Earlier this year, I got to race the Tuareg Rally in Tunisia (along with a whole big bunch of other ADV’ers). It’s been a few years since I did (OK, since I finished) a ride report. Since the big show is bringing out the F5force in, well, force, I figured now would be a good time for a rally race report that you can hopefully enjoy in place of snooker. I hope they’ll add their stories in here, too… here is mine.
I want to start by going all the way back to the beginning. Years and years ago, I saw Dakar on TV, and saw a helicopter shot of the lead bikes beating their way over a dune and into camel grass. The helicopter lifted up and the shot pulled back to reveal a seemingly endless future of the most desolate yet exhilarating desert a country boy from the Northeast could imagine. I was hooked. At the time, it never occurred to me that I could go there, the idea seemed unachievable.
Over time, I went through the painful process of realizing that the obstacles preventing me from racing Dakar were not real, except in the only place that matters- in my head. I pulled the blinders back from my dream of Dakar, and when it moved to South America, I adjusted my dream accordingly.
I loved the race, but at some level it didn’t scratch the Africa itch. Africa, as anyone who has been there will tell you, is different. There is no desert on earth like the Sahara, there is no desolation that compares, and no madness like the culture that surrounds it. I got a flavor for this before going to Dakar, with a ride in Morocco and then a navigation rally in Morocco and Western Sahara, but those experiences only made the itch worse.
So when DaveRMS called and said there was space in the container for the Tuareg Rally in Tunisia, I realized it was a chance to go and do something I had always wanted to. Those opportunities don’t come along every day, and I decided to go. My dad passed away pretty young, and that taught me there isn't always another year, we can't wait for it to be convenient, we have to settle for possible. Racing in Africa was possible. So I was going.