Originally Posted by tHEtREV
OK, point taken...
, don't feel chastized in any way (I know you don't) all the points you raise are valid... and I think that very often, you are only expressing an opinion that many others may hold as well, just that they couldn't be arsed expressing it.
There are very few absolutes in this worlds, just different perspectives on the same topic.
I personally don't think you'll ever see the DAKAR run again like it was in the late 80's and through 90's... anywhere
in the world. The funny thing is that many people (probably 80% of the ADV rider culture) have been led or fooled into the notion that the Dakar is STILL the romantic Thierry Sabine inspired adventuresome challenge that it was back in the day... and it's not
, and (probably) won't be ever again... The world is getting smaller and even IN the abandonned arse ends of the globe today, you just can't race across them carte blanche like back then... political correctnes, government restrictions, the media and not the least of which, courtesy to the folk that live in these regions, simply won't allow it any more.
As challenging and awesome as the UAE/Oman "concept" that Aussie66
put forward a few posts above sounds (and I agree idea-wise, that Mo Bin Sulyem and co. in Dubai would/could easily make it happen),
but once again - in the eyes of the "African purists" - it is akin to running the event on a postage stamp (geographically speaking).
Part of the romanticism and attraction (marketing/PR wise) of DAKAR, is that it is an event that spans distances, that "goes" somewhere from point A to point B... "start location to finish destination" is a big part of what the trademark has come to represent (even though it no longer has Dakar as the destination).
I am not convinced that "looping around in the desert" - no matter how challenging a course could be set... will capture the imagination of the sponsors/public like; "Paris - Dakar", "Paris - Capetown", Dakar - Cairo", "Lisbon - Dakar", "Argentina - Chilé, "Peru - Bolivia - Chilé" etc.
actually drew my attention to another thread - This
- from three years ago, that touched on the same topic (as seems happens fairly often... there have been plenty of similar discussions before).
Now a lot has happened since then the Sth American Dakar has proven to be a huge success and many of the opinions expressed in that
thread used analogy's and arguments comparing the Dakar to the way the African DAKAR used
to be conducted... and not the way things are on the ground in Sth America today
The 600 km "stage" longditudinal distances referred to of "Africa" haven't existed in the South American editions of El Dakaro (if you look at the course maps and stage break ups) since 2009 either.
As far as my comment that the DAKAR could be conducted in Australia goes...
Yeah, it is true; the Australasian Safari rally has two - or even three selective stages a day... to accumulate 400 to 500 km's for each leg total.
But it has been very rare at the Dakar (over the last four years); that they have conducted unbroken 600 km stages either (as in Africa in past). It's just that ASO "solve" the problem of the "transport/liason" gap in the middle of a selective, by implementing a GPS speed controlled "nuetralized zone"*, instead of running the stage as two seperate SS.
*Like the one Marc Coma played games in during the 2011 Dakar.
The only reason the Australasian Safari runs the "multi stage per day" format is that, without
a GPS/Irritrack system in place (which is an organisational expense, ultimately borne by the competior) with which to monitor the competitors progress/speed through the "nutralized zone", the traditional control book in/time card system of a conventional transport road section is the least expensive/simplest way to connect the Special Stages of the event, when the route has to traverse through "public zones, roads, towns" etc.
Most of the South American selectives since 2009 have been far more "loop like" in character, in order to achieve the competitive distances required, than that of the traditional "point to point" type courses that were once commonplace of the African Dakars.
But those days are gone... Authorities will not permit racing on open roads or through/past/close by populated areas... so the images of years gone by, with bikes, cars and trucks racing through African villages and townships, is today become a thing of the 1980's/90's Dakar folklore.
Implement the same GPS/Irritracking controls for a DAKAR planned across Australia (a financial consideration not considered necessary for the Oz Safari, which runs soley by roadbook)
and sure... you could run a DAKAR (similar to the Stm American el Dakaro format) in Australia without any great drama.
600 to 700 km legs are not impossible in Australia... in the days when the event was run in the western parts of NSW and Qld, South Australia and Northern territory, there were often days of this length that feature up to 450 even 500 km of competition stages. 15 day event...? No problem, in 1988 the event ran 15 days frome Alice Springs - Darwin - Sydney (look at the map... it's only about half
of the continent). In 1997 the event ran 15 days from Cairns - Ayers Rock - Gold Coast.
It's just a matter of setting it out... The vast tracts of land that Western Australia alone
provide, are more than enough to conduct a DAKAR in (an area larger than western Europe). Although the OZ Safari has in recent years only used relatively small portion of the overall canvass that Western Australia presents, the various courses and bivouac locations (2009 to 2012) if linked up in a 15 day format... would make an epic course.
Regarding off piste/sand dune GPS navigation stages and the tracts of land needed to do these - like they have in Dakar...
No... it is unlikely that you would get permission run a selective stage straight over the Victorian, Great sandy, or Simpson deserts (as once was the case in Africa, cutting a swathe straigh across vast tracts of the Sahara), because many of these places are heritage areas or national park.
But "perception" is a funny thing when it comes to sofa occupying fan base watching the Dakar on TV at home. If you look at the maps, many of the Dakar stages since 2009 have been "contrived" to include the desired terrain features/required distance. ie: they "loop" around... not point to point courses. The area of Fiambala where the "killer" high altitude stage has conducted these last few years, is about 25 by 50 kilometers in size, and they loop around in there (GPS waypoints and CP's) to get the distance up. I've got family, friends and relatives sitting on cattle stations in the Northern territory covered with spinifex and dunes that are anywhere from three to five times the size of that...
The "ERG Chebbi" that everyone raves about (was part of two stages of the recent Rallye Maroc)... it is really just a desert sandpit sitting on a flat stony plain, the Erg itself is only about 5 km's wide or so, at it's broadest point and just 25 klicks top to bottom... but the way they set the course and film the footage... it gives the impression that the competitors set out across the Grand Erg Oriental towards Mauritania and oblivion.
Give me a GPS and a week to poke around on some of the big cattle stations on the fringe of the Simpson or Great Sandy Desert, and I'll present you a GPS/CAP nav off piste stage that's every bit as demanding as what the DAKAR can put up. It's just that for 25 years, the Oz safari has run as a roadbook only event, and has not needed to include the "off piste" alternative, that the terrain of the sahara dictates is necessary. But if you must have GPS/CAP nav stages as part of the itinerary... it could be done in Australia. THe land is there, the politics is no problem, logistics...? Hell they pack the Paris-Dakar onto a boat in LeHavre and ship it off to Sth America for the last four years... how hard is it?
As a matter of economics, it seems that many cross country rally events have evolved by "down scaling"... racing around on postage stamped pieces of cross country terrain (most of the FIA/FIM CCR events today are in the same boat). So far - DAKAR - is still the only true "point to point marathon" event left in existence (Master Rallye, Paris Moscow Beijing, etc. all have vanished), and even then, the DAKAR has "evolved" in the last 10 years from what it once was.
With the opportunities that South America provides to ASO/DAKAR, I too find it hard to think that they would consider moving from there at the moment... unless someone else was waving a very lucrative an suitable alternative under their noses. Brazil is one (of a few) as yet unvisited countries for the DAKAR to utilize. With Rio being awarded the 2016 Olympics, there is obviously potential marketing milage to be had there (how good would a start or finish ceremony in Rio be...?!
For these reasons alone it seems that DAKAR would have potential to explore in Sth America for at least another two, to three... even four years?
Where is it headed, if it IS headed somewhere else... dunno? They tell me China is a growing, almost self sustaining expansive market... with heaps of barren wasteland to rally across...
Maybe Etienne has sized up a wooly Mongol headpiece as the Tuareg's headware in the future...?