Originally Posted by neduro
That's a really great shot.
Thanks for all the support!
Have a long layover right now, thought I'd add a few thoughts while they are fresh.
I had such a fun time, it was great to do the things I love about rally without feeling the pressure that I put on myself with Dakar. It was also fun to be on a bike that was fast, the 505 is a weapon. Over and over, I wished I'd had that power on other bikes, it would just explode up a dune face or out of a corner. It turns out fast bikes are fun- who knew?
In time, I want to do a writeup of riding of the thing, but I need to get photos together first. A few thoughts to share independent of the story this year's event.
First, the race would not have been possible for me without the help and support of If You See Kay wine. Please "like" their facebook page, ask for it at your liquor store and buy a bottle (or two), and enjoy! There aren't many companies that get our passion for rally, anything you can do to show your support is appreciated by me as well as them!
Second, the event was even better than I thought it might be. The riding was really varied and challenging (that's a compliment!), the organization was generally excellent, the other participants great fun to be around. It's a moving party for a week, by the end of the race you'll have met some great new friends. There are a few niggles to pick (no food until 9pm!) but dollar for dollar, I thought it was a bargain and it was 100% a great time.
Tunisia was different to what I expected. While on paper it is not a rich country, it feels less desperate than some 3rd world places- newer vehicles, better roads, etc. It has so much promise... but it's also a country that is obviously at odds with itself right now. We were cheered, and booed, in towns we passed through, clearly public opinion is not settled as it relates to the West. I really hope that the government gets itself sorted out in a productive direction, because it's a place I'd love to visit again.
Third, and these comments are intended for those poor FF's out there thinking about other, bigger rallies... my advice to you will henceforth include participating in this rally or one like it. In addition to the points above, it will serve as an excellent benchmark to help you know where you stand. I think if you can comfortably finish all the days of the pro class of the Tuareg, you will not be over your head in the Dakar. The Dakar adds the pressure of "single elimination", has longer days (but generally, the additional distance is liaison or at least not harder than what's in the Tuareg), and another week of racing... doing the Tuareg is not the same as doing the Dakar, but what is clear is that if you don't enjoy the Tuareg, you will not enjoy the Dakar, and you will have learned that for about 1/8th the cost.
Finally, I want to say a heartfelt thanks to my teammates. Each of them was not just great company, but did their best to help in a million ways. In particular, Dave Peckham (GSNorCal) of RMS took care of my bike each night with care and precision, his work was absolutely perfect.