Just a quick reply, by way of addressing the "mean" aspects of the DLW & DDU events and dispell the notion that we were overly "sadistic" to the participants.
Here in Sweden, we have quite a good number of one and two day "navigational rally/roadbook trial" events, that are conducted using the routesheet/rally type format of navigation, very similar to that used in most rallies/Dakar etc. (Okay, so there is no possibility for "off piste" type stages, where the GPS is the primary navigation aid through open dunes etc. - the only way to replicate that for us IS to travel down to Tunisia or Marocco - and that's where you will have a real asset with your program from the base in Pahrump for sure).
What we find, is that most
of the participants (here in Sweden) are already pretty much at home with getting their heads around the basic navigation and the principle of riding from written information - not a marked course - as one does in enduros or offroad/desert type events. Which (from my expereince - both at home in Oz and even in the state's - where this type of event is not so common) is one of the first big "things" that riders who have never been exposed to "navigational" discipline can have a bit of trouble grasping.
In that respect, we perhaps have a little shorter start up period with the whole; "okay... this is how a routsheet looks and this is how a tripmeter works... and this is how you use the two together..."
scheme of things.
What we did want to achieve however, is convey the importance of preparation (for both the known, the forseeable, and even the slightly unforseeable things that can crop up in a rally scenario). Secondly the necessity for good time/resource management and thirdly to give them an inkling of the determination and sometimes sheer will power that is required to see the thing to the end.
Of course on a rally like Dakar - as you well know Jimmy - many of these things become self evident, by day five, six or seven etc. But we did not have that luxury (of time) in our four day program, so it was neccessary to "orchestrate" some conditions/situations in order to attain the right "stress/hardship" scenario in the short time we had available. Indeed one of the things we wanted to see was how "mentally prepared" the participants were to meet such a challenge and how they worked both individually and in a team situation (as they would compete - ultimately - as on of a four rider team).
So if some of the "drills" seemed almost "military" in nature, it was not of sheer coincidence.
But as far as the "fun factor" was concerned, that was still very much a part of the whole deal, and when asked at the finish line of the four days, if they would like to turn around and do it all again... all but one of the challengers (12 of them) said they would jump at the chance.
I am sure whatever and whenever the program you put together Jimmy, that it will be a worthwhile excercise for all involved. We look on, with regards the developments of this one with great interest...