [to the Tuareg Rallye] this year” says Tony. “The event organization is excellent, the rally route very varied, and the environment is stunning” He explains. “The road book offers a really good mix of typical high speed rally raid terrain and more technical low speed challenging enduro style riding - so it is far more challenging than a ‘normal’ rally” He suggests. “The organization also does an excellent job - the flow if the event is flawless throughout the week; and of course the northern Sahara Desert is the polar opposite of the Scandinavian dark woods I am more used to racing in - so very different and inspiring”.
For the 2014 edition of the Tuareg Rallye, Tony will be supported by Torque Racing together with his compatriot contingent from Raid Designs, and his goal this year is to further improve on his 10th position in the overall standings.
Rider #36 Keith Patstone (GBR) - KTM 450 EXC
Name: Keith Patstone (inmate: MotoKP)
Race number: #36 (class: Moto Profi)
Bike: KTM 450 EXC
Service Team: Torque Racing
Team Name: KP-Dakar (.com)
Keith is ready for Tunisia - bright riding gear so I can spot him easily!
Brand New 2014 KTM 450 EXC prepared in a spotless workshop!
“My dream is to ride the Dakar!”
Off-road motorcycle racing has been in Keith Patstone’s blood for over 40 years - ever since he learnt to ride in the halcyon days of the 70’s at the age of 13. Throughout the 80’s he was a successful MX rider, moving into enduros in the 90’s where he continued with a string of podium finishes right up until recent years - including being crowned the UK Veteran Class champion of the Putoline XC Fast Eddy series in 2009.
2009 was also his debut in International Extreme Enduro, with a 2nd place prologue finish and 14th overall in the legendary Red Bull Romanics.
The following years have seen a return to UK enduro, together with another Red Bull Romaniacs in 2013, once again riding as a solo iron-man.
“I really feel all this [off road racing] experience has been leading up to something really big” Keith explains. “It’s always been my dream to ride the Dakar Rally, so a couple of years ago I started to put a plan in place - which included another crack at the ‘Romaniacs, just to get it out of my system” he says with a grin. “Now I can fully concentrate on Rally Raid navigation events, and am really excited to be involved in this new discipline.”
In preparation for his Dakar 2015 campaign, Keith has purchased a new KTM 450 (which will be retained as a practice bike while his Dakar 450RR is being prepared) and has embarked on a comprehensive programme of training and events throughout 2014. “The Tuareg Rallye will be my first competitive desert road-book rally, and I’ve taken the bull by the horns and entered the Moto Profi class to really push myself” he says with a wink. “I’ll be foremost looking for a finish of course” he says “But I’m a racer at heart, so you know I’ll be giving it everything right up until the end!”
More info on Keith’s Dakar campaign here: www.kp-dakar.com
Rider #317 Paul Castle (GBR) - KTM 450 EXC
Name: Paul Castle (inmate: Dirtpunk)
Race number: #317 (class: Moto Profi)
Bike: KTM 450 EXC
Service Team: Desert Rose Racing
Team Name: Dirtpunk-Zen Overland
Paul was chief navigator on the Mondo Sahara movie project
Brand New KTM 450 and Rally Raid Products' navigation kit
“Dream it. Do it. and have fun at it!”
As the self-professed ‘Chief bottle washer’ at Dirtpunk, it’s clear that Paul Castle does not take life all that seriously: “Dirtpunk is all about having fun on (motor)bikes” he smiles. And certainly their ever expanding range of dirt-bike related merchandise very much follows that ethos.
However this light hearted approach to life and riding in general belies a serious overland adventure rider and crack navigator.
As part of the seven strong ‘Mondo Sahara’ team who undertook an unsupported venture into the uncharted Empty Quarter of the Mauritanian Sahara in 2012 (now the subject of a full length documentary feature film), Paul is used to relying on his wits coupled with a thorough knowledge of current navigation technology.
No stranger to competing in UK rally and enduro events such as the Cambrian, Powis and legendary Dawn2Dusk, his new-found love of desert riding and adventure has led Paul to the inevitable conclusion “This is actually my first desert Rally Raid event” he grins. “After Mondo Sahara, [Dirtpunk/Zen Overland teammate] Gabriel and I were itching to get back to the desert - and felt the Tuareg Rallye would be the perfect opportunity to fulfill our ambition to actually race in a desert rally!” he smiles.
“Of course this is likely to be just the beginning - both Gabe and I have plans to race the Baja 1000 in the future too. "My motivation is the same as it was for Monda Sahara - ‘Dream it. Do it!’ - or at least have as much fun as possible trying!”
For more info about Dirtpunk and Mondo Sahara: www.dirtpunk.co.uk
Rider #318 Gabriel Bolton (GBR) - Yamaha WR450F
Name: Gabriel Bolton (inmate: Zen Overland)
Race number: #318 (class: Moto Profi)
Bike: Yamaha WR450F with Zen Overland custom navigation tower
Service Team: Desert Rose Racing
Team Name: Dirtpunk-Zen Overland
Gabe doesn't take himself too seriously either, although safety first of course!
With a week to go, his WR450F is still being prepared in the Zen Overland workshops!
“The Adventure continues!"
Gabriel Bolton is the youngest of my featured Tuareg Rallye riders this year, but has already packed more riding into his 31 years than most of us do in a lifetime!
Gabe comes to the Tuareg Rallye very much from an adventure riding and overlanding background, and this will be his first road-book navigation rally - although he already has plenty of experience in the desert, having raced the Baja 250 in 2009 (only his second ever off-road race!), and was part of the seven strong Mondo Sahara movie team in 2012 with his Dirtpunk-Zen Overland teammate, Paul Castle.
An accomplished RTW (round the world) traveller - Gabriel bought his first bike (a Royal Enfield) while traveling in India aged 17, and toured there extensively before bringing it home. He then passed his test aged 18 - just 3 days before heading across Canada on an extended overland trip with his father. After university, in 2009-10 Gabe took 18 months out to travel around the world on an XR650L (including the Road of Bones to Magadan, and the Trans-Am Trail) and having modified his own bike extensively, on his return the UK set up his specialist overland preparation business Zen Overland.
“I’ve had a succession of naily old bikes” he grins, “And while I have a particular soft spot for Honda’s, more recently my off-road riding has been on a succession of Yamaha WR450’s - it really is a very strong bike, with relatively relaxed maintenance requirements, and more than enough performance for my riding ability.”
Gabriel’s engineering background means he welcomed the challenge to modify and prepare his current WR450F with some bespoke rally equipment: “With just a week to go before the bike needs to be shipped, I have probably over-complicated the preparation for this rally” he muses, “But I like to design and manufacture my own parts - there’s something extremely rewarding about using parts you have made from scratch.” Of course having a 5 month old son has also added another ball to the constant juggling of life, business and off-road riding!
“I really don’t know what to expect from the [Tuareg] Rallye” he says, “But I’m certain that Paul and I will have a cracking time whatever happens! "If I make to the finish I’ll be dead chuffed! - and anything beyond that would be a bonus!”
For more information: www.zenoverland.com
So those are the profiles of my four highlighted and featured riders this year - an eclectic and interesting bunch I'm sure you'll agree!
I'm sure they will be checking in here themselves in a short while, and will of course be happy to answer any questions you may have directly - although bare in mind they do have the small distraction of final prep, bike shipping and traveling to Tunisia to contend with!
I trust you will join me in wishing them all the best of luck!
Torque Racing have teamed up with Sweden's Raid Designs to provide support for 16 riders this year
For myself, I'll be traveling with the Torque Racing Team again this year - but this time I'll be going overland with Donna in one of the support trucks carrying a bunch of bikes (they have 16 riders this year, including nine Brits and five Swedes) - and including I am very pleased to say, the brand new production-ready Rally Raid Products LC4-50 Race bike, which will form the basis of my Dakar 2015 campaign - woop!
I am hoping that in between covering the race, I'll get some time to really put the LC4-50 through it's paces in the desert. The nice thing about the Tunisian Tuareg rally route is it's proximity of each bivouac to the start of the special stages, together with some nice dune-fields nearby.
It is going to be a huge amount of fun, and I am honoured to be able to share this experience with you once again!
And don't forget of course, this thread is for EVERYONE involved with the Tuareg Rallye 2014 to contribute to - so please post your own photos and details of followed riders here, and lets really make it a party!
So settle down with your virtual popcorn, and let the torrent commence!
It'll be great to follow your progress!
Thanks Dave! Wish you guys were coming out again too - it won't be the same without you!
Have fun at the Diabolico - if I can get out there at all I will!
Thanks Jenny :thumb
Nice writeup Jenny. :thumb
What are the other big names we should be looking out for?
Let's add any names (and race numbers) to the thread here...
I'll kick off with a few 'to watch out for's...
#20 & #21 Rob and Mark Smits (NDL) - Dutch father and son team with one or other likely for a podium if not the outright win again...
#37 Chris Cork (GBR) - Chris is planning on Dakar 2015, and is on a very sweet looking Husky.
Also #309 Sid Milton (team IYSK Wine last year) is back again!
And not least:
#67 Robert Van Pelt (NDL)... I think the fellow did rather well in a little South American race earlier this year!
Bike Delivery "Torque Racing" HQ
Well its all smiles today as the bike is delivered to Torque Racing ready for shipping to Tuareg rally, pictured here with Martin Wittering (Left) one of the best rally mechanics on the planet, and yours truly on the right, were all super pumped for the adventure to begin, Martin was impressed with the finished bike and cant wait to start rubbing his spanners on her..
So all that's left for me to do now is load up on my ISO2 nutrition products, stay healthy and "smash it" at the Gym for a few more days..
Take it easy guys.
Thanks Jenny for all the info. Keep it coming.:-D
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