Tuareg Rally Day 1 (Saturday March 9th 2013) summary - #332 Ollie Lloyd - OWL Racing
The Rally organisation had warned the competitors to expect very soft sand dunes on this first day, and Ollie certainly found himself ‘in at the deep end’ - after getting trapped in a 6-foot deep sand bowl for an hour and a half!
“I started well, although there wasn’t really a lot of space with all the competitors starting at the same time. The first 7km [dune field] was fine, and I loved the open ground afterwards where I could make up some time. "But the second set of dunes were very soft - and they really caught me out... I ended up in a sand ‘bowl’ about six feet deep, and the bottom was the same width as the bike - there was no way out! "I dug for over an hour with my hands, and eventually used my rally jacket as a sand-ladder under the wheels... it is still out there somewhere, buried under about four feet of sand!”
Fortunately Ollie had the forethought to check the pockets before sacrificing his jacket and removed his [essential] time-card prior to disrobing. Once free of the sand trap, he was then able to navigate as far as check point 3 (of 5) on the stage.
“To be honest it had taken me so long and I was now exhausted. I considered that at least I had made it that far and not damaged myself or the bike, so I elected to take the assistance route back to the finish and accept a time penalty - particularly as I’d been advised that the softest dunes were still to come.”
“This is my first desert bike race and I’m here to gain experience and learn how a rally works. I’d got stuck a few more times after that sand bowl, and I learnt a lot about how to get the bike out of the sand more quickly, but all my energy had been used up by then.”
Ollie was certainly not the only rider to get bitten pretty hard by the soft Tunisian dunes - with many other riders suffering similar mishaps and exhaustion throughout the day. His forethought and focus on the whole event and not just a single stage result means he is able to recover and start the second day with renewed enthusiasm.
Stage result: not available at this time
Overall position: not available at this time
#332 Ollie Lloyd in the dunes at sunset after scrutineering on Friday: