Originally Posted by Carlos M
For me, up to a point, it's about the "underdogness" factor
I like it better when people do well and they are coming from smaller/poorer/less powerful nations. Note that in terms of Dakar, a less powerful nation could mean the mighty US of A. It was much harder for an american moto privateer to race the African Dakar than it was for, say, a Dutch one. (not so sure of that nowadays, with El Dakaro, and definitely not the case about Mr Gordon with his mega-dollar operation).
What is very funny about Gordon is that he accepts to race his trucks on a race with very strict regulations (that keep his truck topology limited). But anyway the guy accepts the rules, announces every year that he is going to kick ass (under the said rules) and every year he goes back home getting his ass kicked by the sewing machines.
But I do like to see him in the race - just don't like the US vs Them attitude. YMMV
For me the Dakar is about a true global event of man (and woman) and machine.
Nationality seems to have very little to do with it; favourites yes, both riders, teams and machines, but it does seem to transcend country of origin to a great extent.
Must admit though, the brash loud mouth Yank in the bright red gas guzzling V8 Hummer does tend to nationalise the greatest race on earth just a little
Wouldn't quite be the same without him though