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Old 10-04-2011, 07:37 AM   #1051
Deadly99
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There are only six Canadians to ever have finished a Dakar Rally in its 29-year history: Lawrence Hacking (2001), Guy Giroux (2002), Eric Dubeau (2002), Shawn Price (2003) and Bob Bergman (2005), Patrick Trahan (2011)

Interviews with Lawrence Hacking and Guy Giroux
Bob making it look easy.
Photo: Maindru Photo

You know it’s easy to watch a half hour of TV coverage as people ride their bikes up and over sand dunes, in and out of camelgrass and at high speed over dry lake beds, and think what a blast it all must be. I did anyway, until I read the diaries of 2005 competitor Bob Bergman and was aghast at just how much preparation and utter commitment was required just to finish the thing.
When I finally put down his diaries I picked up my list of “things to do before I die” and promptly removed the Dakar. But that’s just me. Thankfully there are people of far greater determination and resilience out there than I, some of whom have actually done the Dakar.
CMG caught up with two of such Canadians at the Toronto Motorcycle Show; Lawrence Hacking and Guy Giroux and got the low down of what makes someone do such a thing as the Dakar. Oh, and if you want to know just what it’s like on a day in day out basis, then you should also check out Bob Bergman’s diaries which we published on CMG last year.
Lawrence Hacking

Lawrence started riding bikes back in his teens, first with motocross events and then enduros. In 1985 he entered and completed his first International Six Day Enduro (ISDE) going on to finish it four more times. A job with Yamaha Europe meant that he got to see the Rally des Pharaons and his interest in rallies was set.
In 2000 he decided to try to be the first Canadian to complete the Paris-Dakar rally. Nine months later – Jan 2001 – at the age of 46 and without any official factory support he was in Paris on a Honda XR650 …
PERSEVERANCE

My goal for the Dakar was to get through technical inspection, get into Africa and then just get to the rest day. I figured if I could get to the rest day I could finish. From past experience I knew that once you get past the halfway point you get stronger, your body adapts and you get more comfortable with everything.
Photo: Maindru Photo

Everything was going very well and so on the second day in Africa I was thinking, “Shoot, I can win this thing, I’ve got it in the bag! I’ll just pass all these guys … Why are they going so slowly?” And then I hit a big rock in the dust and bent the front wheel (he had to cut the lugs off the side of the tire to clear the fork and complete the remaining 500 kms in that shape until he got to base and swapped wheels).
The Dakar is the race that you can calculate the risk out of the least, but then it’s not about luck either; I don’t really believe in luck. There’s a good story about the golfer Arnold Palmer; a guy approached him and said, “Wow you made a great shot, you must be really lucky.” Arnold’s response to that was “Yes, the more I practice, the luckier I get!”
HIGHS AND LOWS

Check for drop-offs before launching over dunes!
Photo: Maindru Photo

The camelgrass was by far the toughest. There had been a lot of rainfall in the desert and the camelgrass root system retains the water, so the camelgrass becomes like a series of solid pylons throughout the desert … but not spaced quite far enough apart to make a straight line. When these big bikes are full of fuel they don’t want to turn that much, they just want to go straight.
The sand dunes are fun though. You know, you’re there to have fun and the sensation of riding sand is incredible! It’s like surfing; one key rule – never ever ride over something you can’t see because it could be 30 meters straight down, so you always put your front wheel over and have a look before going. Many people make a big mistake by not checking and just hoping for the best. You can’t – not in the Dakar, every meter can put you out of the rally.
You can also make some big serious mistakes in the dunes if you bury the bike and you’re all alone. I hit some soft spots, flopped over and fell in the sand – in 35-37 degree heat – and quickly figured I couldn’t do that more than three or four times each day or I’d be in trouble. So I was very careful – it’s much better to slow down and pick better lines.
LIFE AFTER DAKAR

What to do after the Dakar? Beijing – Ulaanbataar of course.

I think that if you concentrate on things very intensely your mind gets better and better at concentrating. People warned me that when I got back home I’d feel like I’d have nothing to do, because you get so used to focusing with spoon-bending concentrating for 10 hours a day, and once back home you’re back to shoveling snow – it’s like your world is spinning around you.
The Dakar is all a test of who you are, to your ultimate ability, and it’s hard to describe what you go through during that race; we can tell you all about it but until you live that whole experience it’s pretty much impossible to convey it in its entirety.
It boils down to the sensation of riding motorcycles across that type of terrain. It’s really, really incredible – that’s what sold me on the event, seeing those guys on TV flying down the desert in total freedom, just the sensation of doing that – it’s the essence of motorcycling.
Guy Giroux

Guy started riding bikes at the very early age of five, taking part in his first race at the tender age of thirteen. Since then he has dominated the world of dirt in his home province of Quebec, becoming the provincial off-road champion no less than 13 times.
But his racing career spans far beyond La Belle Province, with three championships in the national off-road series and two top tens in the Pro Canadian MX. Oh and throw in a Bronze and Gold medal from the ISDE as well.
FOCUSED AND SMART

My goal was to finish, to make it to the end of that race. I had been training on a KTM but the first time I even saw the bike that I would use for the Dakar – a KTM 660 – was at the registration the day before the start!
Guy tackling the dunes.
Photo: Maindru Photo

Right from the start I really paced myself as I knew I had to save my bike and my body if I was going to finish. I started off never going over 120 kph, and I didn’t make any mistakes. If you keep going 120 smart, instead of going 160 and making a mistake, you might actually make it to the end. But as the days went by and I started to get the hang of things, I was going faster and faster.
On day eight, we got lost because we had to go up a hill, and at the top the GPSs were pointing everywhere. Then I saw Jordi Arcarons, rider #3 (the low rider number signifying more experience) go to the other side; I watched him thought ah, he’s fucked if he goes that way, and I kept going on my route. He made the right choice though – if I had turned with him I would have got a top 5 finish that day. After that I learned that if someone had any number under five to follow him!
DISTRACTIONS

Three days from the end I was doing a TV interview with a crew in a helicopter while I was riding – using a microphone in my helmet. They had taken an interest in me because I was the fastest rising guy from the pack and wanted to ask me how the rally was going.

Then, as soon as the live interview ended and the helicopter was flying away, I hit a soft spot and the bars started to flap – I went straight over them and landed on my head! The interviewers must have still been able to hear me in their headphones as my grunting from the crash brought the helicopter right back.
I got up and started looking for my bike and found it 50 feet back. All I could think about was my bike, and when the interviewers came back to ask what was happening I said, “Now I’m going to Dakar to the finish – I don’t give a shit, shut that mic down I don’t want to talk to you anymore!”
That crash left me with a dislocated vertebra and some sleepless nights from the pain. But also with the realization of how much of a mental thing the Dakar is – your ride is really so much in your head.

Patrick Trahan






This year there is only Lawrence hacking attempting the Dakar, in a sweet custom car


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Old 10-04-2011, 09:32 AM   #1052
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Good stuff Deadly

The link in there to Bergman's Diaries doesn't appear to be valid anymore. Anybody have a link to a copy that is still good?
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Old 10-04-2011, 09:55 AM   #1053
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here ya go:

http://www.pete2dakar.com/bob-bergmans-dakar//

fascinating read
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:15 AM   #1054
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Carlo de Gavardo

Correction: Carlo de Gavardo, a brilhant driver (now racing trucks in rallyes) is from Chile, not Brazil...
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:41 AM   #1055
Deadly99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drc42 View Post
Good stuff Deadly

The link in there to Bergman's Diaries doesn't appear to be valid anymore. Anybody have a link to a copy that is still good?
I know its trucks and not bikes but this is an awesome read on Lawrence Hacking's truck build and show how much work goes into one of these vechicles.

http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?4199351

After reading it imagine showing up in 2010 and dnf'ing after stage one due to mechanical issues...then not having the resources to go back in 2011.......I imagine he is pretty darned determined for this upcoming Dakar

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Old 10-04-2011, 03:36 PM   #1056
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thanks Deadly for that, I still hate you

ps I need to talk to you about tents one day soon
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Old 10-04-2011, 09:56 PM   #1057
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Im looking for a riding partner to chase the last 4 legs of the Dakar. If you can get to Peru/Bolivia I can help whoever organise a bike (either by buying or renting 650-800-990 maybe) then we do it.

My plan is currently as follows: To ride my 800GS to Uyuni in Southern Bolivia late Nov, I happen to be managing a mine out that way so I will be leaving the bike there over Christmas. Around the 5th January, I plan to fly to La Paz, and then connect through to Uyuni.

Alternatively I can blast down the Pan American with "AN Other" down to Arica on or around the 5th; but it will be more fun doing our own mini Dakar from Uyuni across this...........



BTW this is on the progam for Dakar 2013....


and then through this..........



Before dropping down into the Atacama Desert to meet the Dakar boys slaving on their own journey north through the desert back to Lima.

The plan is then to get up early (04h30) and blast through on a combination of dirt and hard top to stay with and slightly ahead of the mass of vehicles following the Dakar route. The stages in Peru will be MIND BLOWING, I ride here and believe me its going to be awesome to watch.

Anyway just to stay with the Dakar I will need to riding around 600-900km/day so it is going to be quite trip in its own right. The trip from Uyuni I plan to start on or about the 10th Jan. Interested? Well before you put your hand up, consider the options (in Arequipa, Lima or La Paz):

1) Rent a bike - Not easy to do at all, because bikes are not really availible, but obviously the preferrable route.

2) Buy a bike and resell it afterwards - You will need about USD10K in cash if you want something decent, but I will hopefully find some bikes for a bit less. Whatever is needed is going to have to have some grunt to do this kind of trip though.

Then its just a matter of discussing whether we should blast down the highway for three days or meet up somewhere like at Uyuni. To do that from Peru I reckon you will need another 4-5days from Lima, 3 days from Arequipa, or 1 long day from La Paz. If you are able to make it to Bolivia, I will cover all your food & accommodation costs there, and you could shack up with us in Lima as well for a day or two.

Should be a trip to talk to your grandkids about. If you're still interested, PM me please.
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:31 PM   #1058
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you would say that wouldn't you?
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Old 10-05-2011, 12:43 AM   #1059
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Lovely read and great archive information on this page! The party is near!

Bluebull I would love to hook up and ride the final leg but I fear it will be impossible to provide proper aid to Orfanos if I ride 700km a day. Plus I will have to recharge stuff on the way so the bike is a no go for me. If everything goes well and I do make all the proper arrangements keep in mind that I will be able to carry some stuff for you as well if you need, mainly beer, which is notoriously hard to carry on a bike (there is a thread in here somewhere)...

Which brings me to my preparation update, which is NADA. I have been very busy at work and haven't had any time to make any contacts or arrangements. I repeat in here that if any inmates or anyone you know wants to share costs and resources to follow this Dakar independently of the official crowd I'm all open to suggestions.

Shit just 87 days...
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Old 10-05-2011, 02:01 AM   #1060
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Originally Posted by troy safari carpente View Post
1992 – Hat trick for HEDERICSSouth African prizefighter (Jeremy) DAVIES knocked out in round four after early battle for the lead.
Swedish challenger (Olle) OHLSSON taken out by the Cagiva heavyweight CRASHINGHAME late in round 7…
after entire field decimated by desert survival epic.






What's with that XTZ660? Who was the rider? Standings?

There must be some work inside that tank, I can't see any air refreshing the radiator.

Never seen that tank or tanks before. Looks like plastic, not aluminium?
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Old 10-05-2011, 07:06 AM   #1061
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What's with that XTZ660? Who was the rider? Standings?

There must be some work inside that tank, I can't see any air refreshing the radiator.

Never seen that tank or tanks before. Looks like plastic, not aluminium?
These bikes were factory pre-production (test evaluation) versions
of what was to become the YAMAHA XTZ 660 production version (released in 1993?)

The riders in the 1991 Computerland Australian Safari were Hideaki Suzuki #3;
a multi-time safari competitor and factory rider from Japan and Kalus Mueller of Australia.
Both finished somewhere in the top 20... outside the top 5 if I am not misstaken.




In 1992 YAMAHA came back with two other riders - Jeremy Davies of South Africa (past Roof of Africa Rally winner)
and Australian Safari/Yamaha Aust. frontrunner - Mac Haigh (his bike is the #2 machine pictured here).
Jeremy retired (crash) the morning of day four while engaged in a four way battle for the lead...
Mac had retired the afternoon prior with some electrical fault... once remedied he then loaded fellow safari competitor Andrew Norris
(blown up Husqvarna TE 610) on the back, and they rode the 400 odd kilometers from Birdsville back home to Mac's rural sheep station
in South Western Queensland.



The tanks were hand fabricated in aluminium, as were the sumpguards and water tank... the fairing was plastic/fiberglass of some desciption and bore similar resemblance to the eventual production version. The rest of the bike was pre-production/standard Yamaha componentry.

As I recall Jeremy and Mac said they were heavy and had inadequate suspension... something about being "like a lame dog"... but the were free (sposored ride ).
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Old 10-05-2011, 10:05 AM   #1062
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That's a good story. Thank you

The bike was actually released in 1991 (At least in Europe). Then in 1994 a restyling.

In 1992 YMF"Sonauto also did a Marathon version with 37ltrs double aluminium tanks.


And around 1994 a XTZ660 R, also from YMF. This raced '95, '96 and '97 Dakar



And the more known '92 660 BYRD from Italy. One of the riders was Fabrizio Meoni. This bike had 63ltr tanks


Even Ohlins's first 2WD was a XTZ660.


Peterhansel also raced baja with a moded 660 without the front fairing.






But the most important, Ewan and Charley went training to AUS with two of these bikes (Ewan's guffaw alert!)
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Old 10-05-2011, 10:42 PM   #1063
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XTZ 660's in Oz Safari... years ago

Quote:
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That's a good story. Thank you

The bike was actually released in 1991 (At least in Europe). Then in 1994 a restyling.



And around 1994 a XTZ660 R, also from YMF/Sonauto.



But the most important, Ewan and Charley went training to AUS with two of these bikes (Ewan's guffaw alert!)



We also saw a couple of the YMF/Sonauto XTZ 660's on the Australian Safari...
in 1993 father and son team Daniel and Eric Pescheur of France,
rode a pair of Sonauto prepared Yamaha XTZ 660 R

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Old 10-06-2011, 06:35 PM   #1064
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nice video clip, makes me want to go for a ride
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Old 10-10-2011, 10:18 AM   #1065
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im in love! with a truck... weird...

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