Originally Posted by JMo (& piglet)
Mego - I know exactly where you are coming from, which is why I rode the Heroes-Legend last year... however, I also think that, like me now, most of the FIM riders have already ridden the original Africa Route - some of them 5 or 6 times now, and are looking for a new [terrain and culture] challenge?
That is not to say that Africa is no longer the #1 destination for this sort of uber-distance rally... but the logistics of what the Dakar Rally has become, favors South America at the moment - it may be cynical, but such a big-budget event requires some sort of financial return for all the millions the teams invest, and if the South American market can support that, that is where it goes...
If I were going to spend over €12,000 just to enter the rally (never mind the associated licence, transport, assistance and spares costs) I'd want to make sure as many cameras were pointing at me as possible, if only to help with getting sponsorship? I believe there were over 300 people involved with media and communication on the Dakar Rally this year...
Personally I think for Africa Race to ever succeed, it has to become more like the Tuareg Rally (ie. affordable for mere mortals, and not affiliated with the FIM which has so many associated costs for competitors)... If not, then once ASO decide to return to Africa, I really think it will be the death-nell for Hubert's dream?
90% of your things are right. You are right.
But... let 10% be "the heart calling" from Africa.
Remember that riding a Dakar you will have ZERO minuts video, apart for your personal video, booking in advance, payed in advance (500€...) which consist in 12 minuts in within 3 (maybe...) are of you, with the start podium, Dakar podium (if...) and some on the bike...
But I know. Me too, first of all, I love "Dakar Rally".
Even if Pharaons is an "italian rally" (and I rode it 3 times)
Even if riding AR I reach Dakar.
Maybe the true is I'm only sorry about Sahara is still not free like in 1987, when I reach for the first time Tamanrasset by bike and I meet Dakar bivouac. Such a bomb in my head!
Long Life Dakar (and long life Africa Race of course), but please, do not jump on the Moon, next edition!