Excuse me - which way is the Dakar?

Discussion in 'Racing' started by AirborneAndy, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. AirborneAndy

    AirborneAndy Vagabond

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    I couldnt resist the thread title :D.

    Hey all. I'm riding thru South America (RR here) and want to try to catch some of the Dakar. I know there are others that are in the same boat. So, if anyone has details of times and places to catch a glimps of the racers as they go thru, please post it here. Thanks.
    #1
  2. 7seas10

    7seas10 7seas

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  3. AirborneAndy

    AirborneAndy Vagabond

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    Thanks 7seas10. The route information on the Dakar’s website is really vague. I'm only seeing starting points, ending points, and distances for each stage. I’m assuming the starting and ending points will be the road sections. So, how will the spectators know where to go to watch any of the special sections? In the Baja 1000 the course is marked ahead of time and spectators often go out before the race and locate prime viewing spots. Are the details of the Dakar’s special sections keep secret? Any ideas how on how to get specific info on where to go to see some action?
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  4. wrk2surf

    wrk2surf on the gas or brakes

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  5. AirborneAndy

    AirborneAndy Vagabond

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    Thanks wrk2surf. I looked thru the thread and still dont really know any specifics about where to go :lol3. Is the best strategy to just go to a town where a stage will be starting or ending - arrive a day or so early and look for clues? Or, is there a more scientific method?
    #5
  6. HogWild

    HogWild Scott Whitney

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    You will never really know exactly where to go, except to the next bivouac town. The locals often get info for pre-arranged spectator points, but those are completely overrun with crowds and traffic jams. The maps that in the past have been published on the Dakar website for each stage are complete BS. They never want anyone, especially the competitors, to know where the course goes, so they publish bogus maps where the only thing that's correct is the start town and finish town, and the highways between them. If you leave the start bivouac town early, and look for locals heading off the highway on some side road, you might just happen upon the race course. But for the most part the race course is nowhere near the highway route between bivouac towns, so it's often near impossible to watch actual racing except right near the start or end of the Special, where the course meets the highway. In a few cases, the race course will cross the highway, and you'll know it because there will be crowds of people gathered there. So, if you chase the race, you probably be able to catch the racing a few times. Mostly you'll be haulling down the highway just trying to keep up with the race day to day. And good luck finding hotel rooms in or near bivouac towns unless you arrange them ahead of time. Expect to see lots of great countryside across Argentina and Chile, but don't expect to see a lot of racing action.
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  7. AirborneAndy

    AirborneAndy Vagabond

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    Thanks HogWild. Then I will just pick a stage with a short street section before or after the bivouac town and plan on camping out.

    BTW... I saw you come in to the finish at the 2008 Baja 1000. Truly Amazing!
    #7
  8. Trey650

    Trey650 Are We There Yet?

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    Great thread title Andy, for a second there I thought you were doing another bucket list run. Have fun on your trip down south.
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  9. HogWild

    HogWild Scott Whitney

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    Chasing the Dakar through exotic lands should be on everyone's bucket list!

    Andy, you'll be treated like a rock star, even as a spectator just passing through town!

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    And stopping at a gas station is like pulling up to the finish line in the Baja 1000. CRAZY FUN !!!

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    #9
  10. HogWild

    HogWild Scott Whitney

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    Oh Andy, I forgot this... If you have the right Garmin GPS plus a laptop and Mapsource with you, go get the FREE Argentina/Chile/Uruguay/Paraguay
    downloadable map "Mapear V 9.2 para Garmin" here:
    http://www.proyectomapear.com.ar/

    Slightly outdated installation instructions in English:
    http://www.proyectomapear.com.ar/eng_tutorial/index.htm

    It's routeable, and very helpful finding your way around and finding some hotels.

    Coordinates of Scrutineering and all the parked race vehicles in Buenos Aires:
    34° 34.839' S
    58° 25.264' W
    #10
  11. TEXASYETI

    TEXASYETI Call me "thread killer!"

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    Andy, i followed you real-time during your Baja experience a few years ago. I saw the title and thought:

    "Oh my God, here we go again!"

    Have fun and post pics if you get em!
    #11
  12. Mr. Huero

    Mr. Huero HÖÖSK-ËË

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    you got a couple days left to prep... you'll have the Suzu ready by then. :D

    HHHAAAAA yea with that title I was a little worried you'd gotten another wild hair going. Whew :lol3

    Keep us posted on your travels double A and we'll see ya soon.

    /ron
    #12
  13. shreddr

    shreddr Adventurer

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    Supercool! post pics!!
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  14. bend27

    bend27 by hook or by crook

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    Would love to know how you got on. Please let us know!
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  15. nanisx

    nanisx Been here awhile

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    we rode down from the DC area... they treated us like stars in Arica Chile
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  16. AirborneAndy

    AirborneAndy Vagabond

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    Ok...here's what happend! We rode into Arica Chile and found the bivouac site a day before the racers arrived for the mid-race rest day. And, we pitched our tents just down the road from the racer’s bivouac area next to where a KTM riders club had setup camp.

    As Hogwild said eariler, catching a glimpse of the actual racing is more work than one might think. In this case we had to ride around 200 kilometers into the desert to see the end of the “Special” - the actual racing section. And, there were no gas stations along the route so getting back became a problem as my bike’s range is around 350 kilometers and the round trip was 400.

    So, first we had to find someone who knew where the Special section ended that day - no small task since the course details are kept secret. But, we asked around and found a group of BMW riders that knew the scoop and followed them.

    The trip thru town was unreal! Spectators on every corner cheering. We pulled in to a gas station to fuel up and were mobbed by folks wanting to take pictures with us and get our autographs. Quite a spectacle! But, it was all good fun and everyone seemed to be enjoying it. I didnt get any pics of this mass mania but I did get a few of folks that wandered over to our campsite to get photos.

    Anyway, We followed the BMW riders for around 150 kilometers before they decided to stop as they were concerned about having enough fuel for the return trip. But, being the bull headed adventure riders we are, we forged on passed the point of no return. And, after stopping several times to reassess our decision to push on... and to agree to push on,again! (just to the crest of the next hill), we finally arrived at the Special section where we could view some actual racing.

    We watched the racers come thru for several hours. Then we decided to start our journey back early as we would have to use every gas saving technique we knew to make it back to town, including riding much slower than normal and coasting down hills with the motor off. But, before leaving the racing area, I managed to get 2 liters of gas from a fuel truck that was there for the racers. Then, we rode about 70 kilometers and stopped at a small town to have a snack. While we were there many racers came thru on their way to the bivouac site. One rider (Jose from Spain - #158 BTW, he has a thread here in the racing forum) pulled over near us and got off his bike to adjust his gear and warm up before riding the rest of the way to the bivouac site. He asked if we wanted to join him for a cup of coffee and of course we accepted. We chatted with him for nearly a half hour - he was not concerned about making it back as he was a veteran at the Dakar and he knew he had 5 hours to make it to the bivouac site - plus, the next day was the mid-race, rest day.

    Jose had crashed earlier in the day and showed us pictures he had taken immediately afterward - yep, he had a camera! He was as much a spectator as he was a racer! For us, having coffee and chatting with on of the racers, right after he completed the day's stage, was as good as it gets! :clap:clap:clap Jose is a really nice guy too. He answered our questions about the race and even invited us to ride along with him back to town as he had a full tank of gas that he would be happy to share with us if needed. Crazy stuff... the guy in the race offers to help the Spectators in need? :huh GO JOSE!

    There were so many riders there as spectators from all over the world. I met a Japanese rider, Shigeru Sato, who was near the end of a round-the-world trip, on a bike just like mine. Then, there’s a Russian, Vadim and his friend, who we keep crossing paths with on our journey south. And the 2 French guys we met on the way back from the Special (also riding bikes just like mine) that somehow managed to get inside the racers bivouac compound - an area secured by local police and military personnel. They must know somebody : )

    Anyway, we camped out during the rest-day and had our photo’s taken many times with and by the curious residence from the town of Arica. This strange race had come to their small town making it the center of international attention, for a moment in time. It was really quite an experience for everyone.


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  17. NordieBoy

    NordieBoy Armature speller

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    Gooooo 299x!
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  18. bend27

    bend27 by hook or by crook

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    Most excellent :clap More please!
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  19. Bandit33

    Bandit33 Adventurer

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    Excellent pictures.....sounds like a great trip. Glad to see your DR650 is still running great.

    Don
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