That is possibly the most expensive letter in the world!
Yep, today I received confirmation from ASO that my entry on the 2011 Dakar has been accepted... yep, that's right, the 2011 Dakar - in Argentina & Chile - in less than 4 month's time!
Fortunately as you will probably be aware from previous threads: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=568696
, I already have a rather tasty rally bike in the shape of a 2009 WR450 with the JVO 'lite' kit fitted, and which I consider thoroughly tested and shaken-down during the Tunisie round of the FIM World Championship this year (hell, for a month or so I was currently standing 10th in the world in the 450cc Production Class, but that has inevitably dropped to currently 20th overall as subsequent rounds have passed)... anyways, 22nd overall and 1st in the Ladies class was none too shabby for a first time out with the 'big guns' I thought?
But of course The Dakar is a very different beast - not so much the pace or the competition (many of which contend the World Championship too of course), rather the massive distance involved and the harsh rules that the organization impose throughout the duration of the rally...
Fortunately the WR is still in excellent condition, and with a few modifications (not least the addition of steering damper - what the hell was I thinking?!), the bike is pretty much good to go now... likewise, while I could certainly do with shedding a few lbs, I'm in pretty good (physical and mental) shape for undertaking such an extreme event.
Those of you who followed my exploits on the 'Heroes-Legend' Paris-Dakar rally last year: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=512589
, will know I have a good deal of experience (and modest success) in long distance desert rallying, and coupled with a far lighter machine and the support of Desert Rose Racing providing assistance, I am confident that a Dakar finish is well within my grasp this year - and yes, before you ask - I wouldn't have sent off my deposit if I didn't think I could do this thing!
However, I don't need to tell you guys this whole endeavor is cripplingly expensive! I am currently putting my sponsorship proposal together, and will have a package/document available in the next few days... in the meantime, I am serious when I say I am actively looking for a core and/or key sponsors for my campaign, so please do get in touch if you or you know of anyone/company who would like to get involved...
At the moment there are three British riders with confirmed entries - Simon Pavey (BMW G450X), Craig Bounds (who will be on a Yamaha WR450 this year) and myself (WR450)... as the only British Female entry, and one of only a handful of women who ever compete in Dakar anyway, I hope to attain a higher that average level of media coverage and publicity for my sponsors.
Indeed, while I am still in the arrogant self-deluded phase (ask me again when I've made the final payment to ASO, and again three days into the event itself I'm sure), I actually have two goals for Dakar this year:
The first is of course to finish the event, and in doing so will become only the third British woman to do so on a motorcycle - Patsy Quick being the first of course (in 2006) and Tamsin Jones being the youngest (2010). With those two accolades unattainable now, I guess that means I've just got to be the fastest
So, it begins...
This weekend I shall be picking up the bike from having some auxiliary tanks custom made, then there will be a few additional modifications and final preperations to be made, which, luckily for you cats, I intend to document here on ADVrider, together with a kind of regular blog update thing to keep you all informed of progress!
So, please, sit back with your virtual popcorn, and enjoy the ride!