Originally Posted by Jim Rowley
Questions for HogWild: Riders have to navigate themselves, cars have a navigator, who did the navigating on the sidecar, pilot or monkey? Did they do away with the sidecar class altogether? Thanks.
Yes, ASO eliminated the sidecar class. That's probably because none were entering the event since 2006. My guess is if a group of sidecars asked to enter, ASO might put the class back in.
I love the nav part, so I do it (as driver), in Dakar, and in my roadbook rides, though the sidecar has been parked for almost 3 years now.
Depending on my passenger, they would sometimes navigate as well. Duane, my Dakar passenger, didn't navigate much. When Joe Hauler rode with me, he's also a navigation nut, so he was always telling me what to do (yell in my ear). He always liked to look way ahead in the roadbook, so he was constantly telling me to roll the roadbook forward (I had the switch control).
I suppose having me drive and navigate probably slowed us down a bit, but it's a big part of the enjoyment for me, so it's worth the tradeoff.
When you have two people, I think the most important part is to do whatever works best as a team. In a car, it's clearly best to have the navigator do the navigating (unless he's really bad). The car navigator has no control of the car, so there's little for him to do but navigate. On the other hand, controlling an off-road sidecar requires a lot of action (leaning and other movement) by the passenger. So he's got to watch the terrain just as much as the driver. And since he doesn't know exactly what line the driver will take, he has to be extra vigilant to quickly react to what the driver is doing. As the driver, I can let off on the throttle when I need to look at the roadbook. The passenger never knows what the throttle or handlebars are going to do, so he may have less opportunity to look at the roadbook.
In the Baja 1000 the course is marked, burned in, and there is no roadbook. But there are lots of places where there are multiple "lines" through the terrain. When I raced there, I "navigated" most of the time, even though 100% of it was new terrain to me, and all 3 of my passengers had prerun (I did not prerun). Only Joe Hauler had much to say about where I should go. He knows all that stuff like the back of his hand, so he knew where the "good" lines were. When he suggested a line, I took it about 75% of the time. Other times “his” line didn’t look like a good sidecar line to me, or it was too late to get there, so I went the other way. This created a lot of friction between us, which just about boiled over. At one point I had to stop, shut off the engine, and have a bit of a talk. We came to a mutual agreement where I gave in to one of his requests, and he gave in to one of mine. This was a situation where a change in team dynamics was needed in order to get to the finish. For car navigator Andy Grider in last year’s Dakar, the outcome was different. He bailed, I think over a safety issue. Having two people together can be tough. Having both in control of the machine, as on a sidecar, requires a whole other level of cooperation!