Originally Posted by wrk2surf
RIDE .. then RIDE.... and RIDE... whenever you get a chance RIDE.. if someone want to, go RIDE with them.. if you have a vacation go RIDE.. you get the idea
Wot he said...............
Plus spend some money on entering the Maroc Rally (that's Morocco in North Africa). http://rallyemaroc.npo.fr/?lang=en
There is a healthy Quad entry as well as all the bikes, cars and trucks.
The next one is in October later this year and is the closest you will get to the 'Dakar' experience. It is run by the NPO and is six days racing with liason sections and special tests on the Dakar pistes and dunes that were used before it all decamped to South America.
All the top race teams are there including the full factory KTM team, as they do their final shake down tests prior to the Dakar in the following January. You will ride alongside the best in the world. You also use all the navigation and safety equipment you get on the Dakar, which will include the Roadbook, GPS, Iritrack, sentinel warning system, cap repeater and ICO. Navigtion is as equally important as riding ability and bike fitness and will be your main learning, as well as the early starts and just riding as part of a rally in the desert.
You will spend money doing this but it will help you understand the complexity and difficulties of rally raiding and the level of skill/knowledge etc required. It will contribute to your Rally CV which will help you get accepted into the Dakar. Also if you find that you are not up to/get to the required standard or are simply not enjoying it, it is better to find out on this than with the Dakar itself. It is certainly more cost effective.
When I was in the 2009 race, Don Hatton and another Canadian (sorry I cannot remember his name, but I do remember him breaking his leg) were both using it as pre-Dakar training. You also need to hook up with a team - they can take a lot of the pressure off you and will service your bike/quad daily while you sort yourself out, eat, drink, prep your roadbook for the next day and rest.
Being ex military myself, I prided myself on getting the navigation right (to the extent that people were following me in the tricky sections), I just wish I could ride quicker!!
Oh and riding up a dune were there is no back and a straight drop hurts
Anyway good luck with your plans, I hope it works out for you.