Originally Posted by ktmmitch
I think you are right on with those comments,ASO are a business,they run other major sporting events such as Tour de France,and with that event,each town bids to pay the highest,then ASO arrange to start or finish there each day,it very much a franchise.
There are many riders here in Europe who go on the smaller rallies in North Africa,such as Tuareg,Race Africa,Heroes Legend purely for the fact that they do not stay in separate areas,but have 1 bivouac,where all eat & sleep together,and share the comaradary of all other competitors,bike,quad,car,truck,and mix with the organisers.
Yes,the sleeping arrangements can be "interesting",food "variable" and toilet/washing facilities "sparse",but from my own experiences,the friendships formed from these amateur events,where you are mixing with like-minded individuals,is probably more than you would expect to get from larger events.
They appeal to the original TS Dakar philosophy of getting out there and trying to do something out of your comfort zone,both as a rider and culturally.When you arrive in some of these North African countries,it can be a shock,but it is best to respect their beliefs and attitudes,it is their land,but enjoy the freedom of the areas you travel through,ride within your abilities,because you generally have to fix any damage yourself,without the luxury of back-up,and there is nothing better than riding with a group of friends with the same outlook.
I, for one,hope that the smaller rallies and raids in North Africa continue,because getting the experience of riding in these remote areas will become more difficult as the years progress.