Originally Posted by Deadly99
I am of two minds about this...
I hear ya Ned, just not sure what a solution would be without making things totally ridiculous for the privateers.
Yes, agree. There's also the point that the more technical the terrain gets, the bigger the difference in time between the top pros and the back of the field.
To me, what would be ideal is adding ~2 hours to many special stages thru the event for the top riders. This will add something like ~4 hours for many midpackers, however, I would hope there is a corresponding shortening of liaison, so that the time into bivouac isn't changed by as much as the stage is lengthened. I think this would also change strategy for the top riders to some extent, by not allowing them to push themselves or their machines quite as hard because of the additional ~20-30 hours of racing over 2 weeks.
But it can't happen, not without starting before dawn while respecting French dinner hour. They are already trying to maximize that gap and doing a pretty good job of it.
Originally Posted by ian408
Is this a good or bad thing? It does mean there is interest in the Dakar and that has to be a good thing, yah?
As you say, it cuts both ways. The attention is a good thing, just the time zone issue means the days have to finish early, which I view as a shame.
Someone pointed out a few pages back that the quality of the field has been improving, and the quality of the bikes as well. Those are both good points to keep in mind when looking at attrition, 30% was for on-average less competitive riders on some real POS bikes.
I think its easy to sit in a chair at home and say "the event has gotten easy". It really hasn't. It's still a very long way to travel, with a very great number of risks and challenges along the way.