From Patricia, #150, Luis Belaustegui's wife! Thanks for the update! - Sandi
Life on the Dakar is a permanent challenge for Luis Belaustegui. The Argentinean biker started the Dakar for the third time with the smallest engine in the field: a KTM 150cc. Although his adventure came to a halt during the 13th stage last year, he has not yet seen the finishing ceremony. His road to Santiago has again been full of pitfalls this year. Already penalised by a top speed that is much lower than the speeds reached by the 450cc bikes, he is especially exposed to greater mechanical fragility on the more demanding stages of the rally. To reach Cordoba, at the end of this edition's longest stage, the University Professor from Missouri in the USA had to call upon all his resources: “I'm exhausted,” he sighed on finishing in last place on the special, 19 hours after having left the bivouac in Tucuman! “Everything went well on the first part of the special, but after that, I jammed my engine. I spent between 5 and 6 hours repairing it. Seeing as I'm not a skilled mechanic, I took everything to bits and cleaned it, before putting it back together. And the bike worked. I was completely improvising, but in any case, my life is made up of improvisations”. Relieved at having passed this test with success, Luis is not at all reassured for the rest of the rally: “I've already changed the engine twice and I don't have a spare one. I don't know if it will go the distance. I'll have to talk with my mechanic to see if he can find me a solution, but I think he's going to hate me”. Between Cordoba and La Rioja, the machine withstood the test and Luis was able to “defend” his last place in the general standings. However, the dunes of Fiambala will not be kind to his little machine…
Nate in N.E.
Yes, I have a Dakar problem -- that there are 50 weeks of the year without Dakar!
They don't expect you to finish. That's why it's the Dakar. -- PPiA