I chased the last four stages of the Dakar this year with a friend of mine. I live here in Peru and did it on my 800 but a friend of mine rented from these guys
and thought it was fantastic.
We did not follow any tours, we just did our own thing and checked into hotels where we could find.
The experience was totally awesome. We were able to see and ride with the guys on the liaisons, and I even have a few video interviews with Ned, Chris Birch and other that I still need to upload and post.
Chatting to Ned on the Stage 12 mid-stage refuel
Fixing a flat tyre somewhere in the Atacama
Cheering Geniel de Villiers on his South African Toyota (3rd overall on the Cars)
Frans Verhoeven at the finish of Stage 15 special
Chatting to Curtis and Birch at the start of Stage 12
We saw amazing racing scenes, even a couple of crashes.
On the last day we rode into Lima with the finisher giving the an escort of honor, what an experience!
1 - Do it on a bike: You can pass shit loads of slow traffic and go offroad to better viewing points (a must).
2 - Plan each day carefully: the stages are long, and finding where the guys are racing is not easy outside the official viewing points.
3 - Official viewing points are great, but you will have to share them with 10-50,000 people. I'm not joking. Best to be avoided.
4 - Prepare yourself for a LOT of riding, all day. It gets very, VERY tiring and can become a Dakar within a Dakar if you follow every day.
5 - Make sure you are self sufficient. Some towns had zero hotel accommodation, everything is fully booked. You may end up camping. Each year there are more and more big bikes following the Dakar. We saw at least 100 other bikers everyday.