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DeeGee 03-31-2012 09:56 AM

So Who's Actually Been To Watch The Dakar?
I am seriously thinking of going to watch the Dakar next year. Thinking of shipping the bike and follow the rally from start to finish.

I'd like to know from anyone who's been as a spectator. How accessible is it? Is it worth paying all the coin to go and see it?

It's something I would dearly love to do, but I don't think I could ever afford it so the next best thing would be to go and see it.

Can anyone tell me what it's like?

Thanks DG

joneswgareth 03-31-2012 10:59 AM

With you all the way Gav :freaky

DeeGee 03-31-2012 02:02 PM


Originally Posted by joneswgareth (Post 18347651)
With you all the way Gav :freaky

Amen brother! :freaky

wrk2surf 03-31-2012 02:52 PM

I have no affiliation but I know rawhyde guys followed.. some funny vids floating around

they run skills classes and offer rides around the US so they will have the english part down.

Myself, IF I could follow (and not race) I would buy a good used dual sport in the large town where it starts and sell it for pennys on the dollar at the finish town's local moto shop riding solo the first week... Im sure you would hook up with someone along the way and not be stuck with a group of people you dont want to be around. good luck and give us a story next winter to read!

Vicks 03-31-2012 11:45 PM

I'm IN !!!
I've been thinking of doing this since last few years but never got around to do it.

My plan is to ship my 990 to SA and then follow the rally entirely. I say lets plan up and do it in 2013 !!!

who else wants to do this. Its the next best thing to actually riding in the Dakar (which i don't have the means to - monetary, physically & mentally :lol3)


HogWild 04-01-2012 08:52 AM


Originally Posted by DeeGee (Post 18347366)
I am seriously thinking of going to watch the Dakar next year

There are several threads on this subject from past years. Tons of good advice in those threads.

I did it with a couple of guys the first year in South America. We rented bikes. It was super fun! But unless you have very solid connections with someone in the race, you won't get access to the bivouac, which is where all the visible action is. And you won't have much time to watch actual racing because you yourself will be racing down the highway most of the day to keep up. And since the course is secret, it's often difficult to even find a decent place to watch the race. If you can pull off a trip like this, it's worth it! But don't under estimate the difficulties and challenges. It's not at all like a normal sightseeing trip!


Originally Posted by wrk2surf (Post 18348813)
Myself, IF I could follow (and not race) I would buy a good used dual sport in the large town where it starts and sell it for pennys on the dollar at the finish town's local moto shop

Be careful with that. If you don't have all kinds of proper vehicle paperwork when you cross boarders, you won't be crossing boarders! If the finish isn't in the same country as the start, it might be near impossible to sell a vehicle in a different country that where you bought it.

AirborneAndy 04-01-2012 10:25 AM

I was a spectator in 2011 but I didnt follow the whole race. I went to the bivouac site for the rest day and setup camp a day before the racers arrived. Then we got up early the day they were to arrive and went out to the end of the special (actual racing) section. It was challenging just to find out where to go. Anyway here's a link to the thread.


Originally Posted by HogWild (Post 18353517)
... unless you have very solid connections with someone in the race, you won't get access to the bivouac, which is where all the visible action is...

I actually got in to the bivouac site at the mid race rest day in 2011. I got there while they were still setting things up and just rode right in. I should have setup camp and stayed. Another guy got in when the racers were arriving he just rode in with one of the racers. But, later when everything was setup, I tried to get back in and was turned away. I said that I wanted to visit the U.S. rider Jonah Street. They said I could have earlier in the day but it was too late.

DeeGee 04-02-2012 11:10 AM

Cheers for the replies guys :thumb

Looks like we could have a plan Mr. Jones & Vicks :wink:

Vicks 04-02-2012 09:26 PM


Originally Posted by DeeGee (Post 18361992)
Cheers for the replies guys :thumb

Looks like we could have a plan Mr. Jones & Vicks :wink:

Should i start working on a oil tank relocation + larger radiator for my 990 now ? :lol3 :lol3

Stagehand 04-06-2012 08:30 AM

I was a spectator in Africa in 2006. Only watched two days of it... To follow it around takes almost as much travel as the guys in the race, thats for sure. And finding out where to watch from is challenging as well.
Sure is cool, though :D

Manolito 04-06-2012 09:16 AM

I saw stage 1 of the 2012 Dakar, and i saw many rider chasing it.

(Pics taken that day)

biggles0449 04-06-2012 09:39 AM

Alternative way to do it...
Hi guys, I looked into this last year, when Toby and Jago were racing.. Jago has his 6x6 expedition truck on the continent and we were looking at selling seats onboard to chase the Dakar.. excellent trip and a good price, but it kept cropping up about access to bivouacs and actually seeing the racing..everything was on a wing and a prayer in this respect..if you were lucky, then you could blag it, otherwise, you would be looking through the fences!

I was very surprised by how reasonable the costs of the official ASO hospitality tours were....which guarantee bivouac access amongst other things.

Perhaps a good option for a real trip of a lifetime chasing the Dakar, would be to buy/hire a vehicle in the first country, and chase yourself, then at the first border, drop the vehicle and do a couple of the ASO organised trips, this way you would see it from all angles, get tired and dirty chasing it.. get the access to bivouacs, buggies to vantage points in the latter stages and the chance of helicopter trips etc..

Not to mention all the cool swag you would get!

Just my thoughts... but this is the way I would consider chasing, to avoid all the headache of border crossings with local vehicles or buying/selling down there. A few friends have chased on bikes, and one of them is married to Patsy Quick... noone better to schmooze some bivouac passes, and even they found it a struggle! ASO are no fools and with the popularity of the race in SA then its always going to be tough getting access.

Good luck and id love to see how you choose to do it in the end

Deadly99 04-06-2012 10:20 AM

Those ASO tours of the bivouac look disappointing. You walk as a group on a tour through camp. Didn't look like fun.

Last year there were some press vehicles selling seats in their trucks, also entitles you to sleep in the bivouac. Ya you don't get to see the racing much but being in camp everyday is very cool :nod

Chasing the race on a bike looked like fun but again you likely will not see much actual racing as you'll be pounding miles just trying to keep up. If it were me (and th thought has crossed my mind :wink: ) I would chase on a Bike, skip every second day, enjoy the riding (as it looks awesome), camp in the desert along side the track every second day so you can watch every competitor go by. 7 days of watching the racers go by, camping beside the track each night. Some fun getting off the roads to find cool camp spots with a view. With a bit of planning it could be a very cool trip, not cheap but very cool :thumb

Renting a bike...not sure about border crossing and the reliability of rental bikes. Shipping a bike $$$ but seems like the way to go.

Yes I have given this some serious thought :nod
Shout me a pm if you get to the point where you become serious about going :thumb

DaZbrah 04-06-2012 08:54 PM

Shipped my 12GS down from Los Angeles for the 2011 follow till rest day 7 in Northern Chile and then rode back. Hooked up with a privateer from Wales and his support team. Was way cool the Dakar gets in your blood, cried everyday that I watched this year on TV/Internet. You can find the specials and see the off road stuff on line the day before.

All the cops and people know the viewing spots but you need to speak Spanish!

True the Bivies at night are the spot to be and are impossible to get in with out passes. But the towns and regular folks are partying every night that the race is in town. You ride into town and people surround your bike put the kids on for a photo and generally believe your someone cool from the Dakar:-)

Personally had more fun hanging with the babes in town than the mechanics at the Bivies:freaky

There are tons of support groups you can pay/sponsor a bit to hang with. The other way is 20k with lame butt tours.

biggles0449 04-06-2012 11:24 PM

Hahah ok so I guess ASO tours might not be a good option then :rofl

Plenty of other ways to do things, liking the idea of every other day hook ups and partying with the babes in town...much more to my taste!

Ride, party and then pay a media car for a couple of days access throughout.. sounds spot on. Or you could just enter the rally as a "mechanic" but we all know that unless youre very useful and know the right people, then it's $$$$ for one of those seats!

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