WorldRider: Now On Television…The Journey Continues....

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by worldrider, Jul 21, 2005.

  1. worldrider

    worldrider Adventure & Discovery

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,242
    Location:
    Leucadia, California…heading to Iceland!
    Good news For Race Day 1: Mar del Plata to Bahia Blanca & San Juan

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    With the streets closed and jammed with thousands of spectators and a giant ramp and video display sitting in the court yard with a grand view of the Atlantic Ocean and Mar del Plata&#8217;s legendary beaches, the Dakar 2012 Edition officially begins with a Ceremonial Podium Presentation at the NH Hotel on New Years eve. </p>
    <p>The streets rumble as the power of engines revving the the stomping feet, clapping hands, whistling and lots of flag waving as each of the 465 Dakar competitors drive their vehicle in front of the eager fans. With 54 more entrants more than the 2011 Editions, the 2012 Dakar Rally continues to draw more support and visibility each year.</p>
    <p>With more than 50 countries represented and the rally broadcast to 79 countries, this year will be the first time the Rally will be televised by a major US television network. Well, sort of. NBC bought Versus, the network that contracted US television rights for Dakar for 2012. Most fans and US-based racers hope that NBC keeps the rally and brings more attention to the sport that Robby Gordon, the NASCAR and Baja champion, calls &#8220;the best kept secret in auto racing in the United States.&#8221;</p>
    <p>After Robb and Ben pleased the crowds with antics of more sticker giveaways, sweetheart kisses and Robb picking Tara up off the ground and into his arms, they parked the Desert Warrior into a secured area called Park Fermé. Once the cars enter this &#8216;park&#8217; they cannot leave, nor be worked on until after the start of the race on New Years Day.</p>
    <p>With plenty of stress and anxiety oozing from the pores and expressions on the faces of Tara and Robb, Paul and the rest of the Rally Raid UK technical support team, who have more than 10 years of Dakar experience, did their best to quell the fear and anxiety. Yet with so much on the line and with so many unanswered questions and a potential logistical quagmire, it seemed that Robb would not get what he needs most to not only start but finish the Dakar: sleep.</p>
    <p>With the explosions of fireworks, horns honking and car alarms ringing well into the new year, Robb and Ben managed a few hours of sleep and after a few tweaks and a morning pep talk, launched into the Dakar race at about 9am. </p>
    <p>Fans lined the streets in Mar del Plata and well into the outskirts and out onto the campo and pampas of local towns and tiny farm settlements just to see the cars pass. They wave Argentinean flags, urge the racers to honk their horn and push onto the streets with grabbing hands hoping for a t-shirt, hat, sticker or just to touch or get an autograph of a Dakar competitor. </p>
    <p>The first stage of the race would last more than 400 miles, but most of this would be &#8216;transit&#8217; &#8212; traveling to the actual race stage and then from the stage to the Bivouac, the traveling nerve center of Dakar rallies. The stage on January 1st was a mix of sand, much along the coast, gravel farm roads and more sand dunes, some 60-80 feet high, or just a tease of what&#8217;s to come in Chile later in the week.</p>
    <p>Despite some still nagging slipping of the clutch, Robb conservatively took the Desert Warrior through the stage with no complications and often passing more experienced competitors as he put his dune training and the Desert Warrior to test. </p>
    <p>At the end of the first day Robb not only completed his first Dakar day, he ranked 75th overall out of the 465 competitors. On the sandy terrain, they had dropped the tire pressure of the Desert Warrior to below 20 psi, but when they tried to use the onboard compressed air, the system failed. And this is the same system that provides air locking differentials for high four-wheel drive. This new problem would have to be sorted before the tough stages set for the next two days. A problem Robb was confident that could be solved between his team and the Rally Raid UK support crew.</p>
    <p>When I saw Robb at the Bivouac later that evening, the tension and anxiety had given way to confidence and a feeling of accomplishment &#8212; key ingredients required to finish Dakar.</p>
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    Robb signs autographs for screaming fans. &#8211; Photo By Dario Saidman
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    Robb & Ben on Ceremonial Podium New Years Eve &#8211; photo by Dario Saidman
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    Fellow US Dakar Competitor and Baja Legend Mark McMillin lines up for podium.
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    Riding up to the podium, fans packed and screaming!
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  2. worldrider

    worldrider Adventure & Discovery

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,242
    Location:
    Leucadia, California…heading to Iceland!
    <center><img src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_4962-Version-2.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="" border="" align="" /></center>

    That's Dakar. Unfortunate Circumstance Cuts Darkcyd Out of Race

    That&#8217;s Dakar!&#8221; I hear this so many times each day that it seems to be the answer to anything. It&#8217;s also the question. Much like in the middle east, the locals use &#8220;enshallah&#8221; as an expression to address most questions.</p>
    <p>But here in South America where 465 teams are taking man (and woman) and machine to their limits every day. Historically more than half of those teams that start the race, ever finish. Why? &#8220;That&#8217;s Dakar.&#8221;</p>
    <p>With a solid first stage and great 75th place ranking, Robb and Ben and Darkcyd Racing were amped for the second official stage of the rally. From the outskirts of Bahia Blanca the first vehicles set off from the bivouac sometime around 6AM. Motorcycles and quads, followed by the &#8220;cars&#8221;, which include buggies, pickups, SUVs and other vehicles four and two wheeled cars, followed by the trucks which Tara tenderly refers to as &#8216;garbage trucks&#8221; all are gone by sometime after 10am. The bivouac is packed up and heads to the next stage.</p>
    <p>Robb and Ben started out sometime after 8am for a nearly 500 mile journey to San Rafael, a mid-sized city in the heart of the Argentine pampas. There would be about 200 miles of official race course competition and about 300 miles of transit, from Bahia Blanca and then later to San Rafael. </p>
    <p><span class="pullquote3 quotes alignright">It was sometime around 3pm when I received a text message from Robb &#8212; he&#8217;d traveled about miles of the days race course. &#8220;We kicked ass,&#8221; Robb texted, &#8220;but we&#8217;ve lost our brakes.&#8221;</span><br />
    The race course for the second stage of the Dakar 2012 Edition would wind through the pampas on rough gravel roads, dry river beds, and eventually mid-sized sand dunes and then finishing through gentle rolling hills on loose gravel until finishing the transit on paved roads through the center of San Rafael and to the bivouac where the temporary city of some 2,500 people bristles with the energy of whirring power tools, thumping air compressors and generators and the revving of engines from single cylinder motorcycles to massive diesel powered trucks that look like oversized Tonka toys.</p>
    <p>Tara and I set out around 9am just as the first of the trucks entered the initial transit stage. Our ride was through endless miles of scrubby pampas, where the road never turned. Two lines of tarmac slapped down through the middle of desolate nowhere. As we passed through nondescript towns, we were amazed at the fans passion and commitment to catching a glimpse of Dakar.</p>
    <p>When we arrived at the Bivouac we set up camp while fighting with whipping winds and contemplating the threatening sky. Large drops of rain fell teasingly on our forearms, heads and gently landing with a muted thud on the hood of our Ford Ranger pseudo RV. Gusts of wind ripped our tents out of the ground and tossed them into a chain link fence some 30 feet from our campsite. The winds turned our portable easy to set-up canopy shelter into a pretzel, perhaps rendering it useless for the rest of our time in South America. &#8220;Vamos a ver.&#8221;</p>
    <p>It was sometime around 3pm when I received a text message from Robb &#8212; he&#8217;d traveled about miles of the days race course. &#8220;We kicked ass,&#8221; Robb texted, &#8220;but we&#8217;ve lost our breaks.&#8221; Robb sat out in the middle of the course looking down on a mountain range and nearly 40 km of sand dunes. &#8220;I don&#8217;t want to risk it,&#8221; he reasoned. In the middle of nowhere communication is challenging. Even with significant cell signal strength, the 2,500 people in the Bivouac tax the capacity of the cell network. And the satellite phones weren&#8217;t much helpful. The Iridium network of low earth orbiting satellites make for a great tool to communicate basic information, but fall short for any meaningful conversation. </p>
    <p>The Rally Raid UK T-5 assistance vehicle was still on the course behind Robb. Driving a &#8220;MAN&#8221; &#8220;garbage truck&#8221; fitted with tools and spare parts that would make most auto shops jealous here in South America, Paul Round and Robb were trying to coordinate a support plan while Raff and the Rally Raid UK group at the Bivouac tried to serve as a relay center between the group. </p>
    <p>The message we heard at the Bivouac was clear. Robb must complete the stage if he wants to continue to race the remaining stages. Failure to do so might make him a statistic as one of the the starters that don&#8217;t make it to the finish. If the T-5 support vehicle passes Robb, it would not be able to turn around to provide support. And the T-5 assistance vehicle manned by Raff and Bill would be unable to help Robb, unless he was willing to face disqualification by the Dakar organization.</p>
    <p>&#8220;That&#8217;s Dakar.&#8221;</p>
    <p>While Robb and Ben waited and Paul and Robb experienced communication problems, Mark McMillin, one of only three other American teams racing cars in the 2012 Dakar limped to where Robb was waiting. Mark had nearly blow his engine on opening day. The second day he finished it off. So the two grouped together and with Robb on the front of a tow strap provided power and forward motion, while Mark and his Jeep Cherokee on the read provided braking.</p>
    <p>They abandoned the course and found an access road where Mark&#8217;s team would bring a trailer and take the Jeep back to the Bivouac. By now Robb had left the race course. Because every move each race vehicle makes is tracked and recorded by the Dakar organization, Robb would have to answer for this deviation. In the spirit of Dakar, Robb helped a fellow &#8220;teammate&#8221;. But to finish the race he&#8217;d have to return to the position he left the course and continue to each check point through to the control time check point at the end of the stage. </p>
    <p>By now the sun had set. A medical vehicle from the Dakar organization told Robb that riding the dunes at night would be very dangerous. Why? Because there were several vehicles stuck in the dunes and many racers were camping until morning. So Robb asked what would be the outcome if he returned to the Bivouac and missed the last check points?</p>
    <p>Could he just take a huge penalty and continue? Or would he be disqualified? Paul and another Desert Warrior racer, David communicated with the Darkcyd Team at the Bivouac: Robb would have to continue without breaks. Because there was a lot of sand coming up, the risk of no brakes would be minimal. But there were still dunes. High dunes. If Robb were to roll the Desert Warrior, who could pull him out? And when? </p>
    <p>After much deliberating and evaluating of various options, including heading back to the stage, camping at the foot of the dunes and finishing the stage in the morning. Dakar rules state as long as a racer completes the stage and arrives back at the Bivouac before the first vehicle departs the following day, the racer can begin the stage the next morning but will be assessed a penalty &#8212; usually around three hours.</p>
    <p>Raff, Bill, Tara and I headed out to the road where Robb and Ben had towed Mark McMillin. By the time we arrived some local Argentinean guys had helped Robb and Ben get enough tire pressure so they had some brakes. Continued conversation with the medical support truck and the Dakar organization on the phone, Robb decided it would be best to head back to the Bivouac and risk disqualification and try to explain to the officials the situation: </p>
    <p>Medical support told him it would be too dangerous to ride the dunes at night.<br />
    Robb missed checkpoints and left the race course to support a fellow competitor<br />
    The team would accept the penalty</p>
    <p>The Dakar official on the phone suggested whatever Robb does, he should come to the officials office and please his case. But it was after 3AM when we arrived at the Bivouac the Officials office was closed.</p>
    <p>Raff and Bill worked through the night to fix the brakes. For those interested in the technical details, just a week before the race, Robb fitted the race car with a new power braking system. When installing the new system, Raff kept the original system infrastructure in place, but just changed those components necessary for the new system. It was the new system that failed on the course. So Raff and Bill worked through the night to change the brakes back to the original system. </p>
    <p>In the morning the car was ready to go, great working breaks and the best news: Robb&#8217;s name was still on this list of staring cars for Stage 3. </p>
    <p>Except when he pulled up to the starting line, the starter pulled him aside. He could not race anymore. Darkcyd Racing car #441 missed multiple check points and was disqualified. The starter had spoke to Robb that evening and then to Ben. He was under the impression that someone from the team told him that #441 would finish the stages. As of that morning, car #441 had not finished the stages. Therefore car #441 could not continue. No pleading, no reasoning and no appeal policy.</p>
    <p>That&#8217;s Dakar.</p>
    <p>Tears flowed, anger and disappointed permeated the team. This was only day #2. Everyone thought there&#8217;d be more racing. But for the 2012 Edition, Robb, Ben and Darkcyd Racing were out of the race.<br />
    And that&#8217;s Dakar.</p>
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  3. KTM265

    KTM265 Long timer

    Joined:
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    And that sucks...I was all set for a couple of weeks worth or Worlrider stories to read at work...
  4. worldrider

    worldrider Adventure & Discovery

    Joined:
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    Leucadia, California…heading to Iceland!
    Yeah at this point of the story it does feel like it could be winding down. But no! The story continues, you will have plenty to read while at work, at home or just simply traveling anywhere. Yes the Dakar legend lives. While my friend Rob is now at this point out of the race we do have a lot more stories to share. So stay tuned
  5. KTM265

    KTM265 Long timer

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    Oh the hook is set...you got me hanging on the line. :freaky
  6. worldrider

    worldrider Adventure & Discovery

    Joined:
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    Rally Team Still On The dakar Trail

    Life in the Dakar Bivouac is interesting and challenging. A mini city is set up at each point along the some 5,000 mile Dakar route through Argentina, Chile and Peru. The organization sets up information points for competitors, media and there are showers, bathrooms, a dining hall, emergency medical center and an information center where nearly live updates on the action can be viewed by anyone in the bivouac.</p>
    <p>The bivouac is the brain and life center of Dakar. But with the long transit stages over the last three days, most competitors barely have the time to see where they stand because they must work on their vehicles and get much needed sleep.</p>
    <p>So while Robb and Ben and the Darkcyd Racing Team are now out of the race, there is much energy and excitement about Dakar and the competition by simply following the race route. And as the first ever effort for the Darkcyd Racing Team, the experience learned as the days go on is invaluable. Will Darkcyd compete again? There are no decisions — yet. But if there was another showing at Dakar, the information and experience, both on and off the course is invaluable. The team will continue on and follow the action until it reaches Lima in about 10 days. </p>
    <p>Today the mood of the team lightened. The approximately 450km transit from San Juan to Chilecito culminated with a dramatic ride through a spectacular canyon of red rocks accented by brilliant orange, sage and mocha colors. The narrow two lane dirt road climbed to 6,000 feet and the more we climbed the river winding below faded from view. But dirt road had nary a guard rail and the drop into the river below would me death for anyone not paying attention. The vistas of the colored ragged cliffs and scraggy landscape along the river were stunning. But the sound of engines roaring and the view of motorcyclists, quads and cars winding their way back to the bivouac after some 6 or 7 hours of racing was equally impressive. </p>
    <p>The team enjoyed a leisurely day. No longer was the fate of the Desert Warrior and its iconic duo of Robb and Ben a worry. They were with us. While the team thought they’d make it further, it is important to note that almost 100 competitors had dropped out of the race by the end of the day. This is a serious race. This is a hard race. </p>
    <p>Fellow American team, Mark McMillim, a legendary Baja California racing team, that perhaps has scored more wins that nearly any other, had made Dakar 2012 its first showing too. Mark was out of the race. That leaves only two other Americans in the race for Dakar 2012: Robbie Gordon and Darren Skilton. You may remember that Darren and Robb worked together as Darren gave Robb the invaluable sand dune training in California in early December.</p>
    <p>Darren is still in the race. And so is professional Robbie Gordon and his new teammate Nassar Al-Attiyah. And on a motorcycle still hanging in there is N. Suesse (#81).</p>
    <p>We will continue watching the American cars and hopefully have a chance to catch up with the handful of American motorcyclists still in the race.</p>
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    Darycyd Racing Team Desert Warrior on Stage 1 Dakar 2012
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    Legendary Raff McDougal diagnoses brake issues after failure toward the end of Stage 2 Dakar 2012
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    Robb Rill & his Desert Warrior, sadly cannot finish the Dakar 2012 because of missed waypoints due to brake failure
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    Life in the Bivouac can be dusty, dirty and certainly windy. Tara fights with her tent in San Rafael
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    Rill & Slocum tearing through Argentina pampas in the Darkcyd Racing Team’s Desert Warrior
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    Master Tech Raff McDougal contemplates Dakar 2012 and the Darkcyd Racing Team’s Desert Warrior
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    Capable and creative Ben Slocum the Darkcyd Co-Driver tests the thinning air at high altitude on the high plains of the Argentine Andes
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    Looking to the future. Will there be another run at Dakar for Darkcyd? Robb Rill thinks.
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  7. KTM265

    KTM265 Long timer

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    OK, so at this point, are you allowed to assist the other American teams?
  8. worldrider

    worldrider Adventure & Discovery

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    We can help the other American teams in the bivouac, but not on the course. We can assist to a degree on the liaison, but not to the extent where we're doing mechanical work on the vehicles. Essentially our techs can work on the other vehicles in the bivouac!
  9. KTM265

    KTM265 Long timer

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    That's pretty cool, so you can basically be a night shift pit crew then for them...
  10. worldrider

    worldrider Adventure & Discovery

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    Okay. So I've been a bit behind in keeping this trip / ride report updated. So you're going to see a bunch of activity tonight so I can bring this up to date from my experiences along the Dakar Trail in January this year. So enjoy the ride and the read and I'll catch up with you soon-on the road or on ADV.
  11. worldrider

    worldrider Adventure & Discovery

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    <div class="single_post_module">
    <div id="post-2464" class="post-2464 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-dakar-2012">

    <div class="single_post_image"><a rel="prettyPhoto" href="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_6808.jpg" title="Fiambala Argentina to Copiapó Chile&#8211;Darkcyd Faces Yet Another Obstacle" class="blog_index_image_load" style="background:no-repeat center center;display:block;position:relative;height:244px;width:622px;"><span class="noscript"><img class="hover_fade_js" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/themes/modular/lib/scripts/timthumb/thumb.php?src=http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_6808.jpg&#038;w=614&#038;h=236&#038;zc=1&#038;q=100" title="Fiambala Argentina to Copiapó Chile&#8211;Darkcyd Faces Yet Another Obstacle" alt="IMG 6808" width="614" height="236" /></span><div class="mysite_preloader"><img src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/themes/modular/images/assets/transparent.gif" style="background-image: url(http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/r...ssets/preloader.png);background-position:left center;"></div></a></div><h2 class="post_title">Fiambala Argentina to Copiapó Chile&#8211;Darkcyd Faces Yet Another Obstacle</h2>
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    <p class="post_meta"><span class="meta_author"> <a href="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/author/allan/">allan</a></span> <span class="meta_date"><a href="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/2012/01/" title="Saturday, January 7th, 2012, 11:21 pm">01-7-2012</a></span> <span class="meta_comments"> <a href="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/fiambala-argentina-to-copiapo-chile-darkcyd-faces-yet-another-obstacle/#comments" title="Comment on Fiambala Argentina to Copiapó Chile&#8211;Darkcyd Faces Yet Another Obstacle">1 Comment</a></span></p>
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    <p>Experiencing the excitement of Dakar is like no other sport I&#8217;ve seen live. Though we&#8217;re traveling through the remaining 8 stages as assistance vehicles and spectators, we are immersed in life in the bivouac and the seemingly endless parade of constant movement with hundreds of other vehicles.</p>
    <p>Just because we&#8217;re not racing, doesn&#8217;t mean we&#8217;re not subject to the trials and tribulations of what we now know so intimately as, &#8220;well, that&#8217;s Dakar!&#8221; We&#8217;re still moving at a very rapid pace from bivouac to bivouac. Each day we must travel about 300-400 miles, often over tough or as in the early stages, very monotonous terrain. We must arrive to the bivouac quickly so we can claim our &#8216;real estate&#8217; where we&#8217;ll set up a temporary outdoor garage and race car repair facility, camping area and parking for our three vehicles. Thankfully Yvan and Pavel, the technicians driving a T-5 truck for Paul and the Rally Raid crew usually arrive earlier than the Darkcyd Team, so we have a spot that we can wedge into.</p>
    <p>Next we must unpack our things, set up tents and camp and find our way to the dining hall. I must find the media/press relations tent and try to catch up on the race and rally action. With a population of 2,500 or so, the vastness of the bivouac can make it hard to find other teams, such as Darren Skilton, Mark McMillan, and others.</p>
    <p>The drive from Fiambala Argentina to Copiapó in Chile carves through high desert, Andean High Plains, verdant valleys, dry salt lakes and through the Paso de San Francisco (San Francisco Pass). Though due to storms and the temporary border closing at the pass by the Chilean Government, today&#8217;s special (actual racing) stage was cancelled. The assistance route for all vehicles moving to the next bivouac at Copiapó was changed. This meant GPS Road Book coordinates for racers, assistance vehicles and media was changed. </p>
    <p>If teams or representatives didn&#8217;t attend the previous evenings meeting/announcement nor picked up the updated GPS coordinates and Road Book at the competitor desk the following morning, they may not be aware that the route had changed.</p>
    <p>So after an amazingly beautiful ride through the high plains including pristine views of multicolored mountains, dramatic peaks and volcanoes, pink flamingos and wandering alpaca the entire Darkcyd Team and its 3 vehicles whisked through immigration and customs at both Argentina and Chile&#8211;thanks to the great management of this normally multi-hour painful border crossing, we carefully followed the new Road Book. The new route would be some 100km longer than the original, and have us winding down another pass the through mountains rich in minerals and massive mines &#8212; including the nearby San Jose copper mine famous for the Los 33 &#8212; thirty-three trapped miners in 2010. </p>
    <p>The key change in the road book indicated a right turn that would circumvent the primary route to Copiapo and take Dakar teams in a slightly longer loop that would have them arriving into Copiapó from the north. If drivers missed the right turn, they would then follow a road damaged and ripped part and muddy. The new route would be over 600km&#8212;most of it on dirt, gravel and sandy roads.</p>
    <p>The long day had many of the team changing vehicles. Robb, who had changed driving positions with Master Tech Raff McDougall, cruised down the road behind the wheel or the team&#8217;s Chevy 2500 T5 assistance vehicle. Raff sat behind the wheel of the Desert Warrior. I say behind the wheel of the wacky but solid Ford Ranger with the &#8220;Magic Mushroom&#8221; RV cap.</p>
    <p>Within 10 minutes of making the turn onto the new route, Robb came upon some debris in the middle of the dirt road. At speed with little time to react, he centered the Chevy and drove over the debris. Then he hears a loud clank and at that moment Raff, who had pulled over on the side of the road noticed fluid leaking from his truck. He quickly radioed Robb and instructed him to pull over on the side of the road.</p>
    <p>After a quick inspection of the undercarriage of the Chevy, Raff&#8217;s mood turned from pleasant and happy to distant and frustrated. And for good reason. The transmission oil pan had been smashed and punctured by the debris Robb ran over. Now in the middle of nowhere and sitting at 15,000 feet high in the Andes, there was no way the Darkcyd T5 assistance vehicle would make it to Copiapó on its own&#8212;it would have to be towed.</p>
    <p>Acting swift and with purpose, Tara grabbed the SAT phone and contacted the Rally Raid UK team of Yvan and Pavel. Amazingly, she caught them on the phone in the first try. They were at the intersection just after the Chilean border. They had no idea the route had changed and were prepared to follow the original route toward Copiapó. At only about 20 miles away, the Rally Raid T5 showed up and worked with Raff and Bill to diagnose the problem and ultimately towed the Chevy the remaining 300km to the bivouac in Copiapó. Raff had to sit behind the wheel and provide steering and occasional breaking for the entire journey in what he described as the hardest 4 hours of driving in his entire life.</p>
    <p>This is Dakar. Nothing seems to go as planned. No with a busted transmission, smashed transmission oil pan and broken oil filter, as we stared out over the high plains and toward the Atacama Desert, everyone wondered if we&#8217;d ever get out of Chile. </p>
    <p>Raff didn&#8217;t look happy. And even with her decisive and amazingly lucky move of catching the Rally Raid vehicle before it headed miles away, Tara showed signs of fear and frustration. There aren&#8217;t a lot of Chevy 2500 trucks in Chile. So where and when would we find the appropriate parts.</p>
    <p>We&#8217;d have to wait until Saturday morning.</p>
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  12. worldrider

    worldrider Adventure & Discovery

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,242
    Location:
    Leucadia, California…heading to Iceland!
    Fiambala Argentina to Copiapó Chile--Darkcyd Faces Yet Another Obstacle

    Experiencing the excitement of Dakar is like no other sport I’ve seen live. Though we’re traveling through the remaining 8 stages as assistance vehicles and spectators, we are immersed in life in the bivouac and the seemingly endless parade of constant movement with hundreds of other vehicles.

    Just because we’re not racing, doesn’t mean we’re not subject to the trials and tribulations of what we now know so intimately as, “well, that’s Dakar!” We’re still moving at a very rapid pace from bivouac to bivouac. Each day we must travel about 300-400 miles, often over tough or as in the early stages, very monotonous terrain. We must arrive to the bivouac quickly so we can claim our ‘real estate’ where we’ll set up a temporary outdoor garage and race car repair facility, camping area and parking for our three vehicles. Thankfully Yvan and Pavel, the technicians driving a T-5 truck for Paul and the Rally Raid crew usually arrive earlier than the Darkcyd Team, so we have a spot that we can wedge into.

    Next we must unpack our things, set up tents and camp and find our way to the dining hall. I must find the media/press relations tent and try to catch up on the race and rally action. With a population of 2,500 or so, the vastness of the bivouac can make it hard to find other teams, such as Darren Skilton, Mark McMillan, and others.

    The drive from Fiambala Argentina to Copiapó in Chile carves through high desert, Andean High Plains, verdant valleys, dry salt lakes and through the Paso de San Francisco (San Francisco Pass). Though due to storms and the temporary border closing at the pass by the Chilean Government, today’s special (actual racing) stage was cancelled. The assistance route for all vehicles moving to the next bivouac at Copiapó was changed. This meant GPS Road Book coordinates for racers, assistance vehicles and media was changed.

    If teams or representatives didn’t attend the previous evenings meeting/announcement nor picked up the updated GPS coordinates and Road Book at the competitor desk the following morning, they may not be aware that the route had changed.

    So after an amazingly beautiful ride through the high plains including pristine views of multicolored mountains, dramatic peaks and volcanoes, pink flamingos and wandering alpaca the entire Darkcyd Team and its 3 vehicles whisked through immigration and customs at both Argentina and Chile--thanks to the great management of this normally multi-hour painful border crossing, we carefully followed the new Road Book. The new route would be some 100km longer than the original, and have us winding down another pass the through mountains rich in minerals and massive mines — including the nearby San Jose copper mine famous for the Los 33 -- thirty-three trapped miners in 2010.

    The key change in the road book indicated a right turn that would circumvent the primary route to Copiapo and take Dakar teams in a slightly longer loop that would have them arriving into Copiapó from the north. If drivers missed the right turn, they would then follow a road damaged and ripped part and muddy. The new route would be over 600km—most of it on dirt, gravel and sandy roads.

    The long day had many of the team changing vehicles. Robb, who had changed driving positions with Master Tech Raff McDougall, cruised down the road behind the wheel or the team’s Chevy 2500 T5 assistance vehicle. Raff sat behind the wheel of the Desert Warrior. I say behind the wheel of the wacky but solid Ford Ranger with the “Magic Mushroom” RV cap.

    Within 10 minutes of making the turn onto the new route, Robb came upon some debris in the middle of the dirt road. At speed with little time to react, he centered the Chevy and drove over the debris. Then he hears a loud clank and at that moment Raff, who had pulled over on the side of the road noticed fluid leaking from his truck. He quickly radioed Robb and instructed him to pull over on the side of the road.

    After a quick inspection of the undercarriage of the Chevy, Raff’s mood turned from pleasant and happy to distant and frustrated. And for good reason. The transmission oil pan had been smashed and punctured by the debris Robb ran over. Now in the middle of nowhere and sitting at 15,000 feet high in the Andes, there was no way the Darkcyd T5 assistance vehicle would make it to Copiapó on its own—it would have to be towed.

    Acting swift and with purpose, Tara grabbed the SAT phone and contacted the Rally Raid UK team of Yvan and Pavel. Amazingly, she caught them on the phone in the first try. They were at the intersection just after the Chilean border. They had no idea the route had changed and were prepared to follow the original route toward Copiapó. At only about 20 miles away, the Rally Raid T5 showed up and worked with Raff and Bill to diagnose the problem and ultimately towed the Chevy the remaining 300km to the bivouac in Copiapó. Raff had to sit behind the wheel and provide steering and occasional breaking for the entire journey in what he described as the hardest 4 hours of driving in his entire life.

    This is Dakar. Nothing seems to go as planned. No with a busted transmission, smashed transmission oil pan and broken oil filter, as we stared out over the high plains and toward the Atacama Desert, everyone wondered if we’d ever get out of Chile.

    Raff didn’t look happy. And even with her decisive and amazingly lucky move of catching the Rally Raid vehicle before it headed miles away, Tara showed signs of fear and frustration. There aren’t a lot of Chevy 2500 trucks in Chile. So where and when would we find the appropriate parts.

    We’d have to wait until Saturday morning.
  13. worldrider

    worldrider Adventure & Discovery

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,242
    Location:
    Leucadia, California…heading to Iceland!
    Copiapó: Fixing The T-5 And Then Some…
    <div class="single_post_module">
    <div id="post-2490" class="post-2490 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-dakar-2012">

    <div class="single_post_image"><a rel="prettyPhoto" href="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7019-Version-2.jpg" title="Copiapó: Fixing The T-5 And Then Some…" class="blog_index_image_load" style="background:no-repeat center center;display:block;position:relative;height:244px;width:622px;"><span class="noscript"><img class="hover_fade_js" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/themes/modular/lib/scripts/timthumb/thumb.php?src=http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7019-Version-2.jpg&#038;w=614&#038;h=236&#038;zc=1&#038;q=100" title="Copiapó: Fixing The T-5 And Then Some…" alt="IMG 7019 Version 2" width="614" height="236" /></span><div class="mysite_preloader"><img src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/themes/modular/images/assets/transparent.gif" style="background-image: url(http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/r...ssets/preloader.png);background-position:left center;"></div></a></div><h2 class="post_title">Copiapó: Fixing The T-5 And Then Some…</h2>
    <div class="single_post_content">

    <p class="post_meta"><span class="meta_author"> <a href="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/author/allan/">allan</a></span> <span class="meta_date"><a href="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/2012/01/" title="Sunday, January 8th, 2012, 9:55 pm">01-8-2012</a></span> </p>
    <div class="entry">
    <p>What had started as a great day had quickly sobered into a dramatic and tepid situation. The team arrived at the Bivouac late Monday night. Too tired and feeling beaten, everyone quickly retired to their tents.</p>
    <p>Before leaving for Dakar I had arranged to meet my good Chilean friend, Cristian, to meet us in Argentina and travel with us for a few days in the event we needed local support on the ground in Chile. We never expected we’d need his support to help us solve problems for the Darkcyd Racing Team’s T5 support vehicle. But early the next morning it was evident that Raff would need a new transmission oil filter and potentially a new transmission oil pan.</p>
    <p>The wheel chock that Robb ran over punctured the oil pan and pushed it up into the oil filter causing it to crack and break the inlet. The bad news is that Chevy 2500 trucks are rare in Chile and only sold by special order—if that. Typically parts are only carried for cars and trucks regularly sold. If there was a filter or pan available in Chile, it still could take 2-5 days to get one to our remote post in the Atacama Desert: Copiapó. The good news is that Chevy uses a third-party transmission by Allison—which are used in many other vehicles and therefore increasing our odds slightly that we might find the necessary parts.</p>
    <p><span class="pullquote3 quotes alignright">The wheel chock that Robb ran over punctured the oil pan and pushed it up into the oil filter causing it to crack and break the inlet. The bad news is that Chevy 2500 trucks are rare in Chile and only sold by special order—if that. </span><br />
    Cristian was less positive but more than willing to take on the challenge to find the parts. However, Cristian faced his own challenge and frustration. Besides losing us on the long liaison across the border from Argentina into Chile, upon arriving in Copiapó, his bike wouldn’t start after filling up with gas. He convinced a local restaurant to store his bike for the evening. So the next morning he had more on his mind than just finding an oil pan and filter—would he be able to get his bike started? If not, how would he get back to Santiago—a long 1,000km south?</p>
    <p>The first two filters that the SALFA Chevy dealer pulled from inventory looked right, but the inlet pipe was just not the right size. After further discussion and punching some keys on the computer keyboard, the parts manager returned with a unmarked brown cardboard box. Amazingly it was the right filter. Our jaws dropped with excitement, and though it didn’t come with a gasket, nor were they able to find an oil pan, they directed us to a local welder who could fix the puncture and save us hours in the process.</p>
    <p>Our morning chores and errands didn’t end with the oil pan and filter. The MAN T-4 support vehicle, which follows the team on the actual Dakar race course had broke a leaf spring the day before. Could we find Paul and the support team new springs? A tall order especially for a vehicle that is manufactured somewhere in Europe. </p>
    <p>The SALFA dealer assured us that there was no MAN dealer anywhere in Chile, however they referred us to a guy who repairs and manufacturers leaf springs for locals. As a huge mining community and with the surrounding companies loaded with massive heavy machinery, perhaps the leaf spring legend of Copiapó could help us. His company had no name and the personnel at SALFA didn’t know his address. No problem, they sent one of their employees to ride with us to both the welder and the leaf spring legend of Copiapó. Things were looking up. By 9pm that night we had our oil filter, newly welded oil pan and a pair of leaf springs for the Rally Raid UK MAN T-4. We celebrated at the local restaurant where Cristian had stored his motorcycle. </p>
    <p>The next morning Cristian’s motorcycle fired up as nothing had happened. But before we let him get on the road back to Santiago, he helped the team secure local Chilean cell phones, further supplies and a wireless USB internet card for my computer — though since I’ve found it challenging to make </p>
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    Darkcyd Rally Racing Team near the border of Argentina and Chile
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  14. worldrider

    worldrider Adventure & Discovery

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,242
    Location:
    Leucadia, California…heading to Iceland!
    The Atacama Desert - On The Dakar Trail
    <div class="single_post_module">
    <div id="post-2509" class="post-2509 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-dakar-2012">

    <div class="single_post_image"><a rel="prettyPhoto" href="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5469-Version-2.jpg" title="The Atacama Desert &#8211; On The Dakar Trail" class="blog_index_image_load" style="background:no-repeat center center;display:block;position:relative;height:244px;width:622px;"><span class="noscript"><img class="hover_fade_js" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/themes/modular/lib/scripts/timthumb/thumb.php?src=http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5469-Version-2.jpg&#038;w=614&#038;h=236&#038;zc=1&#038;q=100" title="The Atacama Desert &#8211; On The Dakar Trail" alt="IMG 5469 Version 2" width="614" height="236" /></span><div class="mysite_preloader"><img src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/themes/modular/images/assets/transparent.gif" style="background-image: url(http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/r...ssets/preloader.png);background-position:left center;"></div></a></div><h2 class="post_title">The Atacama Desert &#8211; On The Dakar Trail</h2>
    <div class="single_post_content">

    <p class="post_meta"><span class="meta_author"> <a href="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/author/allan/">allan</a></span> <span class="meta_date"><a href="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/2012/01/" title="Monday, January 9th, 2012, 3:14 pm">01-9-2012</a></span> <span class="meta_comments"> <a href="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/the-atacama-desert-on-the-dakar-trail/#respond" title="Comment on The Atacama Desert &#8211; On The Dakar Trail">0 Comments</a></span></p>
    <div class="entry">
    <p>The T-5 Chevy 2500 T-5 support vehicle isn&#8217;t doing so well. Raff is taking it well, but the frustration is evident in his demeanor and facial expressions, especially when the transmission won&#8217;t go into reverse, or when a simple downshift turns into a shutter and clunk. New parking strategies must be considered as the fickle and finicky transmission just isn&#8217;t reliable.</p>
    <p>The rally in Copiapó is the longest stage yet, running a total of 598km (about 360 miles) including 444km of actual racing on the special stage. For the drivers, this means about 15 or 16 hours of racing. The only relieve the teams will have is a rest day here in Copiapó, before another long stage on Monday to Antofagasta.</p>
    <p>Perhaps the most exciting contest in the Dakar 2012 Rally is the neck and neck competition between Marc Coma from Spain and Cyril Despres from Spain. Both riding KTM motorcycles and both racking of 3 Dakar titles each, Coma squeaked by a stage victory and is slowly making nearly 3 minutes on the current leader Despres and tightening the gap to just 7&#8217;48&#8243;.</p>
    <p>But the exciting news here today is Nassar Al-Attiyah, who made a surprise announcement just a week or two prior to Dakar by joining the Robby Gordon Speeed Team. Al-Attiyah is the reigning king of Dakar having won the 2011 edition in a Volkswagon Toureg. Now driving a two wheel drive Hummer (really nothing like the Hummer you might know), the lighter car is quite different than anything Nassar has raced previously. Today&#8217;s performance, including passing 5 cars in the last 200km of the special and gaining nearly 8 minutes on the French leader, Stephane Peterhansel. Gordon also piloted his neon orange Hummer to stellar finnish and now sits in 3rd place behind Peterhansel and Krzysztof Holowczyc from Poland.</p>
    <p>Fellow American and once co-driver for Robby Gordon, Darren Skilton continues to have problcial built buggy, but refuses to let go and is still in the race. For Copiapó we set up camp in the Bivouac just across form the Gordon/Al-Attiyah team and it was a treat to watch the techs, drivers and co-drivers work together to solve problems, share in the excitement and plan for further Dakar domination down the road. No American team or driver has ever won The Dakar, Gordon is hoping this will be the year.</p>
    <p>Now traveling with us is a former WRC scrutineer, David, who we connected with last March while racing the WRC Mexico event. Now riding his motorcycle to Patagonia, he offered to help the team by returning our lovely RV, which has been nicknamed the Magic Mushroom, due to its loose resemblance of a hippy bus and the rag tag nomads piloting it all around South America. Perhaps not so rag tag, but it makes for good fodder and chatter over our VHF radios as our three vehicle convoy makes its way to Lima, Peru. There David will drive the RV back to Argentina and return it to the rental company.</p>
    <p>The extra person certainly adds more complexity to our travels, because simply organizing the team and getting everybody up, packed and fed at a decent hour before traveling hundreds of hot and hard miles north is like herding cats.</p>
    <p>Taking advantage of the rest day and the somewhat decent resources in Copiapó, the team was treated to its first meal outside the Bivouac since we left Mar del Plata over a week ago.</p>
    <p>We made our way to the next stop on the Dakar 2012 trail to Antofagasta, a modest town on the coast with good access to fuel, food and more. Along the way we were able to catch some of the action of the racers. Tara is still impressed and smitten by the big trucks, but not enough to shadow the reality of her new life of sleeping in tents, using port-potties and eating in a dining hall that she not so fondly refers to something like a &#8220;mens prison.&#8221; But she&#8217;s a trooper and nearly at the half-way point, I think she&#8217;s starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.</p>
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1002.jpg' title='IMG_1002' rel="lightbox[2509-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1002.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Camping At The Bivouac. The Magic Mushroom and the Wounded T-5" title="IMG_1002" /></a>
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    Camping At The Bivouac. The Magic Mushroom and the Wounded T-5
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5372-Version-2.jpg' title='IMG_5372 - Version 2' rel="lightbox[2509-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5372-Version-2.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Robby Gordon speaks with new teammate Nassar Al-Attiyah and co-driver Lucas Cruz" title="IMG_5372 - Version 2" /></a>
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    Robby Gordon speaks with new teammate Nassar Al-Attiyah and co-driver Lucas Cruz
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5373-Version-2.jpg' title='IMG_5373 - Version 2' rel="lightbox[2509-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5373-Version-2.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="American Racing Legend, Robby Gordon hopes to be the first American to win a Dakar Title" title="IMG_5373 - Version 2" /></a>
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    American Racing Legend, Robby Gordon hopes to be the first American to win a Dakar Title
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5383.jpg' title='IMG_5383' rel="lightbox[2509-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5383.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Robby Gordon&#039;s team work on the specially built Hummer during the one rest day at Copiapó" title="IMG_5383" /></a>
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    Robby Gordon&#8217;s team work on the specially built Hummer during the one rest day at Copiapó
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5384-Version-2.jpg' title='IMG_5384 - Version 2' rel="lightbox[2509-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5384-Version-2.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="After a stellar performance by the Robby Gordon team, Gordon shows signs of enjoyment at the grueling Dakar" title="IMG_5384 - Version 2" /></a>
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    After a stellar performance by the Robby Gordon team, Gordon shows signs of enjoyment at the grueling Dakar
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5389-Version-2.jpg' title='IMG_5389 - Version 2' rel="lightbox[2509-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5389-Version-2.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Nassar contemplates his next move at Dakar 2012" title="IMG_5389 - Version 2" /></a>
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    Nassar contemplates his next move at Dakar 2012
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5397-Version-21.jpg' title='IMG_5397 - Version 2' rel="lightbox[2509-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5397-Version-21.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Darkcyd Team Manager Raff McDougall tries not to let a badly wounded and barely working transmission spoil his fun at Dakar" title="IMG_5397 - Version 2" /></a>
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    Darkcyd Team Manager Raff McDougall tries not to let a badly wounded and barely working transmission spoil his fun at Dakar
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5469-Version-2.jpg' title='IMG_5469 - Version 2' rel="lightbox[2509-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5469-Version-2.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="The Dark Destroyer enroute to Antafagasta Chile, stopping at the infamous &quot;hand&quot; on the Panamerican Highway." title="IMG_5469 - Version 2" /></a>
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    The Dark Destroyer enroute to Antafagasta Chile, stopping at the infamous &#8220;hand&#8221; on the Panamerican Highway.
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5483.jpg' title='IMG_5483' rel="lightbox[2509-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5483.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Team photographer and blogger, Allan Karl borrows a KTM 450 from Peruvian competitor Jaques Barron for a photo op at the Antafagasta hand." title="IMG_5483" /></a>
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    Team photographer and blogger, Allan Karl borrows a KTM 450 from Peruvian competitor Jaques Barron for a photo op at the Antafagasta hand.
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    Darkcyd newest tag along, David will return the Magic Mushroom RV to the rental company in Argentina after we take another few thousand miles to Lima
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_6928.jpg' title='IMG_6928' rel="lightbox[2509-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_6928.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Tara showing signs of enjoyment while shielding herself from the brutal Atacama Desert sun." title="IMG_6928" /></a>
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    Tara showing signs of enjoyment while shielding herself from the brutal Atacama Desert sun.
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    The final dune at Copiapó
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_6972-Version-21.jpg' title='IMG_6972 - Version 2' rel="lightbox[2509-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_6972-Version-21.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Bivouac at Copiapó" title="IMG_6972 - Version 2" /></a>
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    Bivouac at Copiapó
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_6980-Version-2.jpg' title='IMG_6980 - Version 2' rel="lightbox[2509-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_6980-Version-2.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Tara gets close the the trucks at Copiapó loop" title="IMG_6980 - Version 2" /></a>
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    Tara gets close the the trucks at Copiapó loop
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7007.jpg' title='IMG_7007' rel="lightbox[2509-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7007.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="No longer competing, Darkcyd Racing takes notes for what could be another run at Dakar in the near future." title="IMG_7007" /></a>
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    No longer competing, Darkcyd Racing takes notes for what could be another run at Dakar in the near future.
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7031.jpg' title='IMG_7031' rel="lightbox[2509-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7031.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Dakar Reality: Dust, Sand, Silt. It gets everywhere. And there&#039;s no escaping." title="IMG_7031" /></a>
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    Dakar Reality: Dust, Sand, Silt. It gets everywhere. And there&#8217;s no escaping.
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7135-Version-2.jpg' title='IMG_7135 - Version 2' rel="lightbox[2509-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7135-Version-2.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Magic Mushroom and Raffs Wounded T-5." title="IMG_7135 - Version 2" /></a>
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    Magic Mushroom and Raffs Wounded T-5.
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7163-Version-2.jpg' title='IMG_7163 - Version 2' rel="lightbox[2509-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7163-Version-2.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Fellow Desert Warrior racer, Canadian David Bensadoun and Patrick Beaule take a roadside break during liaison after a long special stage to Antafagasta." title="IMG_7163 - Version 2" /></a>
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    Fellow Desert Warrior racer, Canadian David Bensadoun and Patrick Beaule take a roadside break during liaison after a long special stage to Antafagasta.
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7206-Version-2.jpg' title='IMG_7206 - Version 2' rel="lightbox[2509-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7206-Version-2.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Darkcyd following the action in Dakar 2012" title="IMG_7206 - Version 2" /></a>
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    Darkcyd following the action in Dakar 2012
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7213-Version-2.jpg' title='IMG_7213 - Version 2' rel="lightbox[2509-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7213-Version-2.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="The ominous and ever present massive trucks make an impressive display of power, strength and speed at Dakar 2012" title="IMG_7213 - Version 2" /></a>
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    The ominous and ever present massive trucks make an impressive display of power, strength and speed at Dakar 2012
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  15. worldrider

    worldrider Adventure & Discovery

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,242
    Location:
    Leucadia, California…heading to Iceland!
    Antofagasta to Iquique — Twisting & Winding Up The Chilean Coast
    <div class="single_post_module">
    <div id="post-2536" class="post-2536 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-dakar-2012">

    <div class="single_post_image"><a rel="prettyPhoto" href="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7252.jpg" title="Antofagasta to Iquique — Twisting &amp; Winding Up The Chilean Coast" class="blog_index_image_load" style="background:no-repeat center center;display:block;position:relative;height:244px;width:622px;"><span class="noscript"><img class="hover_fade_js" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/themes/modular/lib/scripts/timthumb/thumb.php?src=http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7252.jpg&#038;w=614&#038;h=236&#038;zc=1&#038;q=100" title="Antofagasta to Iquique — Twisting &amp; Winding Up The Chilean Coast" alt="IMG 7252" width="614" height="236" /></span><div class="mysite_preloader"><img src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/themes/modular/images/assets/transparent.gif" style="background-image: url(http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/r...ssets/preloader.png);background-position:left center;"></div></a></div><h2 class="post_title">Antofagasta to Iquique — Twisting &#038; Winding Up The Chilean Coast</h2>
    <div class="single_post_content">

    <p class="post_meta"><span class="meta_author"> <a href="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/author/allan/">allan</a></span> <span class="meta_date"><a href="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/2012/01/" title="Wednesday, January 11th, 2012, 12:05 pm">01-11-2012</a></span> <span class="meta_comments"> <a href="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/antofagasta/#respond" title="Comment on Antofagasta to Iquique — Twisting &amp; Winding Up The Chilean Coast">0 Comments</a></span></p>
    <div class="entry">
    <p>As we continue our journey north toward Lima, the remaining racers continue to face rough desert terrain, sand and more dunes. While the temperatures are more moderate than we experienced in Argentina and Copiapó, the wind continues to wreak havoc and carrying with it biting sand. I thought it would be nearly impossible to beat the whipping winds we experienced in Fiambala, but I&#8217;ve been challenged here in Antofagasta by that notion.</p>
    <p>Driving the &#8220;Magic Mushroom&#8221;, a four-wheel drive turbo-charged 3.0L diesel with a precarious camper shell fitted into its bed, is quite interesting. The whipping winds find the camper shell and toss the vehicle around the road, often blowing it into the oncoming lane. A slight tug on the wheel in one direction and then the other transforms the top-heavy eyesore into a swinging pendelum. And the driver&#8217;s side door window often slips out of alignment causing a loud whirring sound of wind the is so loud it nearly drowns out conversation in the cab. But it serves as our pack mule. There is no room for sleeping, though co-driver Ben has made it his mission to wedge between the luggage that contributes to its overloaded stage. &#8220;I like the Magic Mushroom,&#8221; Ben is fond of saying, &#8220;I&#8217;m perfectly comfortable sleeping there.&#8221; </p>
    <p>The Panamerican Highway is a decent two lane paved road that at times hugs and winds and climbs around the barren but rocky coast of Northern Chile, passing dry salt lakes, river beds and massive boulders spewed from volcanoes eons ago.</p>
    <p>The Dakar Rally is composed of four general classifications:</p>
    <p>1) Motorcycles<br />
    2) Quads<br />
    3) Cars &#8212; this includes small pick-up trucks and SUVs, as we&#8217;ll as buggies and UTVs<br />
    4) Trucks &#8212; These are large massive diesel powered MANs, Ivecos, Mercedes, Volvo and more</p>
    <p>Each &#8220;stage&#8221; of the rally is composed of a &#8220;special stage&#8221;, which is an actual timed section of the race and is always off-road, and a &#8220;liaison stage&#8221;, usually on pavement and not times and allows racers to get to or from the special stage.</p>
    <p>Assistance vehicles, such as the &#8220;Magic Mushroom&#8221;, the Darkcyd Racing T-5 Chevy 2500 and now the Desert Warrior simply travel from Bivouac to Bivouac via full length liaison stages. Our Ford Ranger pseudo RV is fitted with a special GPS called a Trippy which includes the road book for the liaison stages. We set the Trippy each day and make our way to the Bivouac, often going off route to follow some of the racing that passes within a few kilometers of the main liaison route.</p>
    <p>On many of the &#8220;Special Stages&#8221; the motorcycles, quads and trucks will race different sections of &#8220;special stages.&#8221; Perhaps because some of the terrain is more suited to a car or vice-versa. At some point during the special stage, all of the vehicles will return to a primary track to the final control check point at the stage finish.</p>
    <p><span class="pullquote3 quotes alignleft">It appears Tara has tired of the Ford Ranger Magic Mushroom and has opted for the more cushy and lofty ride in Raff&#8217;s Chevy T-5 with its iPod connection and sooped up air conditioning. </span><br />
    Though the Darkcyd Racing Desert Warrior is out of the race, another team, Aldo Racing from Canada is still in the race. Our team is sharing the Rally Raid UK T-5 and T-4 support vehicles so at each Bivouac we share a common campsite and often are helping each other with the seemingly endless issues that plague Dakar competitors and assistance teams alike. Piloted by David Bensadoun and supported by co-driver Patrick Beaule, the Aldo Racing Desert Warrior is a custom version that is slightly longer, wider and taller than the Darkcyd Desert Warrior, yet both share the same power plant, suspension and other design components. </p>
    <p>The Dakar 2012 route has been tough on the Aldo Racing Desert Warrior. Since the start of the race the team has broken a wheel or had a flat tire during nearly each stage of the race. We&#8217;ve put our spare wheels on reserve in the event that Aldo Racing may need them. Plus, the dust, powder and grueling terrain has taxed the brakes of the Aldo Desert Warrior requiring them to be replaced in Antofagasta.</p>
    <p>What if the new brakes don&#8217;t last as long? The capable technicians working with Rally Raid UK, Yvan and Pavel as well as David and Patrick wanted to be sure they had a back up plan. So Robb contacted our legendary Chilean Dakar &#8220;Fixer&#8221;, Cristian and put him to work. Within hours we had confirmation that Cristian had a package with new brake pads in transit via Chile Express. We would pick them up the next morning before leaving the next stage at Iquique. Though we all wondered if the next morning truly meant &#8220;next morning,&#8221; and not some optimistic answer also known as &#8220;South American time.&#8221;</p>
    <p>It appears Tara has tired of the Ford Ranger Magic Mushroom and has opted for the more cushy and lofty ride in Raff&#8217;s Chevy T-5 with its iPod connection and sooped up air conditioning. Though I shouldn&#8217;t take it personally, my new passenger is certainly not as pretty nor as phobic as Tara, but it was a tell tale sign as I nosed the front of the ranger into oncoming traffic, started to downshift to make my go at an uphill grade to pass painfully slow big trucks when David asks, &#8220;Are you sure you want to do that?&#8221; The smug and matter of face delivery made me laugh as I nosed back behind the big truck in front of me to let the massive 18-wheeler whiz by me. To be sure, this wouldn&#8217;t be the last of David&#8217;s questions. Even better, he figured out how to unlock the security code on the Magic Mushroom&#8217;s stereo and what has been a music-less ride for the last week now is a rockin&#8217; and rolling cruise up the Chilean coast twisting and winding around tight corners without guard rails and precipitous drops often more than 200 feet. </p>
    <p>We pulled over to watch the end of the special stage where cars, bikes and trucks alike must fly down a massive dune more than 500 feet high and dropping at a 70 or 80 degree slope down. The wind is so strong nothing is safe: our eyes, my camera gear or the endless ambitious fans who try to get just a little closer only to find their cars and trucks stuck knee deep or more in the sand. The sun blinds and burns. But none of this seems to phase the passionate Chileans and Bolivians who lined up to watch the action, many enjoying the sport not unlike football tailgaters in the USA.</p>
    <p>After we couldn&#8217;t take the sun or sand any further we headed to Iquique. With the music and continuing to live in the spirit of Dakar, I find that the Magic Mushroom and I are getting along better and I&#8217;m more in touch with its capabilities — and it&#8217;s limits.</p>
    <p>The next grade wasn&#8217;t any longer than the last. But this is Dakar. &#8220;Yes. I&#8217;m sure I want to pass this one, David.&#8221;</p>
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1017.jpg' title='IMG_1017' rel="lightbox[2536-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1017.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Two Desert Warriors - Darkcyd Racing &amp; Aldo Racing" title="IMG_1017" /></a>
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    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Two Desert Warriors &#8211; Darkcyd Racing &#038; Aldo Racing
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    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5494.jpg' title='IMG_5494' rel="lightbox[2536-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5494.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Passionate Fans Don&#039;t Let Harsh Conditions Get In The Way of Watching Dakar" title="IMG_5494" /></a>
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    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Passionate Fans Don&#8217;t Let Harsh Conditions Get In The Way of Watching Dakar
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    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5509.jpg' title='IMG_5509' rel="lightbox[2536-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5509.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="One good way to keep the sand from stinging your eyes — make a note for next time!" title="IMG_5509" /></a>
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    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    One good way to keep the sand from stinging your eyes — make a note for next time!
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5516.jpg' title='IMG_5516' rel="lightbox[2536-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5516.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="I&#039;ts the Chilean version of tailgating. Enjoy a Sunday at Dakar" title="IMG_5516" /></a>
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    I&#8217;ts the Chilean version of tailgating. Enjoy a Sunday at Dakar
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5520.jpg' title='IMG_5520' rel="lightbox[2536-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5520.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Tailgating with the best asados at Dakar. We need to plan better next time!" title="IMG_5520" /></a>
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    Tailgating with the best asados at Dakar. We need to plan better next time!
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5545.jpg' title='IMG_5545' rel="lightbox[2536-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5545.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="If the sun or sand gets to you, just hop into your tent!" title="IMG_5545" /></a>
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    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    If the sun or sand gets to you, just hop into your tent!
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    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5554.jpg' title='IMG_5554' rel="lightbox[2536-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5554.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Dakar Fans Chile" title="IMG_5554" /></a>
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    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Dakar Fans Chile
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    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5556.jpg' title='IMG_5556' rel="lightbox[2536-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5556.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Massive dunes are the norm at Dakar 2012" title="IMG_5556" /></a>
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    Massive dunes are the norm at Dakar 2012
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5570.jpg' title='IMG_5570' rel="lightbox[2536-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5570.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Live TV coverage includes some 6 helicopters" title="IMG_5570" /></a>
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    Live TV coverage includes some 6 helicopters
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_55851.jpg' title='IMG_5585' rel="lightbox[2536-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_55851.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Find a dune and make your camp. Dakar is action" title="IMG_5585" /></a>
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    Find a dune and make your camp. Dakar is action
    </dd>
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    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5599.jpg' title='IMG_5599' rel="lightbox[2536-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5599.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="US ADVrider Ned Suesse barrels down the dune and gets that much closer to a Dakar finish." title="IMG_5599" /></a>
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    US ADVrider Ned Suesse barrels down the dune and gets that much closer to a Dakar finish.
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5603.jpg' title='IMG_5603' rel="lightbox[2536-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5603.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Our new tag along: David" title="IMG_5603" /></a>
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    Our new tag along: David
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5607.jpg' title='IMG_5607' rel="lightbox[2536-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5607.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Protection from sand and sun, Darkcyd driver Robb Rill demonstrates desert preparedness." title="IMG_5607" /></a>
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    Protection from sand and sun, Darkcyd driver Robb Rill demonstrates desert preparedness.
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5661.jpg' title='IMG_5661' rel="lightbox[2536-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5661.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Those are some big binos." title="IMG_5661" /></a>
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    Those are some big binos.
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7231.jpg' title='IMG_7231' rel="lightbox[2536-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7231.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Tara finally gets to sit at the help of a big Dakar Truck!" title="IMG_7231" /></a>
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    Tara finally gets to sit at the help of a big Dakar Truck!
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7235.jpg' title='IMG_7235' rel="lightbox[2536-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7235.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Now...how many gears does this thing have?" title="IMG_7235" /></a>
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    Now&#8230;how many gears does this thing have?
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7246.jpg' title='IMG_7246' rel="lightbox[2536-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7246.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="The barren but dangerous for driving north Chile coast." title="IMG_7246" /></a>
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    The barren but dangerous for driving north Chile coast.
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7252.jpg' title='IMG_7252' rel="lightbox[2536-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7252.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Magic Mushroom." title="IMG_7252" /></a>
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    Magic Mushroom.
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    <br style='clear: both;' />
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  16. worldrider

    worldrider Adventure & Discovery

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,242
    Location:
    Leucadia, California…heading to Iceland!
    <h3>Desert Warrior Needs Springs.<br />
    Robby Gordon Finishes First But Is Disqualified<br />
    Nassar Al-Attiya Bows Out.</h3>
    <p>Some purists might argue that the South American Dakar is nothing like the original African Dakar. I would argue that the African fans could never be as passionate and excited as the fans here in South America. And certainly I don&#8217;t think any of the residents here in South America would kill anyone as they did in Africa in 2007 and therefore forcing the A.S.O., the Dakar organization, to move the race to Argentina and Chile and for 2012, the first time in Peru.</p>
    <p>In Argentina they were everywhere. Fans lined the streets of cities, small towns and in the middle of the pampas, all of them honking horns, waving flags, thumbs up in the air, waving their arms in accelerated windmill moves as cars zoom by. If we had to stop, even for a short relief from the massive intake of water we&#8217;ve been drinking, it wouldn&#8217;t be long before someone would appear, usually thrusting a flag, photo, or a piece of paper and a pen hoping for an autograph.</p>
    <p>&#8220;Foto, foto, foto, mister,&#8221; they&#8217;d plead, &#8220;please mister, foto, foto, foto.&#8221; For many South American residents, getting close to the Dakar convoy is like getting close to rock stars. It&#8217;s hard to imagine this passion in the United States. It just wouldn&#8217;t happen.</p>
    <p>I wonder what the fans will do with all the photographs and video they take of cars just whisking by there homes or downtown areas. We saw many fans who perhaps didn&#8217;t own cameras, but that didn&#8217;t prevent them from capturing the action as they sat on the roadside with small tablet and laptop computers aimed at the road, obviously using built-in cameras to record the Dakar frenzy.</p>
    <p>But off-road rally racing has been embedded in South American culture much in the way that baseball and football are in the United States. Now in Chile, we travel longer distances over barren desert, so the fans aren&#8217;t lining the streets as they did in Argentina, but as we roll through small fishing villages and larger towns they hover around intersections, stand on the medians and practically hang from the traffic lights.</p>
    <p>Most just want to see and watch. Others are hoping for hats, t-shirts and stickers. We&#8217;ve been running low on stickers and didn&#8217;t bring many t-shirts, so sometimes one of us simply pulls the shirt off our back and hands it to a passionate follower. But it&#8217;s the hats that we weren&#8217;t prepared for&#8212;most of the fans point to their heads, or yell &#8220;gorra, gorra&#8221;.</p>
    <p><span class="pullquote3 quotes alignright">&#8220;Foto, foto, foto, mister,&#8221; they&#8217;d plead, &#8220;please mister, foto, foto, foto.&#8221; For many South American residents, getting close to the Dakar convoy is like getting close to rock stars. It&#8217;s hard to imagine this passion in the United States. It just wouldn&#8217;t happen.</span><br />
    The Antofagasta to Iquique stage runs 565 km, of which only 9km is liaison. The course winds through several desetrt canyons, rocky river beds and miles of deep powdery silt, fondly referred to by competitors as &#8220;fesh-fesh&#8221;. This nasty baby powder like silt gets into air filters, turbochargers, wheel bearings and brakes and into the cabs of the driver and co-driver making for a messy and uncomfortable drive in temperatures pushing 110 degrees Fahrenheit. But the end of the stage brings them down a steep hill and onto the shores of the Pacific Ocean where a gentle breeze provided relief for the heat and an amazing sunset for the spirit.</p>
    <p>Our Canadian teammate made it through the long stage and arrived into Iquique past dark, having struggled with some of the sand and dunes. The gnarly river beds and massive rocks had taken its toll on the suspension of our friend&#8217;s banana colored Desert Warrior. Many of the springs broke. So rather than enjoy the bivouac and explore and watch the other cars and techs do their work, Raff and Bill removed the shock and spring assemblies from all four wheels and helped Aldo racing, Yvan and Pavel secure them on the Aldo steed so tomorrow Dave and Patrick could make their start time in the morning.</p>
    <p>The replacement suspension components for the Desert Warrior included a set of &#8220;not as good&#8221; Fox shocks and springs. But when the crew fitted them to Darkcyd&#8217;s Desert Warrior, they discovered the fit wasn&#8217;t right. The bushings or spacers needed to secure a proper fit were too small. While we are slated to pick up new brake pads in the morning, finding correctly sized bushings here in the middle of nowhere would be impossible.</p>
    <p>It wouldn&#8217;t be impossible to make new bushings, however. We would need a machine shop. While the Darkcyd T-5 support vehicle and the T-4 and T-5 trucks from Rally Raid UK were well equipped, there was no lathe or other fabrication machines necessary. So in the spirit of Dakar, Bill and Robb confronted the techs at Robby Gordon Racing who allowed Bill to use their machine shop an in a few hours Bill had newly fabricated bushings custom fit to the new Fox shocks.</p>
    <p>So even now, well into the race, part of the Darkcyd Desert Warrior is still in the race. In fact, a few days prior one of the other teams, McRae Racing, who are running specially built buggies that utilized the same engine as these Desert Warriors, a BMW 3.5L turbocharged diesel, were having problems with their ECM (electronic control module), again and in the spirit of Dakar, our team loaned our ECM so they could stay in the race.</p>
    <p>While the scenery in Iquique is calming and the nearly full moon providing more light as the days are getting shorter the more we move north, life in the bivouac continues to test all those who continue to endure questionable conditions in the portable toilets, so much that Ben still can&#8217;t figure out how a human being can miss the toilet by so much, especially when sitting on it, having to witness excrement and feces on the toilet seat, splattered on the floor and the questionable diet seeing it sprayed on the walls. Certianly not a pretty picture but evidence begs the question is how can someone be so crude or disrespectful&#8212;not what I&#8217;d call in &#8220;the spirit of Dakar.&#8221;</p>
    <p>As for racing, the name of the game here as we click off more and more kilometers, is attrition. We often see flatbed trucks with several wounded motorcycles riding north, large trucks with body parts missing and cars, buggies and SUV trucks damaged, wheels broken and more. By this point I&#8217;m sure more than 30% of those who started this race are no longer competing, perhaps more.</p>
    <p>As of 9pm in Iquique after the 9th stage, only 106 motorcycles of the 185 that started had finished, 16 of the 33 quads and 65 of the 171 cars. On bikes, Despres finished the stage first by nearly 4 minutes ahead of Coma and thereby taking the lead from him.</p>
    <p>Our fellow American team and who helped us with their machine shop, Robby Gordon finished first squeaking a minute and a half ahead of France&#8217;s Stepahne Peterhansel. Peterhansel still leads Robby overall by just under 6 minutes.</p>
    <p>Perhaps the saddest news of the day for Dakar and the Robby Gordon Racing team is that Nassar al-Attiyah, last years Dakar winner, has withdrawn from the race. Yesterday&#8217;s technical problems with wheels and alternator belts, combined with more technical problems today put the Qatar-based Dakar legend too far behind and as such has opted out.</p>
    <p>While sad to see Nassar go, the disturbing news running around the bivouac this evening is that the race officials have disqualified Robby Gordon from the race due to &#8220;observation of technical non-compliance on vehicle No., 303. The details are fuzzy at this point but word on the street is that Robby Gordon&#8217;s special built Hummer uses an automated system for deflation and inflation of its tires. Though I&#8217;m sure this system was fitted in the car at scrutineering and inspection, it&#8217;s unclear what doesn&#8217;t comply. Some have theorized that air from the tires is rerouted to the engine compartment when in deflation and therefore someone might believe this could contribute to increased performance. But that&#8217;s a far fetched theory and even more far fetched if the France officials are thinking on these lines.</p>
    <p>It is odd that no sitting in 2nd place that the French officials have suddenly found compliance issues with Gordon&#8217;s car.</p>
    <p>Gordon has filed an appeal and will still be allowed to continue to race. The final decision on winning order and Gordon&#8217;s issue will be decided after the appellate process is complete this Spring in Paris.</p>
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    Laia Sanz from Spain launches his bike at Dakar 2012
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    Always time to find Dakar action whether the Darkcyd Team is in the race or not.
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    Jean Christophe Menard from France rolls into a checkpoint at Dakar 2012
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7274.jpg' title='IMG_7274' rel="lightbox[2561-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7274.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Brazillian Mimas Mattos on his KTM for Brasil Moto Tours catches my lens" title="IMG_7274" /></a>
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    Brazillian Mimas Mattos on his KTM for Brasil Moto Tours catches my lens
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    Jes Munk from Denmark shows a little air as he crosses the highway near Iquique at Dakar 2012
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    Stephane Peterhansel in his modified Mini for x-Raid shows gusto at Dakar 2012 as he fights to stay ahead of Robby Gordon in the 10th stage of Dakar
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    Stephane Peterhansel powers into the Chilean Desert at Dakar 2012
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    Robby Gordon shows who is boss in his Dakar Hummer on the 10th stage at Dakar 2012 in Chile
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    Spain&#8217;s Nani Roma in his x-Raid Mini powers on to be a contender at Dakar 2012
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7389.jpg' title='IMG_7389' rel="lightbox[2561-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7389.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Nassar Al-Attiyah is plagued with technical problems and bows out of the race after Iquique 10th stage Dakar 2012" title="IMG_7389" /></a>
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    Nassar Al-Attiyah is plagued with technical problems and bows out of the race after Iquique 10th stage Dakar 2012
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7401.jpg' title='IMG_7401' rel="lightbox[2561-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7401.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="On a KTM Bruno Boni of France gives the crowd something to roar about at Dakar 2012" title="IMG_7401" /></a>
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    On a KTM Bruno Boni of France gives the crowd something to roar about at Dakar 2012
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    USA hopeful and ADVrider legend Neduro, Ned Suesse endures his first Dakar at the 2012 Edition
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    Pablo Alejandro Busin of the Netherlands makes his bid for finishing the 2012 Dakar
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    Argentine Lucas Bonetto in his quad racing to the finish at Dakar 2012
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    The ever present showman and racing legend Robby Gordon is hot on the tail of Peterhansel making way for potentially the first US-racer to win a Dakar
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  17. worldrider

    worldrider Adventure & Discovery

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,242
    Location:
    Leucadia, California…heading to Iceland!
    Eureka We've Made It To Arica — Knocking On Peru's Door.
    <p>After two grueling and extremely long stages the racers looked a little road weary as we weaved around the usual line up of vehicles awaiting their launch time. Today Robb opted out of driving the Desert Warrior to Arica in favor of his first true ride in the Magic Mushroom. The Iquique to Arica Stage (10) runs 377km beginning with a scenic sandy beach section and onward to more dunes and the inevitable silty &#8220;fesh-fesh&#8221;. For us on the liaison assistance route, we travel about 350km and this morning we&#8217;ll we&#8217;ve through the beach resort town of Iquique in search of Chile Express so we may retrieve the brake pads shipped from Santiago by our legendary fixer, Cristian.</p>
    <p>After some weaving around the high-rise hotels, condos and wide meandering boardwalk including fitness equipment, sculptures and manicured foliage, for a second perhaps this could&#8217;ve been Hawaii or California, but just a few blocks off the ocean front we&#8217;re reminded once again that this is South America and we&#8217;re still in Chile.</p>
    <p><span class="pullquote3 quotes alignright">After a week of eating canned foot, soggy and sweat cereal bars, greasy chips and more sweet cookies, we began to resent the meals.</span><br />
    We found the Chile Express after some negotiating and luckily found parking in front of its offices. Things couldn&#8217;t go smoother and with a flash of a passport and a signature we had brake pads in hands. Before I could get the key into the ignition, however, I was created by a good looking woman with a tender smiling face and a strange hand held electronic device. Her uniform wasn&#8217;t that of a cop but I soon realized she was parking enforcement. Asking for a handful of pesos, her portable printer spit out my receipt and we were on the way to Arica.</p>
    <p>We climbed out of Iquique and headed east while watching paragliders with amazing precision and finesse float from thousands of feet above to the beaches below. The winding route took us through the Reserva Nacional Pampa del Tamarugal, an arid park known for its rock paintings and petroglyphs from civilizations lost long ago. Amazingly and like an oasis amidst this dry desert, we rolled through the remains of what was once a massive forest of tamarugo, a scrubby but tall plant that once blanked these lands.</p>
    <p>After some time we cross the coastal range and cruise along the beach where the team regrouped for lunch grabbing shade under a bridge and lived our bivouac lifestyle here on the road. That is, each day before heading out on the liaison or on stage, each Dakar bivouac resident is given a bag lunch. For the first few days our team endured, if not enjoyed these lunches, but after a week of eating canned foot, soggy and sweat cereal bars, greasy chips and more sweet cookies, we began to resent the meals. Ben would growl and then howl like a cat, a pointing reference to the notion that we are eating cat food, a practical joke we feel played upon us by the French organization running Dakar. But arguably, it is food and we must sustain.</p>
    <p>It was nearly twilight when we rolled into Arica and as customary during our Dakar cruise, we pulled into a local gas station for refilling. That&#8217;s when the madness and reality of our near rock stardom reared its head again. Hundreds of people crowded the pumps as race cars and support vehicles vied for its daily gulp of diesel. Thrusting papers, flags, photos and more into the cab of the Mushroom, I must have signed two dozen autographs before putting in the clutch and downshifting. One young girl asked me to sign her arm. While the woman gravitated around Robb and I in the front seat, Tara was greeted by a contingent of male fans, some needing the attention of a dentist. She was a bit nervous and hesitant to roll down her window, but other than bad breath and just a huge dose of curiosity, these fans are harmless. &#8220;Foto, foto, please mister, foot.&#8221; I wonder what are they going to do with all these photos. Will we be immortalized on some Chilean&#8217;s Facebook page, never to be tagged? It&#8217;s all good. It&#8217;s the spirit. And we&#8217;re living Dakar.</p>
    <p>Before passing through town and setting up our nightly camp at the bivouac, we decided to try to secure some real food at a local supermarket, Hiper Leader, here in Arica. More like a massive Wal-Mart, Robb spotted a bicycle that only cost about 37,000. &#8220;We need this for the bivouac!&#8221; he declared. He sat on the bike and drove it from the toy section to the panderia—the bakery where we stocked up on bread. I thought Tara was going to blow her cool as her eyes cast disapproval on Robb&#8217;s in-store antics. She whisked away to find more &#8220;cosas&#8221; (things in spanish) to keep things clean, fresh &#8212; including a handful of squishy chewing gum.</p>
    <p>I took the wheel of the bicycle and cruised over to the vegetables and cured meats. Wow! Just a a bit of cheese and wine and I&#8217;m sure the France will be jealous—touché to your cat food!</p>
    <p>The bicycle certainly provided entertainment and made for cruising around the bivouac faster and easier. Why didn&#8217;t we think of this earlier? Oh? Wondering about that 37,000? That&#8217;s pesos. The bike was barely $70 and our plan is to give this to a young child who may have always dreamed of a bike, but could never afford on. The exchange would be made after we arrive in Lima later this week.</p>
    <p>The race action saw Spanish Joan Barreda Bort win his first special stage of the 2012 Dakar by beating Coma and Despres by 1&#8217;32&#8243; and 3&#8217;39&#8243; respectively. But Coma was the star taking 2&#8217;07&#8243; back from Despres and moving within just 21 seconds of the French leader.</p>
    <p>Gordon was doing so well and leading the stage until just before the end he came off the course and damaged his vehicle and losing enough time that Peterhansel flew by, but not fast enough as Nani Roma showed the French just how fast the Spanish can be and whisked to a win over both Gordon and Peterhansel. But for Gordon his unfortunate circumstance cost him lots of time and now after 10 stages here in Arica he dropped the third place with some 20 minutes behind Peterhansel and just 46 seconds behind Roma.</p>
    <p>It&#8217;s here in Arica that everybody in the bivouac must go through a special tent set up for customs, immigration and agricultural inspection for tomorrow&#8217;s crossing into Peru. Based on our experience in coming from Argentina into Chile, I&#8217;ve got to hand it to the Dakar A.S.O. organization for the swift and simple procedure for cleaning customs and taking care of the passport stamping and immigration minutuae — so much easier than I&#8217;ve ever experience in more than 50 overland border crossings. Good job!</p>
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1034.jpg' title='IMG_1034' rel="lightbox[2586-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1034.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Argentine Marcos Patronelli, winner of 2011 Dakar in the Quad category, contemplates this years potential in Arica." title="IMG_1034" /></a>
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    Argentine Marcos Patronelli, winner of 2011 Dakar in the Quad category, contemplates this years potential in Arica.
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1043.jpg' title='IMG_1043' rel="lightbox[2586-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1043.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Tara Rill wonders if it can be that easy, she&#039;s beginning to sour of South America. Just a few more days, Robb keeps telling her." title="IMG_1043" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Tara Rill wonders if it can be that easy, she&#8217;s beginning to sour of South America. Just a few more days, Robb keeps telling her.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1044.jpg' title='IMG_1044' rel="lightbox[2586-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1044.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Here&#039;s your ticket Mr. WorldRider, Allan Karl, no free parking not even in the barrio of Iquique." title="IMG_1044" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Here&#8217;s your ticket Mr. WorldRider, Allan Karl, no free parking not even in the barrio of Iquique.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <p><br style="clear: both" />
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1045.jpg' title='IMG_1045' rel="lightbox[2586-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1045.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Wide beachfront boardwalks and unique roadside attraction make Iquique enduring if not pleasing. iPhone photo through door of Mushroom by Robb Rill." title="IMG_1045" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Wide beachfront boardwalks and unique roadside attraction make Iquique enduring if not pleasing. iPhone photo through door of Mushroom by Robb Rill.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1047.jpg' title='IMG_1047' rel="lightbox[2586-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1047.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Rising above. Sort of. Iquique as we&#039;re leaving and heading east. iPhone photo through dirty window of Magic Mushroom by Robb Rill." title="IMG_1047" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Rising above. Sort of. Iquique as we&#8217;re leaving and heading east. iPhone photo through dirty window of Magic Mushroom by Robb Rill.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1051.jpg' title='IMG_1051' rel="lightbox[2586-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1051.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Paragliders take advantage of Iquique winds -- iPhone photo through dirty window of Magic Mushroom by Robb Rill." title="IMG_1051" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Paragliders take advantage of Iquique winds &#8212; iPhone photo through dirty window of Magic Mushroom by Robb Rill.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <p><br style="clear: both" />
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_2461-Version-2.jpg' title='IMG_2461 - Version 2' rel="lightbox[2586-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_2461-Version-2.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Fans in Arica clammer the door of the Magic Mushroom for autographs, stickers and brushes with the Darkcyd Crew." title="IMG_2461 - Version 2" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Fans in Arica clammer the door of the Magic Mushroom for autographs, stickers and brushes with the Darkcyd Crew.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_2462-Version-2.jpg' title='IMG_2462 - Version 2' rel="lightbox[2586-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_2462-Version-2.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Team photographer and writer, Allan Karl poses for yet another photo with clambering fans." title="IMG_2462 - Version 2" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Team photographer and writer, Allan Karl poses for yet another photo with clambering fans.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5708.jpg' title='IMG_5708' rel="lightbox[2586-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5708.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Cat food? Then how come something got caught in my teeth? Team manager Raff McDougall does his best to enjoy the box lunch at Dakar 2012 edition." title="IMG_5708" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Cat food? Then how come something got caught in my teeth? Team manager Raff McDougall does his best to enjoy the box lunch at Dakar 2012 edition.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <p><br style="clear: both" />
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5709.jpg' title='IMG_5709' rel="lightbox[2586-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5709.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Nah, nah, na-nah, na!!! I brought my own fork and my own cat food -- uh, rather Tunafish in a bag." title="IMG_5709" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Nah, nah, na-nah, na!!! I brought my own fork and my own cat food &#8212; uh, rather Tunafish in a bag.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5715.jpg' title='IMG_5715' rel="lightbox[2586-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5715.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="&quot;I just love these soggy sweet cereal bars in my Dakar bag lunch!&quot; - Robb Rill Driver for Darkcyd Racing" title="IMG_5715" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    &#8220;I just love these soggy sweet cereal bars in my Dakar bag lunch!&#8221; &#8211; Robb Rill Driver for Darkcyd Racing
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5716.jpg' title='IMG_5716' rel="lightbox[2586-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5716.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="&quot;Why do you all so complain!?&quot; Lead tech Bill Young speaks out and comes clean on Dakar box lunches." title="IMG_5716" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    &#8220;Why do you all so complain!?&#8221; Lead tech Bill Young speaks out and comes clean on Dakar box lunches.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <p><br style="clear: both" />
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5769.jpg' title='IMG_5769' rel="lightbox[2586-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5769.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Dakar media helicopter covers the action from high." title="IMG_5769" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Dakar media helicopter covers the action from high.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5800.jpg' title='IMG_5800' rel="lightbox[2586-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5800.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Magic Mushroom and McDougall&#039;s Tranmission Challenged T-5. &quot;Who needs reverse?&quot;" title="IMG_5800" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Magic Mushroom and McDougall&#8217;s Tranmission Challenged T-5. &#8220;Who needs reverse?&#8221;
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7489.jpg' title='IMG_7489' rel="lightbox[2586-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7489.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Ben Slocum behind the wheel of the Desert Warrior as Robb opts for the Magic Mushroom for the ride to Arica" title="IMG_7489" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Ben Slocum behind the wheel of the Desert Warrior as Robb opts for the Magic Mushroom for the ride to Arica
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <p><br style="clear: both" />
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7498.jpg' title='IMG_7498' rel="lightbox[2586-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7498.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Even the liaison track has a little messy Dakar action and water crossings!" title="IMG_7498" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Even the liaison track has a little messy Dakar action and water crossings!
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7539.jpg' title='IMG_7539' rel="lightbox[2586-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7539.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Darkcyd Racing tears up the liaison, making the best of the Dakar 2012 edition as one of few American competitors." title="IMG_7539" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Darkcyd Racing tears up the liaison, making the best of the Dakar 2012 edition as one of few American competitors.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/ned-suisse-Version-2.jpg' title='ned-suisse - Version 2' rel="lightbox[2586-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/ned-suisse-Version-2.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="American and ADVrider legend Neduro passes a competitor on stage near Arica, Chile -- Guisy Concina photo" title="ned-suisse - Version 2" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    American and ADVrider legend Neduro passes a competitor on stage near Arica, Chile &#8212; Guisy Concina photo
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <p><br style="clear: both" />
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/rob-bike-lider2.jpg' title='rob-bike-lider2' rel="lightbox[2586-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/rob-bike-lider2.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Hiper Lider shopping on a bicycle in Arica Chile" title="rob-bike-lider2" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Hiper Lider shopping on a bicycle in Arica Chile
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/rob-bike-lider.jpg' title='rob-bike-lider' rel="lightbox[2586-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/rob-bike-lider.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Hiper Lider shopping on a bicycle in Arica Chile" title="rob-bike-lider" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Hiper Lider shopping on a bicycle in Arica Chile
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <p> <br style='clear: both;' />
    </div>

    <div class="clearboth"></div>

    <div class="edit_link"><a class="post-edit-link" href="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-admin/post.php?post=2586&amp;action=edit" title="Edit Post">Edit</a></div>
    </div><!-- .entry -->
  18. worldrider

    worldrider Adventure & Discovery

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,242
    Location:
    Leucadia, California…heading to Iceland!
    Nail biting Dakar tension marks long wait in Arequipa

    <p>While the liaison or transit route for support vehicles and media was a whopping 400km, the competitors had much longer runs. The motorcyclists had perhaps one of their longest days to date at over 700km, whereas the cars and trucks had 598km and 552km respectively. Due to the length of the stage, A.S.O. set up a special service bivouac enroute just for bikers and quads, not their assistance vehicles. Only the bikers and quad riders could help each other.</p>
    <p>The liaisons for everyone were short: a quick jaunt to Tacna where we were whisked through immigration and customs like I&#8217;d never seen before. If only I had this kinda of speed when traveling around the world on my bike, I&#8217;d perhaps would have been able to log more countries. In Peru the roads are narrower and the cost begins to get more rugged. Steep inclines and twitting corners and switchbacks made for a very long cruise to Arequipa. Chugging trucks and lorries created long lines of assistance vehicles and T-5&#8242;s, each trying to nose into the oncoming lane hoping for a straightaway just long enough to whir by the diesel spewing slugs.</p>
    <p>Relief from the winding and climbing roads was provided by long stretches of straightaways blasting through the desert or along the coast. Our first view of real South American poverty provided a peak at the sobering reality and contrast with million dollar vehicles tearing up the desert while the unfortunate live in brittle shacks of cane and brush, often without roofs and always without running water or electricity.</p>
    <p>Back in the Desert Warrior, Robb soon discovered the winding roads, climbs and descents took its toll on its clutch, at one point losing all resistance and not working at all. The front transfer case has been leaking since we nearly started this journey, something surmised by techs that could be a legacy issue from the accident in Baja and perhaps a slightly tweaked axle. We had to pull over roadside to address strange sounds and the clutch.</p>
    <p>A quick refueling stop in Boca del Oro gave us a hint of what we could expect from the Peruvian fans. The lined the streets, waved flags, whistled and cheered as the cars and trucks rounded the traffic circles. Police in crisp well starched uniforms waved their arms and directed the racers to the correct route and the assistance vehicles to theirs. The rugged coast is marked by scraggily cliffs and volcanic rocks littered along the coastline. The precipitous cliffs, often dropping 300 feet or more into the pounding surf and rocks below made the drive more exciting. There are very few guard rails. After climbing out of another coastal valley we climbed to the summit to be greeted by a warm and dramatic site: the glorious Andes and its snowcapped volcanoes. We hadn&#8217;t seen them since the ride from Fiambala to Copiapó many days ago.</p>
    <p>With the wind whipping and blowing the magic mushroom around we started to descend toward the coast. That&#8217;s when we spotted the bivouac, tucked into a little canyon and in the shadows of two grand volcanoes. We set up camp and waited word on our fellow Canadian teammate ALDO Racing as well as Darren Skilton. Today&#8217;s stage was long and marked by a section of dunes and many kilometers of that nasty silt &#8220;fesh-fesh&#8221;.</p>
    <p>In the Bivouac we were treated to perhaps the best food of the Dakar trail to date. And the Peru hospitality tent treated those fortunate enough o have returned from the tough stage or were in assistance vehicles still awaiting the return of their teammates to a dose of culture and a token gift of a traditional &#8220;chullo&#8221; hat, hand woven of alpaca.</p>
    <p>David and Patrick pulled into the bivouac just after nightfall in the banana colored Desert Warrior—they had been stuck because silt and powdery fesh-fesh had clogged the air filter. But there was no word from Skilton, his co-driver Skyler Gambrell or the whereabouts of his Revolution VI buggy. In their camp set up in the Arequipa bivouac, shared by McMillin Racing Team, who&#8217;d been out of the race since the second stage, tension permeated the group. When they finally got word from Darren, it wasn&#8217;t good news. Roaring through the dunes, they crested a large dune only to find a French press car stuck —with no flag, warning triangle or anything. Skilton lost momentum and then got stuck.</p>
    <p>After several hours and with help from another assistance vehicle, the finally got back on track. But not for long. Soon they were stuck and choked in the silty beds of &#8220;fesh-fesh&#8221;. In the bivouac Robb struggled to no success to get ahold of Paul and our T-4 assistance vehicle which also had not showed up at the bivouac. The moon raised high in the sky, surf pounded on the rocks and beach nearby and after midnight barely half of the vehicles had made it back to the bivouac. And Darren was stuck in the &#8216;crap&#8217;.</p>
    <p>It&#8217;s not uncommon for racers to finally abandon hope and leave their vehicles buried in sand. Cars and motorcycles burn up on stage. And parts fall off vehicles making them impossible to drive back to the bivouac. With only Skilton and Robby Gordon the only hope for an American finish to the 2012 Edition of The Dakar, the mood was melancholy at Skilton&#8217;s camp. AS the hours clicked on, our teams tried to get to sleep. Seems Darren and Skyler would be trying to get their own sleep deep in the desert.</p>
    <p>On stage and in the heat of the night Skyler and Darren replaced the clutch, blew out the air filter of fesh-fesh and finally got back on track. They arrived at the bivouac the next morning just minutes before the last car to leave. With no time to service the vehicle or even take a bathroom break, Skilton entered the bivouac and made a &#8220;U&#8221; turn, submitted his time card to control and headed back out on course.</p>
    <p>The rules in Dakar are clear. You can stay in the race, at risk of time penalty, as long as you show up for the next stage prior to the last car heading out. This is exactly what Darren did. Though he didn&#8217;t begin racing. He made another &#8220;U&#8221; turn and returned to the bivouac where our joint teams worked together to address the mechanical issues that plagued the buggy late last night. Though he lost time and was at risk of penalty, Darren and Skyler hopped back in the buggy and headed out toward Nasca for the 12th stage—without any sleep—or rest.</p>
    <p>That&#8217;s Dakar. More endurance than anything else, we watched them leave, packed up camp and headed out on the coast.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7557.jpg' title='IMG_7557' rel="lightbox[2620-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7557.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="The massive Kamaz trucks are a joy to watch in amazement at Dakar 2012" title="IMG_7557" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    The massive Kamaz trucks are a joy to watch in amazement at Dakar 2012
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7632.jpg' title='IMG_7632' rel="lightbox[2620-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7632.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="The beautiful scenery surrounding the Arequipa bivouac competed with perhaps the best meals we&#039;ve had at a bivouac yet." title="IMG_7632" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    The beautiful scenery surrounding the Arequipa bivouac competed with perhaps the best meals we&#8217;ve had at a bivouac yet.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7621.jpg' title='IMG_7621' rel="lightbox[2620-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7621.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Raff&#039;s T-5 rolls through a dangerous Peruvian zone, we had to cover for it while looking for IEDs." title="IMG_7621" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Raff&#8217;s T-5 rolls through a dangerous Peruvian zone, we had to cover for it while looking for IEDs.
    </dd>
    </dl>
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    <dl class='gallery-item'>
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7617.jpg' title='IMG_7617' rel="lightbox[2620-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7617.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Seriously?" title="IMG_7617" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Seriously?
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7614.jpg' title='IMG_7614' rel="lightbox[2620-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7614.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Raff contemplates the notion he&#039;ll have to pull the transmission out of the Desert Warrior for the third time on this journey — and we&#039;re not even racing." title="IMG_7614" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Raff contemplates the notion he&#8217;ll have to pull the transmission out of the Desert Warrior for the third time on this journey — and we&#8217;re not even racing.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7600.jpg' title='IMG_7600' rel="lightbox[2620-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7600.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Hey, something is leaking here, we better call AAA." title="IMG_7600" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Hey, something is leaking here, we better call AAA.
    </dd>
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    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7592.jpg' title='IMG_7592' rel="lightbox[2620-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7592.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="&quot;Look!&quot; says Raff, &quot;I&#039;m the team manager and if you don&#039;t mind your batteries I&#039;m taking away your walkie talkie.&quot;" title="IMG_7592" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    &#8220;Look!&#8221; says Raff, &#8220;I&#8217;m the team manager and if you don&#8217;t mind your batteries I&#8217;m taking away your walkie talkie.&#8221;
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7598.jpg' title='IMG_7598' rel="lightbox[2620-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7598.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="All the work these guys did to the Desert Warrior and they still forgot to put hinges on for the hood. Roadside repairs that much more time consuming." title="IMG_7598" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    All the work these guys did to the Desert Warrior and they still forgot to put hinges on for the hood. Roadside repairs that much more time consuming.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7591.jpg' title='IMG_7591' rel="lightbox[2620-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7591.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="&quot;Raff, you&#039;re not touching my walkie talkie,&quot; says Robb. &quot;I&#039;ll talk on it just as much as I want!&quot;" title="IMG_7591" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    &#8220;Raff, you&#8217;re not touching my walkie talkie,&#8221; says Robb. &#8220;I&#8217;ll talk on it just as much as I want!&#8221;
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <p><br style="clear: both" />
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7589.jpg' title='IMG_7589' rel="lightbox[2620-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7589.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Even our hired driver David gets in on the action and excitement of Peruvian fans" title="IMG_7589" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Even our hired driver David gets in on the action and excitement of Peruvian fans
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7587.jpg' title='IMG_7587' rel="lightbox[2620-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7587.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Raff sneaks in a nap, frustrated that the team is wasting batteries with nonsense talk on the walkie talkies." title="IMG_7587" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Raff sneaks in a nap, frustrated that the team is wasting batteries with nonsense talk on the walkie talkies.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7586.jpg' title='IMG_7586' rel="lightbox[2620-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7586.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Welcome to Peru" title="IMG_7586" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Welcome to Peru
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <p><br style="clear: both" />
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7584.jpg' title='IMG_7584' rel="lightbox[2620-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7584.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Co-driver Ben Slocum remains quiet and contemplative as we drive north through Peru." title="IMG_7584" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Co-driver Ben Slocum remains quiet and contemplative as we drive north through Peru.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5762.jpg' title='IMG_5762' rel="lightbox[2620-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5762.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Raff takes in some Dakar action from a point above." title="IMG_5762" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Raff takes in some Dakar action from a point above.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5746.jpg' title='IMG_5746' rel="lightbox[2620-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5746.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Captivated by the big trucks." title="IMG_5746" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Captivated by the big trucks.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <p><br style="clear: both" />
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5735.jpg' title='IMG_5735' rel="lightbox[2620-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5735.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Lead tech Bil Young and Tara take in some truck action." title="IMG_5735" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Lead tech Bil Young and Tara take in some truck action.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1085.jpg' title='IMG_1085' rel="lightbox[2620-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1085.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="With only two more bivouacs to go, we feel Tara will soon miss the dust, sand, cafeteria trays and sound of generators and power tools." title="IMG_1085" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    With only two more bivouacs to go, we feel Tara will soon miss the dust, sand, cafeteria trays and sound of generators and power tools.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1082.jpg' title='IMG_1082' rel="lightbox[2620-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1082.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Posing for Peru, Ms. Rill shows she&#039;s comfortable in her bivouac surroundings." title="IMG_1082" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Posing for Peru, Ms. Rill shows she&#8217;s comfortable in her bivouac surroundings.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <p><br style="clear: both" />
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1074.jpg' title='IMG_1074' rel="lightbox[2620-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1074.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Roadside, we stop to check in with David &amp; Patrick from Aldo Racing. The silt has been problematic" title="IMG_1074" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Roadside, we stop to check in with David &#038; Patrick from Aldo Racing. The silt has been problematic
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/winding-roads-Version-2.jpg' title='winding-roads - Version 2' rel="lightbox[2620-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/winding-roads-Version-2.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Allan pilots the Magic Mushroom Ford Ranger pseudo RV around the winding and twitting roads of Southern Peru" title="winding-roads - Version 2" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Allan pilots the Magic Mushroom Ford Ranger pseudo RV around the winding and twitting roads of Southern Peru
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <p> <br style='clear: both;' />
    </div>

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    <p class="post_meta_bottom"><span class="meta_category"> <em>Categories:</em>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/category/dakar-2012/" rel="tag">Dakar 2012</a></span> </p>
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  19. worldrider

    worldrider Adventure & Discovery

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,242
    Location:
    Leucadia, California…heading to Iceland!
    The Mystery of Nasca. The Madness of Dunes.
    <p>It&#8217;s a race to the finish. That is, <strong><em>who</em></strong> will finish.</p>
    <p>With the partial results floating in, the German x-Raid team of Mini Coopers and BMW&#8217;s are still holding strong with Peterhansel&#8217;s nearly 4 minute jump on teammate Coma in Arequipa, the Frenchman sits 22 minutes ahead of his teammate and more than 2 hours ahead of Robby Gordon who has now slipped to 4th place due to problems with his suspension on the 10th stage.</p>
    <p>But the motorcycle battle rages strong here at 2012 Dakar With Cyril Despres winning his 4th stage of this year&#8217;s rally and gaining even more time over Marc Coma. Despres now holds the magic number of 2 minutes and 22 seconds ahead of Coma.</p>
    <p>With Robby Gordon, Darren Skilton and Ned Suesse the only American&#8217;s still competing in the Dakar 2012 Edition, our sights and vibes are set on these teams. Skilton&#8217;s team showed their raggedy and tired edge in the Bivouac in Nasca. They were out all night, had no sleep and had to jump right back into the race this morning. I&#8217;ve wandered the bivouac for days, and while I&#8217;ve seen Suesse on stage, I haven&#8217;t been able to find his camp in the bivouac. While I&#8217;m sure Gordon is upset about his current 5th place showing, and Darren and team are frustrated with the Revolution VI buggy and the problems that have plagued them, they are proving that the race isn&#8217;t always about winning, it&#8217;s about enduring—and finishing—ervery stage along the way.</p>
    <p>But today it&#8217;s all about dunes. The motorcycles get a big of a break after their long stage yesterday, but the cars and trucks will have a total of 657km to run including 245km of special stage — most of this through dunes, some topping over a mile high. Our team and convoy of three vehicles continued our crusade up the coast toward Nasca, famous for the Nasca Lines (sometimes spelled Nazca) a series of ancient geoglyphs stretching for miles in the Desert that shares its name. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, the lines are made up of undress of geometric shapes and dozens of zoomorphic designs of animals including a monkey, llamas, condor and more. Discovered in 1927 by a Peruvian archaeologist, they are best seen from air, though they were discovered when the archaeologist was hiking nearby hills.</p>
    <p>The Dakar Rally won&#8217;t be raging across these mysterious ancient lines, rather they&#8217;ll cruise along the cost and then topping those massive dunes. Since Dakar moved to South America four years ago, there have been nothing like these dunes seen by the competitors. Talking with many of the drivers who&#8217;d competed in both Africa and South America, it was unanimous that these dunes were closest to what the teams face in Africa — if not even bigger.</p>
    <p>The section of massive dunes is continuous for more than 20 kilometers. To negotiate the dunes drivers must carefully perform the &#8220;Mauritanian swerve&#8221; in order to ascend, crest and descent without incident. The &#8220;curve&#8221; requires ascending the dunes at an angle and then navigating into an ever so slight decreasing radius, giving driver and co-driver alike a chance to read the opposite side of the dunes. The whipping winds cause these dunes to change in just a moment, so reading the dunes is the most important aspect to successfully navigating without getting stuck, rolling down them or end-overing a vehicle after cresting the opposite side.</p>
    <p><span class="pullquote3 quotes alignleft">We almost had a four-alarm fire when Tara declared an emergency when she discovered her coveted bag of make-up was missing</span><br />
    The route for Dakar changes every year, but the terrain has been fairly consistent. Those who have raced before are well familiar with Argentina and Chile. But this is Peru&#8217;s debut, and nobody knows what to expect. While cruising along the cost we passed through the tiny town Tanaka where locals have thrown up an ad-hoc sign stating &#8220;Dakar Afraid of Tanaka Dunes.&#8221; I decided to stop to learn more about this strategically placed sign that shared a view of the rugged coast and and endless sea of dunes.</p>
    <p>It&#8217;s possible that A.S.O. considered Tanaka for a dune stage of Dakar, but opted for dunes closer to Nasca. The locals believe that Dakar chose, perhaps, easier and a shorter distance of dues more north. Perhaps feeling stilted or not having the opportunity to host the Dakar competitors, the locals have decided to make a statement. As we gazed out on the dunes, the shapes and windblown geometry reminded me of the Sussevlei dunes in Namibia in southwest Africa.</p>
    <p>A rambunctious group of locals, several who&#8217;d already had a bit too much to drink this afternoon, were happy to see that we stopped, communicated and inquired. The usually cadre of photographs and autographs followed with a constant reminder that &#8220;Dakar is afraid of the Tanaka Dunes.&#8221; Harmless and passionate, we bid our friends farewell and cruised up the coast, all along flaking dunes or one type or another. A few hours south of the Bivouac we regrouped with our entire convoy and shared yet another box lunch of questionable &#8220;cat&#8221; food, chips and more. Peering over the cliff of our lunch spot we noticed a sole shack, a dog and man wandering about. Prime ocean front real-estate we all agreed. But I wondered if raging winter storms wreak havoc on the feeble shack. We waved and cheered and tried to egg the dog to climb the 200 foot cliff to greet us. Didn&#8217;t happen.</p>
    <p>In the bivouac we had a bit of business to take care. First, Tara determined to make the most of the bivouac and to show up all the women who send in photographs to the editor of Glamour Magazine to share just where some women go with their Galmour Magazine. According to Sara, most contributions are lame and hardly interesting. How many women bring Glamour to Dakar? I can say that last week we almost had a four-alarm fire when Tara declared an emergency when she discovered her coveted bag of make-up had gone temporarily missing. It was an emergency and all hands had to focus on recovering the coveted bag. Turns out the bag wasn&#8217;t far at all and this was just a fire drill. But the Glamour Magazine? Always secure and we took advantage of a sunset photo opportunity here in Nasca to capture the essence of Dakar and the contrasting beauty of Glamour.</p>
    <p>While we were shooting, I pulled out a bottle of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc that our Chilean Fixer had left me for just such an occasion. We pulled the team together and celebrated the countdown to Lima and a sweet taste of a grassy Sauv Blanc.</p>
    <p>It&#8217;s true. Just one more day and we&#8217;ll be making tracks to Lima. The crew, it seems, is ready. The race is winding down. Attrition continues to take its toll on more cars, bikes, trucks and quads. We share the road with trailers hauling broken, beaten and battered vehicles. Inside I wonder how many will be back to try again.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
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    <div id='gallery-1' class='gallery galleryid-2646'>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_10511.jpg' title='IMG_1051' rel="lightbox[2646-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_10511.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Skilton is tired, beaten and worn, yet he continues his bid for Dakar 2012" title="IMG_1051" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Skilton is tired, beaten and worn, yet he continues his bid for Dakar 2012
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1055.jpg' title='IMG_1055' rel="lightbox[2646-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1055.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Baja Legend Mark McMillan Knows How To Prepare For Dakar, Not Only Does He Have a Portable Coffee Bar, He&#039;s Sporting Two XL sizes of Peanut Butter — a rare commodity in South America" title="IMG_1055" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Baja Legend Mark McMillan Knows How To Prepare For Dakar, Not Only Does He Have a Portable Coffee Bar, He&#8217;s Sporting Two XL sizes of Peanut Butter — a rare commodity in South America
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1057.jpg' title='IMG_1057' rel="lightbox[2646-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1057.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Skilton&#039;s co-driver Skyler gets tips from 15-year Dakar Veteran Rafael de Barcelona" title="IMG_1057" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Skilton&#8217;s co-driver Skyler gets tips from 15-year Dakar Veteran Rafael de Barcelona
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <p><br style="clear: both" />
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1097.jpg' title='IMG_1097' rel="lightbox[2646-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1097.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Though troubled with technical issues, Skilton endures and aims to finish his second Dakar in so many years." title="IMG_1097" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Though troubled with technical issues, Skilton endures and aims to finish his second Dakar in so many years.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5776.jpg' title='IMG_5776' rel="lightbox[2646-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5776.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Stop Dissing the Cat Food! Robb shows his support for the culinary efforts of Bivouac Cooks." title="IMG_5776" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Stop Dissing the Cat Food! Robb shows his support for the culinary efforts of Bivouac Cooks.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5782.jpg' title='IMG_5782' rel="lightbox[2646-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5782.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="IMG_5782" title="IMG_5782" /></a>
    </dt>
    </dl>
    <p><br style="clear: both" />
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5785.jpg' title='IMG_5785' rel="lightbox[2646-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5785.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="The Dunes Fall Into the Pacific Ocean." title="IMG_5785" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    The Dunes Fall Into the Pacific Ocean.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5789.jpg' title='IMG_5789' rel="lightbox[2646-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5789.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="McMillan Racing Team Zooms By Darkcyd&#039;s Coastal Lunch Stop And Gets A Very Strange Greeting." title="IMG_5789" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    McMillan Racing Team Zooms By Darkcyd&#8217;s Coastal Lunch Stop And Gets A Very Strange Greeting From Co-Driver Slocum and Lead Tech Bill Young.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5801.jpg' title='IMG_5801' rel="lightbox[2646-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5801.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="All Roads Lead To Dunes." title="IMG_5801" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    All Roads Lead To Dakar Dunes.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <p><br style="clear: both" />
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5807.jpg' title='IMG_5807' rel="lightbox[2646-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5807.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Tara Jumps For Joy After Robb Suggests He Won&#039;t Do Dakar in 2013 — Maybe." title="IMG_5807" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Tara Jumps For Joy After Robb Suggests He Won&#8217;t Do Dakar in 2013 — Maybe.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7651.jpg' title='IMG_7651' rel="lightbox[2646-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7651.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Peruvian Fishing Village" title="IMG_7651" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Peruvian Fishing Village
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7655.jpg' title='IMG_7655' rel="lightbox[2646-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7655.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Rolling through small Peruvian Coastal Towns Brings Out The Fans" title="IMG_7655" /></a>
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    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Rolling through small Peruvian Coastal Towns Brings Out The Fans
    </dd>
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    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7682.jpg' title='IMG_7682' rel="lightbox[2646-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7682.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="The Chevy 2500 T-5 Support Vehicle May Have No Reverse, But It&#039;s More Challenged By A Battery Shortage." title="IMG_7682" /></a>
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    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    The Chevy 2500 T-5 Support Vehicle May Have No Reverse, But It&#8217;s More Challenged By A Battery Shortage.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7689.jpg' title='IMG_7689' rel="lightbox[2646-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7689.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Co-driver Ben Slocum still cruising the coast of Peru but wondering what&#039;s next." title="IMG_7689" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Co-driver Ben Slocum still cruising the coast of Peru but wondering what&#8217;s next.
    </dd>
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    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7690.jpg' title='IMG_7690' rel="lightbox[2646-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7690.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="McDougall." title="IMG_7690" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Sergeant McDougall, TDCRR
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <p><br style="clear: both" />
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7704.jpg' title='IMG_7704' rel="lightbox[2646-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7704.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="We&#039;d rather take pictures than eat any more cat food." title="IMG_7704" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    We&#8217;d rather take pictures than eat any more cat food.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7717.jpg' title='IMG_7717' rel="lightbox[2646-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7717.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Team Darkcyd Takes a Coastal Lunch Break." title="IMG_7717" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Team Darkcyd Takes a Coastal Lunch Break.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7723.jpg' title='IMG_7723' rel="lightbox[2646-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7723.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Will Dakar Take A Stab At Tanaka Dunes in 2013?" title="IMG_7723" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Will Dakar Take A Stab At Tanaka Dunes in 2013?
    </dd>
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    <p><br style="clear: both" />
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    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7728.jpg' title='IMG_7728' rel="lightbox[2646-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7728.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="The Tanaka Dunes Dakar Pitch Committee in Full Force." title="IMG_7728" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    The Tanaka Dunes Dakar Pitch Committee in Full Force.
    </dd>
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7729.jpg' title='IMG_7729' rel="lightbox[2646-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7729.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Tanka residents come to greet the Darkcyd Team and its Magic Mushroom Ride." title="IMG_7729" /></a>
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    Tanka residents come to greet the Darkcyd Team and its Magic Mushroom Ride.
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7744.jpg' title='IMG_7744' rel="lightbox[2646-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7744.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Can You Find Glamour in The Dakar Bivouac? You sure can. Beauty, too!" title="IMG_7744" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Can You Find Glamour in The Dakar Bivouac? You sure can. Beauty, too!
    </dd>
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7773.jpg' title='IMG_7773' rel="lightbox[2646-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7773.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="A sunset sip of Chilean Sauv Blanc can&#039;t be bad while hanging in Nasca." title="IMG_7773" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    A sunset sip of Chilean Sauv Blanc can&#8217;t be bad while hanging in Nasca. &#8212; Thanks Cristian!
    </dd>
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    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7785.jpg' title='IMG_7785' rel="lightbox[2646-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7785.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Smiling tech from Rally Raid UK, Yvan is happy there are only a few more days before the madness and mayhem comes to a close." title="IMG_7785" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Smiling tech from Rally Raid UK, Yvan is happy there are only a few more days before the madness and mayhem comes to a close.
    </dd>
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Screen-Shot-2012-01-23-at-10.19.29-AM.jpg' title='Screen Shot 2012-01-23 at 10.19.29 AM' rel="lightbox[2646-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Screen-Shot-2012-01-23-at-10.19.29-AM.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Darren Skilton&#039;s Revolution VI Buggy Is Still In The Race" title="Screen Shot 2012-01-23 at 10.19.29 AM" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Darren Skilton&#8217;s Revolution VI Buggy Is Still In The Race
    </dd>
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Screen-Shot-2012-01-23-at-10.20.55-AM.jpg' title='Screen Shot 2012-01-23 at 10.20.55 AM' rel="lightbox[2646-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Screen-Shot-2012-01-23-at-10.20.55-AM.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="The dunes tower above the bivouac in Nasca, while Darkcyd lead tech Bill Young opts for the culturally incorrect beanie of Ocala rather than the stylish and appealing Chullo hat of Peru." title="Screen Shot 2012-01-23 at 10.20.55 AM" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    The dunes tower above the bivouac in Nasca, while Darkcyd lead tech Bill Young opts for the culturally incorrect beanie of Ocala rather than the stylish and appealing Chullo hat of Peru.
    </dd>
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    <dl class='gallery-item'>
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Screen-Shot-2012-01-23-at-10.28.35-AM-Version-2.jpg' title='Screen Shot 2012-01-23 at 10.28.35 AM - Version 2' rel="lightbox[2646-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Screen-Shot-2012-01-23-at-10.28.35-AM-Version-2.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Testing a new helmet technology for D.O.T. and Snell—the cheerful and always smiling Peruvians make the Dakar experience exceptional" title="Screen Shot 2012-01-23 at 10.28.35 AM - Version 2" /></a>
    </dt>
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    Testing a new helmet technology for D.O.T. and Snell—the cheerful and always smiling Peruvians make the Dakar experience exceptional
    </dd>
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Screen-Shot-2012-01-23-at-10.29.32-AM-Version-2.jpg' title='Screen Shot 2012-01-23 at 10.29.32 AM - Version 2' rel="lightbox[2646-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Screen-Shot-2012-01-23-at-10.29.32-AM-Version-2.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Fun, eager and passionate Peruvian people line the roads and cheer and show their support for Dakar" title="Screen Shot 2012-01-23 at 10.29.32 AM - Version 2" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Fun, eager and passionate Peruvian people line the roads and cheer and show their support for Dakar
    </dd>
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    </div>

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  20. worldrider

    worldrider Adventure & Discovery

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,242
    Location:
    Leucadia, California…heading to Iceland!
    Dakar Dunes Up Close. Bistro Bivouac & Peruvian Rations.
    <p>I&#8217;m sure the last thing Raff and Bill wanted to do last night was to remove the transmission from the Desert Warrior. Sure, if we were still in the race and the clock was ticking, that&#8217;d be the norm. As spectators and assistance and mired in our ongoing challenges—remember, the T-5 Chevy 2500 has transmission problems of its own—but considering this would be the third time clutch issues with the Desert Warrior had to be addressed. Robb wondered if we were still in the race, would the clutch issues have hampered and caused further problems and prevent Darkcyd&#8217;s likely finish. But that&#8217;s just hypothesizing and a waste of mind space.</p>
    <p>Fact is, when the Desert Warrior rests on solid ground in the USA, the clutch, brakes and differential issues will be a high priority. And not because the team is planning another race for the Desert Warrior, but because the techs need to get more comfortable and intimate with the vehicles idiosyncrasies. But for now, the Desert Warrior had to make it to Lima—preferably under its own power and not behind the battery and transmission challenged RAFFmobile Chevy 2500 T-5.</p>
    <p><span class="pullquote3 quotes aligncenter">I combed the passenger compartment of the Desert Warrior and familiarized myself with the safety equipment and nearest exits, but there was no barf bag in the seat pocket. <cite>&ndash; Allan Karl</cite></span>We&#8217;re just one day out of Lima. Today would be my last day to log some miles in the Desert Warrior. Though yesterday too many hours under the beating sun and a case of indigestion spurred by Bistro Bivouac, I was feeling a bit worn, tired and under the weather. The prospect of climbing into the passenger seat of a race car while in the driver seat sits a zealous and anxious and certainly frustrated race-car driver, I wondered how I&#8217;d fare. I combed the passenger compartment of the Desert Warrior and familiarized myself with the safety equipment and nearest exits, but there was no barf bag in the seat pocket. And the pilot had no initial support on how to adjust the five-point racing harness, but it was clear the prior co-driver was quite a bit larger than moi. After some adjusting and support from Raff, Robb and I took off.</p>
    <p>It was the earliest departure time on record for the entire Dakar 2012 for the Darkcyd Racing Team. Why? We were anxious to get to a media/press viewing area so we could see the leaders race deeper on stage than we&#8217;d seen before. With GPS coordinates locked and a working yet still temperamental clutch, we set out about 6o kilometers to the turn off that would take us another 10-12 kms off road and along yet another set of dunes. As we raced through the sand the Desert Warrior competently squirreled and swerved in the sand. We climbed small dune-ettes and after about 20 minutes we spotted the viewing area. As we approached we could see a spewing trail of dust approaching us. It was Robby Gordon. The race had started.</p>
    <p>At barely 8:30am the sun was already unbearable. Dressed in long sleeves and donning a special sun hat, I was loaded with camera gear. I fitted Robb with my spare &#8220;<a title="Use a Buff For everything." href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewVEK-AElDY" target="_blank">Buff</a>&#8221; for sun resistance and we headed out to the dunes to watch Dakar action live and up close in the sand. Rather than explain the adrenalin and excitement from watching the race out in the dunes, check out the photos below for the up close action.</p>
    <p>Due to our early start, we actually made our arrival to the Bivouac the earliest of our adventure. With the sun still high in the sky, and the dining hall not yet open, we were able to enjoy culture, appetizers and a taste of Pisco Sour in the host hospitality tent. Each country hosts a hospitality tent where, if you are early enough, Dakar bivouac dwellers can get a hint of what the host country offers from a culture, tourism and culinary perspective. Like the rest of our team, hough I&#8217;ve been on the road for about two weeks, I&#8217;d never made to a bivouac host tent. After today&#8217;s experience, I wish that I had.</p>
    <p>For the most part, I feel that yesterday&#8217;s sun stroke was compounded by today&#8217;s dune dwelling photo session—rather than complain I just hydrated with liters of water and though I felt my appetite had escaped, the Peruvian stuffed potatoes, pork filled empanadas and rice with milk settled nicely. We were treated to music and dance from the locals and overall I could sprawl out on a somewhat comfy sofa that was sand free and under the shade of a massive tent. Yes, it feels we&#8217;re getting closer to Lima.</p>
    <p>The Peruvian bathrooms in the past bivouacs have been perhaps the cleanest, as well. Several attendants rush to the door once you leave a porta-potty and they clean and sanitize the cozy cubicle before another enters. But unlike other bivouac portable potty boxes, the attendants here were committed to almost a Stalinesque-approach to rationing—toilet paper rationing.</p>
    <p>The first time I retreated to porta-potty central in Arequipa, I opened a half-dozen doors only to find each void of toilet paper. After the fifth or sixth I barely heard this meek voice from across the yard, &#8220;papel? papel?&#8221; It didn&#8217;t register at first, but then it fell on me like thunder. I nodded, &#8220;si, papel, por favor.&#8221; She had a stash of pre-rolled toilet paper sheets, perhaps 10-12, and handed me my thin ration. Geeez, I wondered. I know the dining hall crew can be stingy on the good food nights, but 10 sheets of toilet paper after a dinner at Bistro Bivouac? I grabbed my ration and applied a conservative and sustainable approach to my toilet paper usage.</p>
    <p>Back at camp I quickly learned that I wasn&#8217;t the only person in camp Darkcyd to have been rationed. I guess to gain a little, as the old marketing adage says, you&#8217;ve got to give up something. I know Tara gladly gave up the toilet paper rationing — because she always keeps a secret stash—and always a supply of the legendary <a title="Action Wipes - Because Your Face Isn't A Baby's Butt" href="http://actionwipes.com/" target="_blank">Action Wipes</a> — oversized and all natural towels for keeping clean and when the showers are just a little to scary — her savior and certainly a life savior for the rest of us as we brave the harsh conditions of Dakar the Desert and the Bivouac.</p>
    <p>There are things to learn here in Peru and on the Dakar trail. Toilet paper strategy has been earmarked for future reference.</p>
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_8095.jpg' title='IMG_8095' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_8095.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="David Bensadaun and Patrick Beaule and their Aldo Racing Desert Warrior still strong in the 13th stage Dakar 2012" title="IMG_8095" /></a>
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    David Bensadaun and Patrick Beaule and their Aldo Racing Desert Warrior still strong in the 13th stage Dakar 2012
    </dd>
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    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7788.jpg' title='IMG_7788' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7788.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Darkcyd pilot Robb Rill hanging above the infamous Nasca Lines in Southern Peru." title="IMG_7788" /></a>
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    Darkcyd pilot Robb Rill hanging above the infamous Nasca Lines in Southern Peru.
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5912.jpg' title='IMG_5912' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5912.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Yowza!" title="IMG_5912" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Yowza!
    </dd>
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1116.jpg' title='IMG_1116' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1116.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Getting close to the action is not so easy unless you&#039;ve got a Desert Warrior - Dakar 2012." title="IMG_1116" /></a>
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    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Getting close to the action is not so easy unless you&#8217;ve got a Desert Warrior &#8211; Dakar 2012.
    </dd>
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_8102.jpg' title='IMG_8102' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_8102.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Fellow Canadian neighbors and teammates David Bensadaun and Patrick Beaule show the finesse of the Desert Warrior on Peru&#039;s dunes at Dakar 2012" title="IMG_8102" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Fellow Canadian neighbors and teammates David Bensadaun and Patrick Beaule show the finesse of the Desert Warrior on Peru&#8217;s dunes at Dakar 2012
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
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    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7823.jpg' title='IMG_7823' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7823.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Lucio Alvarez from Argenina crests the dunes in Pisco, Peru during the 13th Stage at Dakar 2012" title="IMG_7823" /></a>
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    Lucio Alvarez from Argenina crests the dunes in Pisco, Peru during the 13th Stage at Dakar 2012
    </dd>
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    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_8152.jpg' title='IMG_8152' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_8152.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Yummy" title="IMG_8152" /></a>
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    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Yummy
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    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5834.jpg' title='IMG_5834' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5834.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="South African Giniel De Villiers launches off the dunes on the 13th stage at Dakar 2012" title="IMG_5834" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    South African Giniel De Villiers launches off the dunes on the 13th stage at Dakar 2012
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_78231.jpg' title='IMG_7823' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_78231.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Lucio Alvarez from Argenina crests the dunes in Pisco, Peru during the 13th Stage at Dakar 2012" title="IMG_7823" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Lucio Alvarez from Argenina crests the dunes in Pisco, Peru during the 13th Stage at Dakar 2012
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <p><br style="clear: both" />
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_8143.jpg' title='IMG_8143' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_8143.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Cultural performance include music, dance and tasty treats at Dakar 2012 in Pisco" title="IMG_8143" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Cultural performance include music, dance and tasty treats at Dakar 2012 in Pisco
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5954.jpg' title='IMG_5954' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5954.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Dune, but not done nor forgotten" title="IMG_5954" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Dune, but not done nor forgotten
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_8108.jpg' title='IMG_8108' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_8108.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Fellow Canadian neighbors and teammates David Bensadaun and Patrick Beaule overtake a big truck at Dakar 2012" title="IMG_8108" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Fellow Canadian neighbors and teammates David Bensadaun and Patrick Beaule overtake a big truck at Dakar 2012
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <p><br style="clear: both" />
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5977.jpg' title='IMG_5977' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5977.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Aussie&#039;s Geoff Oldholm and Jon Aston in another rendition of the Desert Warrior are holding strong at Dakar 2012" title="IMG_5977" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Aussie&#8217;s Geoff Oldholm and Jon Aston in another rendition of the Desert Warrior are holding strong at Dakar 2012
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_8061.jpg' title='IMG_8061' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_8061.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Frenchman Bernard Errondonea glides his SMG buggy across the dunes outside Nasca in Dakar 2012" title="IMG_8061" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Frenchman Bernard Errondonea glides his SMG buggy across the dunes outside Nasca in Dakar 2012
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5921.jpg' title='IMG_5921' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5921.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Ever wonder what the undercarriage of an Iveco truck looks like?" title="IMG_5921" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Ever wonder what the undercarriage of an Iveco truck looks like?
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <p><br style="clear: both" />
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1143.jpg' title='IMG_1143' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1143.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Bill Young happy to enjoy host country Peru&#039;s entertainment and treats at Pisco for Dakar 2012" title="IMG_1143" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Bill Young happy to enjoy host country Peru&#8217;s entertainment and treats at Pisco for Dakar 2012
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5910.jpg' title='IMG_5910' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5910.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Dragging their way through the Dunes near Nasca, big trucks place their bets on strength and power — not finesse." title="IMG_5910" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Dragging their way through the Dunes near Nasca, big trucks place their bets on strength and power — not finesse.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7863.jpg' title='IMG_7863' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7863.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Dakar Leader Stephane Peterhansel pounds the dunes at the 13th Stage in Dakar 2012" title="IMG_7863" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Dakar Leader Stephane Peterhansel pounds the dunes at the 13th Stage in Dakar 2012
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <p><br style="clear: both" />
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_58341.jpg' title='IMG_5834' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_58341.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="South African Giniel De Villiers launches off the dunes on the 13th stage at Dakar 2012" title="IMG_5834" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    South African Giniel De Villiers launches off the dunes on the 13th stage at Dakar 2012
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7879.jpg' title='Stephane Peterhansel blazes through the dunes at 2012 Dakar near Pisco, Peru.' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7879.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Stephane Peterhansel blazes through the dunes at 2012 Dakar near Pisco, Peru." title="Stephane Peterhansel blazes through the dunes at 2012 Dakar near Pisco, Peru." /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Stephane Peterhansel blazes through the dunes at 2012 Dakar near Pisco, Peru.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7933.jpg' title='IMG_7933' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7933.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Top Netherlands truck team scream up the dunes on the 13th stage outside Pisco Peru at Dakar 2012" title="IMG_7933" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Top Netherlands truck team scream up the dunes on the 13th stage outside Pisco Peru at Dakar 2012
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <p><br style="clear: both" />
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/action-wipe-dakar.png' title='action-wipe-dakar' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/action-wipe-dakar.png" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Without Action Wipes, we might&#039;ve lost Tara somewhere in Argentina!" title="action-wipe-dakar" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Without Action Wipes, we might&#8217;ve lost Tara somewhere in Argentina!
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7811.jpg' title='IMG_7811' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7811.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Nani Roma powers his X-Raid Mini through the dunes on the 13th stage of Dakar 2012" title="IMG_7811" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Nani Roma powers his X-Raid Mini through the dunes on the 13th stage of Dakar 2012
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_8056.jpg' title='IMG_8056' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_8056.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Duncan Vos from South Africa hopes his co-driver doesn&#039;t get him lost in the dunes on the 13th stage at Dakar 2012" title="IMG_8056" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Duncan Vos from South Africa hopes his co-driver doesn&#8217;t get him lost in the dunes on the 13th stage at Dakar 2012
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <p><br style="clear: both" />
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7910.jpg' title='IMG_7910' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7910.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Russion Leonid Novitskiy plows his X-Raid Mini through the dune section at the 13th Stage at Dakar 2012" title="IMG_7910" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Russion Leonid Novitskiy plows his X-Raid Mini through the dune section at the 13th Stage at Dakar 2012
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5851.jpg' title='IMG_5851' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5851.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="The dunes are captivating, seductive and unforgiving. Ask anyone at Dakar 2012 in Peru" title="IMG_5851" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    The dunes are captivating, seductive and unforgiving. Ask anyone at Dakar 2012 in Peru
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5864.jpg' title='IMG_5864' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_5864.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Peruvian Fans proudly wave their colors as the catch Dakar 2012 Action" title="IMG_5864" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Peruvian Fans proudly wave their colors as the catch Dakar 2012 Action
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <p><br style="clear: both" />
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_6014.jpg' title='IMG_6014' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_6014.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Robb rill sports his stylish Buff and protects his head from the menacing sun of Peru&#039;s desert." title="IMG_6014" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Robb rill sports his stylish Buff and protects his head from the menacing sun of Peru&#8217;s desert.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_8140.jpg' title='IMG_8140' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_8140.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Hospitality tent for host country Peru in Pisco at Dakar 2012" title="IMG_8140" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Hospitality tent for host country Peru in Pisco at Dakar 2012
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_8077.jpg' title='American Darren Skilton gets lost in the dunes at Dakar 2012.' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_8077.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="American Darren Skilton gets lost in the dunes at Dakar 2012." title="American Darren Skilton gets lost in the dunes at Dakar 2012." /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    American Darren Skilton gets lost in the dunes at Dakar 2012.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <p><br style="clear: both" />
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_8050.jpg' title='IMG_8050' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_8050.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Mark Corbett from South Africa holds his own with just one stage to go at Dakar 2012." title="IMG_8050" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Mark Corbett from South Africa holds his own with just one stage to go at Dakar 2012.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_8148.jpg' title='IMG_8148' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_8148.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Cultural performance include music, dance and tasty treats at Dakar 2012 in Pisco" title="IMG_8148" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Cultural performance include music, dance and tasty treats at Dakar 2012 in Pisco
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_6028.jpg' title='Tim Coronel tackles Dakar 2012 in his McRae buggy solo - wihtout co-driver.' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_6028.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Tim Coronel tackles Dakar 2012 in his McRae buggy solo - wihtout co-driver." title="Tim Coronel tackles Dakar 2012 in his McRae buggy solo - wihtout co-driver." /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Tim Coronel tackles Dakar 2012 in his McRae buggy solo &#8211; wihtout co-driver.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <p><br style="clear: both" />
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7996.jpg' title='IMG_7996' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_7996.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Kryzystof Holowczyc, the legendary Polish racer creates a sandstorm in the dunes at 2012 Dakar." title="IMG_7996" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Kryzystof Holowczyc, the legendary Polish racer creates a sandstorm in the dunes at 2012 Dakar.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1144.jpg' title='IMG_1144' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1144.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="&quot;WorldRider&quot; Allan Karl recovers from another sun drenched day at the Peru Hospitality tent in Pisco at Dakar 2012" title="IMG_1144" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    &#8220;WorldRider&#8221; Allan Karl recovers from another sun drenched day at the Peru Hospitality tent in Pisco at Dakar 2012
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_8127.jpg' title='IMG_8127' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_8127.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Robb Rill isn&#039;t afraid of getting close to the massive trucks." title="IMG_8127" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Robb Rill isn&#8217;t afraid of getting close to the massive trucks.
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <p><br style="clear: both" />
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_78111.jpg' title='IMG_7811' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_78111.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Nani Roma powers his X-Raid Mini through the dunes on the 13th stage of Dakar 2012" title="IMG_7811" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Nani Roma powers his X-Raid Mini through the dunes on the 13th stage of Dakar 2012
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <dl class='gallery-item'>
    <dt class='gallery-icon'>
    <a href='http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1131.jpg' title='IMG_1131' rel="lightbox[2690-1]"><img width="" height="" src="http://www.darkcydrallyracing.com/rally-team-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IMG_1131.jpg" class="attachment-thumbnail" alt="Darkcyd photographer and press agent Allan Karl struts the dunes hoping to catch the action (or the sand) in his teeth. - Photo by Robb Rill.h" title="IMG_1131" /></a>
    </dt>
    <dd class='gallery-caption'>
    Darkcyd photographer and press agent Allan Karl struts the dunes hoping to catch the action (or the sand) in his teeth. &#8211; Photo by Robb Rill.h
    </dd>
    </dl>
    <p> <br style='clear: both;' />
    </div>

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