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Old 12-05-2010, 06:34 PM   #1
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Desmond McDonald Memorial Thread

Hi friends,

Some of you have already read the news over in the Tecate Enduro thread...

Sadly, our good friend and teammate, Desmond McDonald, passed away this weekend. Phil, Russell, and I were with Des in Baja this weekend, racing the 50th anniversary Tecate Enduro on Des' invitation. What a gift to be there with you, Des. Thank you!

It appears that he suffered a heart attack early in the first transfer section, on an easy part of the course. Nothing at this time indicates anything other than coincidence with the race.

I'd like to use this thread as a place to celebrate our dear friend Des. Please post your memories and photos.


DaveRMS screwed with this post 12-15-2010 at 01:56 PM Reason: Added service info to first post.
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Old 12-05-2010, 06:55 PM   #2
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I'm sorry that I never had the pleasure of knowing Desmond. From all accounts, he was a great person and true lover of the sport, going way out of his way to help and support other riders.

Rest In Peace Desboon.

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Old 12-05-2010, 06:59 PM   #3
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RIP Desmond McDonald
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Old 12-05-2010, 07:00 PM   #4
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I first met Des in 2007 at Rally Training. After 3 years of rally training, riding with Des and crew 2-3 times a year, BicyclePhil and I were ready for the big leagues, and we asked Des to be our Team Manager. Des jumped into this role with both feet, despite the fact that we could only promise a laughable VW Kombi for his ride. Des even took Portuguese lessons before the rally.

Basically, it was just a favor. We didn't pay him. He did it because he was our friend, and because he loved the sport.

The rally was a great experience--one of the most significant experiences of my life. And Des was such a big part of it. I appreciate getting to know him closely and feel very lucky to have done so.

Des with Team Wild West before the Rally Dos Sertões 2010.

Des with Phil and I in the VIP finishers area.

Des, ever positive, performing the multiple-times-daily-unload-the-Kombi-and-check-coolant routine.

Des, celebrating one of my finishes with a typical "you're so rad!". I appreciate that often-spoken lie more than he'll ever know.

We'll miss you, Des.

DaveRMS screwed with this post 12-05-2010 at 07:32 PM
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Old 12-05-2010, 09:18 PM   #5
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My first real interaction with Des was way up in the dunes at Dumont, with my 950 buried to the exhausts and me sweating like a stuck pig from digging. Des made the same navigational error I did and thus happened to drop into the same bowl I was in, recognized my predicament, and immediately came over to push. Then as always, he was calm, full of humor, and helpful to a fault.

We shared a number of epic days in the years to follow, so when I ran into Des Friday afternoon in Tecate, it was a great surprise. I followed he and the guys over to the Hacienda for dinner, and as ever, they were full of good cheer. Des loved to be around people, especially motorcycle people, and wherever he went the good times followed.

Des was on Row 8 with GSNorcal, Bicycle Phil, and LKN4DRT. I was on Row 17. Before my race started, I watched them take off, Des on a borrowed GG EC300 which he looked at ease on. I followed 9 minutes later, and about 4 miles into the course, in a slow but not technical section (weaving between brush and cactus, basically smooth trail), I saw someone lying on the ground with 3 guys gathered around him. I recognized Des, asked what the situation was, and they said help was coming, they were going to get his helmet off and see what they could do to revive him.

I made the split second decision to keep going. It seemed like things were under control, and given that I'm not a trained first responder, I thought I didn't have anything to add. As Robb said, the spot was in a liason, not a special test, and there was no dust, no ruts, nothing overtly risky where he was. I struggled to push the situation out of my mind and focus on the race, which was among the best I've ever participated in, with perfect conditions and fantastic trail.

After the 2nd loop, GSNorcal and I heard the reality of the situation from the organizer. We briefly considered quitting, but decided that would do nothing to honor Des. It was a tough final loop.

Des was fascinated by riding and racing and motorcycles, and more than that, went way above and beyond to help others who shared his passion. He was fascinated and excited by the rides we shared, and always had a calm, positive way about him that was welcome no matter what. And he usually packed a bottle of wine to share, always better stuff than I deserve to drink, but he loved to give people the chance to try something special.

I'll miss you, Des. I hope they have even better vintages and even nicer trails up there in the great bivouac in the sky.
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Old 12-05-2010, 09:37 PM   #6
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Sorry to read you folks lost a good and fun friend. RIP Des McDonald.
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Old 12-05-2010, 09:44 PM   #7
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I am certainly glad I got to meet Des Friday before the enduro. After breaking the news to Phil after the second loop, Phil was good enough to share his thoughts with me about Des and all the wonderful experiences they had as a group during Does Sertoes. I sounds like Des was a great friend and selfless in his commitment to help his team complete the rally.

While too young to leave us, I can't think of a better way to make an exit, riding an epic event with my good friends on a perfect Tecate Mexico day.

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Old 12-05-2010, 09:53 PM   #8
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Not sure I have anything to add... Des was a blast, he loved to ride, and would do anything to help a brother out.

He was also the founding member of the "I Hate Robb" club, which was brewed up by him and Niles at some very late hour, somewhere dirty, during one night of the Dakar a few years back. Luckily, I'm not easily offended.
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Old 12-05-2010, 10:30 PM   #9
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Just got a text:
"Des is no mas"

Godspeed Desmond. Condolences to his brother and wife. They are going thru something horrible right now. A prayer for them to be strong. I hope Ancianos are helping out.

Des reached out to me a few years ago. I failed him, something ive come to understand, and to regret. He stayed with it and learned more and went on to use his hard earned knowledge to help others achieve their dreams. Many of us owe him.

On day four of the '07 Dakar Rally Desmond Buenaventura Mc Donald held it together when the unthinkable happened: the sat phone rang with news of a death on the course, the deceased's brother/mechanic sitting in the backseat. Desmond hadnt slept in 2 days at that point. He conveyed the sad news, and they drove another 300 miles to the morgue. Keeping it together he showed what he was fundamentally made of.

I know for Des it was a Buenaventura.
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Old 12-05-2010, 11:11 PM   #10
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Oh God.
Thank you Dave for starting this thread.

I met Des and the Rally PanAm crew back in '08 at the Central Europe Rally, where he jumped in for Charlie and managed Jonah for the race.
He graciously invited me to the team bivouac and I had a great time among friends never met before.

Des, Jonah, and Niles in Hungary:

I didn't know him apart from this and from what I read here, but he seemed to have a big heart and helped a lot of people in the racing scene. What he did at the Dos Sertoes is a testament for his dedication.

RIP DesBoon. Our thoughts are with his family.


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Old 12-06-2010, 12:11 AM   #11
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Des meant many things to me, a friend and mentor were two. I'm Russ his neighbor. Des got me interested in KTM's 9 years ago shortly after we met to go hiking in the canyon where we live. I had some basic off road moto experience but Des taught me a whole new world on two wheels. He told me about riding a dirt bike with a license plate to all these cool places and do it legally. It wasn't long before I had my garage filled with orange. We started with organised rides like "Barstow to Laughlin" and then did our own with anyone that would follow us. I was hooked and spent most of my time riding. I enjoyed going with Des to rally training and riding all over the Nevada desert with him. It didn't stop with motorcycles, our friendship continued in many areas of our lives. I feel very fortunate to have known such a great guy.

I dropped my 950 27 times that weekend in 04' and Des helped me pick it up 25 of those.

Great "Des" smile.

Peace my friend, you are missed.

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Old 12-06-2010, 02:16 AM   #12
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With a heavy heart I reply to this thread. I have been all over the world with Des and he will be dearly missed as rally support, impromptu team manager, rider, and most of all, as a friend. Dezzie once told me in his very unique, to say the least, voice, "You know, me and Julie think your rad, totally rad. If you lost your passport and wallet and were stuck in the middle of the Western Saraha, you could just call us and we'd get you a first class flight to LA so we could go to dinner."
Dez and I had an all nighter just walking around Budapest taking photos of drunk Hungarian kids, convinced Hans Trunkenpolz (RIP) to give us his personal cell number, protested Jonah's penalties, and yes, even founded the I Hate Robb Club in which Robb has always been invited to join. I've seen his strange charm and wacky charisma make life long friends out of perfect strangers. My heart goes out to his wife Julie, who is as amazing as Des, and really the light of his life. -Niles
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Old 12-06-2010, 05:03 AM   #13
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RIP dear Des

To know Des you mearly had to meet Des. Gracious and supportive to a fault, he will be missed. Via con Dios my friend.
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Old 12-06-2010, 07:15 AM   #14
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No right thing to say here. I was on row 16 at the Tecate. I rode by Des in the Mazanita section at about mile 2. Several people there and just fishined giving cpr. We stopped quickly to ask if they needed assistance and were told people were on the way. Did not know he had died until lunch. It was not a difficult section so I can only guess it was quick and painless.

Just nothing good about it, period. Very sorry for all his friends and family, especially so close to the holidays.

I will raise a glass to a fellow enthusiast.
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Old 12-06-2010, 07:42 AM   #15
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So sad to have lost such a cool friend as you Des.
You will be sorely missed.

I'll never forget the day that Des agreed to come down to Brazil and support our team. He immediately sprang into action and within a day I started receiving emails and phone calls prodding the team into a much higher state of organization. Des' presence in Brazil was invaluable. He performed all the typical chores, selflessly drove the Kombi, and kept our team prepped so that all we had to do was race. All with his great sense of humor...priceless.
The man gave a lot.

I will always cherish the great times we shared riding in the desert.

Peace bro,
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