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Old 09-13-2014, 06:13 PM   #1
Joined: Aug 2014
Oddometer: 2
My rally effort

Hi everyone!

My name is Nuno Santos, Iím from Angola (not the prison, but the actual country ). Iíve been a long time lurker, but recently I signed up and started digging for more content. Is this forum really amazing?! so much information on almost everything one wants to find.
Iíve been an off-road enthusiast and racer for some time now (on 4 wheels). I started riding bikes in 2005, because of our local horrendous traffic jams, and got hooked. Last year I bought my first dirtbike (Husqy TXC250 Ė basically it was the cheapest bike locally available), and started riding trails with some friends. I took an year off from off road racing, but couldnít stay away from the dust. I then realized, to my wifeís concern that my true passion were not cars but bikes.
My dream has been for a long time to race the Dakar Rally. In 2012 after becoming the national cross country champion on the UTV class I tried to take advantage of the publicity to start a Dakar effort on 4 wheels, starting of course with some smaller rallies abroad, but couldnít make budget, and so we had to put the plan on stand by.
I think you all know where this is going by now.
Yes, that's right! Iím starting to build my Rally/ Dakar effort , on a motorcycle.

I donít plan to do this next year, as I know my riding skills are not even close to being what is needed for that effort. But Iím thinking of a 3 to 5 year project, with my mind set to it. As Iíve read here before, I donít want to think of the Dakar as the final objective, but more as one of many goals/dreams that I want to pursue, so that way my mind is focused and I I can steer my way much easier. One thing I know is that I want to enjoy the ride to get there, thatís for sure!

This is how I stand at the moment.
I have a bike to train. The husky has proven reliable for the past months, and I donít think I need a different bike at the moment. My plan is to develop skill and endurance on this bike until I realize I need a different one. I've ridden 450's and 660's in the past, and i think the 250 is OK to train as probably the best bike to improve your skills. As for the rally bike itself, Iíll probably go for the rental packages available for the different rallies Iím looking at. Iím also a friend of the local KTM dealer(they are also Polaris dealers- I raced a Polaris), and maybe we can work something out.

Riding skills Ė Iím not a Marc Coma, or anything close to that, but at the moment I am getting better and feeling more confident with every ride. Nevertheless I have much to improve, but I believe training will develop every personís skill. Never mind what skill! So I am training every weekend to try and become a much better rider. At the moment I do about 100 to 150 km every ride, but I am making a plan with a riding buddy to try and make that distance double every time we go out. If we can make 300km rides every weekend with the occasional long weekend/camping trip (500km) at a good pace that will be good training. I am also starting to track some riding buddys to take a 5/6 day vacation to the Namib Desert and ride on the Dunes.And maybe do that every 6 months... Iíve never done that before on a bike, so that will be a totally new experience for me.

Regarding fitness, I think Iím OK. Iíll be 30 years old this month, 1,69m (yeah Iím really short ), and weight 70 kg. Iíve been doing 2 hour Brazilian Jiu Jitsu sessions 3 to 4 times a week (wich is great for your cardio) for the past 2 years, and do the occasional jog and cross fit session. I also take good care of what I eat and drink ( honestly I hope I didnít have to, but cholesterol runs high in the family and I donít need that at all).One big issue Ė I an a smoker, but also working on that

I am also confortable with my mechanical skills Ė I built and did my own car between events when I raced. I also built 2 racing trucks and 1 support truck for my team at the time. When something that I donít understand comes up, I do have some friends who are much better than me on this matter, so I give them a call and try to learn as much as possible.

Chuck Norris/Rambo test Ė Iíve had my series of near exhaustion,thirst and nervous breakdowns when cross country racing, and truck driving so I think Iím tuff enough for the taskÖ.but one never knows until he gets there, so who cares!
I understand all the ASO requirements and all the burocracy and money involved in doing the Dakar, as I have studied that once before. Iíve been dreaming and ďstudyingĒ the Dakar for some time now, so I am aware of all the time that is spent just to get there.
My main concerns are:(not in any logical order)
- Wich events are the best to prepare myself as far as bikes go? I was thinking of trying 3 to 4 events abroad and doing the Angolan Cross Country championship on my Husqy. Our events in Angola are 2/3 day events with 200 km runs each day.
- My idea was to start with the Amageza Rally in SA (itís the cheapest for me to do, because I can drive myself, the bike, the team, etc over there). After that have a go at the Lybia Rally, Maroc Rally and Australasian Safari. Of course this is not in 1 year, as I mentioned before. Do you think these events are Ok for Dakar training/testing?Should I be doing somthing else? I would like to run some enduro events, but unfortunetly we don't have them here.
- Lack of sleep Ė this is a problem for me. I can usually make 4 to 5 days with little sleep but after that itís just hell. Is there any way to prepare myself for that? Any tips?
- Bike choice Ė should I build my own? Should I sell my house and buy a 450 rr ? Should I go for the rental packages? I have some concerns about this rental thing, as someone I know has had a really bad experience with one company in France.
- Training Ė If I stick to the type of training I mentioned before will I be OK in one year to try and do my first Endurance Rally ?I was Ok with doing it on a car, but doing it on a bike is way harder and makes me think about it...
- Money (or lack of it) Ė I havenít mentioned this before but I donít have any This is every riderís problem when it comes to racing, so weíve all been there. Out of curiosity Luanda, city where I live, is one of the most expensive towns in the world, so you can imagine the cost of racing here. But Iím confident Iíll be able to make budget this time when the time comes. My ďfailureĒ the first time has given me some tips on what not to do. Anyway, the local rally scene has grown a lot since 2012, companys are much more supportive these days.
- My wife Ė she was not very supportive of me racing cars. As a matter of fact, she was happy when I ended up selling it. Then she was worried when I bought the dirtbike. And she showed me her razor sharp teeth when I told her I wanted to race it. But I know she will eventually support me as she always does once the idea settles on her mind. Or at least I hope she does

There's also a picture attached of me with some riding buddy's, i'm the very short guy, last on the right :)

Any inputs are welcome!


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Old 09-13-2014, 06:16 PM   #2
Joined: Aug 2014
Oddometer: 2

That turned out to be quite a bit to read :)

Sorry about that...
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Old 09-13-2014, 07:58 PM   #3
Bluebull2007's Avatar
Joined: Feb 2008
Location: Oviedo, EspaŮa
Oddometer: 5,261
HI Nuno

Welcome to the fůrum and great to hear about your dreams. Its a tough journey but if your heart is in the right place, you dont take no for an answer and have enough cash you can do it.

Here is the closest rally to you:

You will need to do at least this one or another few rallies before you consider entering the Dakar.

All the best and ride safe

Dreaming of Dakar
Everyone has a max speed, 90% of that max speed is much safer and easier, and if that 90% speed isn't fast enough at Dakar, you enter the snowball. - neduro
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Old 09-17-2014, 12:08 PM   #4
Carlos M
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Joined: Jun 2002
Location: Portugal, Europe
Oddometer: 3,398
OlŠ Nuno, grande apresentaÁ„o!

Big plan, yes sir! You don't mention anything regarding navigation training... a buddy of mine, Luis LourenÁo (LuisLourenco here in advrider ) is nowadays organizing roadbook navigation events in Portugal - it's called R3 - Roadbook Rally Raid, you can find all about them on their facebook

As Angola and Portugal are quite close in business terms, if you happen to come here you might get a good opportunity for some navigation training. Check them out, Paulo GonÁalves and Helder Rodrigues already attended some of the R3 events and liked them a lot.
Carlos M.
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Old 09-17-2014, 03:51 PM   #5
Grimace Soup
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Joined: Oct 2007
Location: Not home in Tijuana
Oddometer: 8,505
Originally Posted by Boondoggle View Post
Watching Dakar is like watching people who've built their own world, and for just a couple of weeks they get to live in it.
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Old 09-21-2014, 04:40 PM   #6
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Joined: Apr 2004
Location: Carcavelos, Portugal
Oddometer: 291
Hi Nuno,

As CarlosM mentioned (thank's bro) I'm organizing some weekend rally-raids in Portugal, giving previous support regarding one of the more important details in roadbook racing: the navigation skills. If you want I can send you some documentation in portuguese about navigation, and if you travel to Portugal with some luck it can match with an R3 event... A rental race bike at fair price would be possible.

There are also some budget raids at Morocco where you can have a good practice in both navigation and dirty bike riding (Raid de l'Amitiť or Raid Passion Desert). I think both are accepted as pre-requisite for Dakar.

Reading your post the more difficult goal to achieve is the budget, Dakar is extremly expensive, but you should already be aware...

Any question I can help, don't hesitate to ask.
Luis Lourenco
'08 Blue LC8 S
'04 525 MXC
'96 Africa Twin
R3 Roadbook Rally Raid
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