Saturday January 5th, 2013 marks the start of this year’s edition of the Dakar Rally. I look forward to this event every year as it generally comes along when winter snows are preventing me from riding. This years route covers more than 8000 kilometers (nearly 5000 miles) over two weeks through three countries (Peru, Argentina, Chile). Three time Dakar champion Marc Coma is sitting out this year due to a shoulder injury. Coma’s spot on the KTM team will be taken by AMA National Hare and Hound Champion Kurt Caselli who will be making his Dakar debut.
A quick history: The Dakar originated in 1978 and until 2007 took place in Europe from Paris, France to Dakar, Senegal (the race was formerly known as Paris-Dakar). Threats to the race and competitors lead to a cancellation of the 2008 event. In 2009 the race was moved to South America where it has remained ever since. The Dakar is an off-road adventure/endurance race that features desert and mountain riding as well as water crossings, freezing cold and blazing sun. Amateurs as well as professionals compete in motorcycle, quad, car and truck divisions over new terrain each day covering upwards of 500 miles a day over the two week race totaling 8000 kilometers or nearly 5000 miles.
Check out this video showing highlights from the 2012 event: