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Dakar January 2, 2010 – Stage 1

A Tough Day

Nice Ride

Listen to the clip above of Don on Rally Radio, he sums Day 2 up pretty well.

The audio starts with Don’s account of the fire he was exposed to on Day 1 of the rally. We think we would have run from the flames as well Don.

The second part of the audio details Don’s comedy of errors today, except that it wasn’t very funny.

First he left the start area without his time card, which he didn’t realize until he was flagged down by another competitor after about 80km. He had to race back to the start to get his card, but it wasn’t that simple.

The organizers were not going to give him the start card, much back and forth discussion ensued, … Don said “what does this mean” and the woman organizer told him that he was out – the rally was finished for him. Still Don would not give up … so more discussion … then they phoned the head of the FIM and after much phone conversation he ruled that Don could start.

The Dakar organizers argument was that it was too dangerous as the cars were now leaving and also that Don would not make his start time at the special stage. Don told them that it was their member of the organization that had directed him to start and that he was a fast rider and could make it to the special section for his start time.

So… off he goes… he gets to the special just in time to start and at this time they hand him two papers. Don only has time to read the first one. Apparently what the 2nd one said was that due to the heavy rains they had to reroute. They verbally told everyone else, but as he was just in time to start they didn’t actually tell him. Don knew something wasn’t right, but couldn’t figure it out…What he was supposed to do was change his road book by 50kms!!! At about 100kms in he did finally get himself straight (heaven knows how) and he finished the stage. However, not before he had to ride through water on his bike and his bike quit!!!! He got to the finish and he and all the Desert Rose Team had to wait in all their dirty, sweaty gear for the support truck to show up.

Later in the afternoon, they are all sitting around doing road book and in strides the head of the FIM (apparently he was in Buenos Aires and came out to speak with Don). He spoke very strongly to him about starting without his time card and that this must not happen again…and if so it would be an immediate disqualification. Apparently all the Desert Rose guys were very worried he had come to tell Don he was out of the rally.

Don actually rode the course very well today but we think that he was assessed some pretty hefty time penalties over the time card fiasco as he is currently listed in 133rd place but earlier reports had him finishing in the middle of the pack. Hopefully tomorrow is a better race day for Don. However Don is actually quite happy with the penalties, compared with being kicked out of the rally, its not so bad.

Don continues to be unimpressed with the food in the Bivouacs. There was no breakfast today so he had to resort to his emergency instant porridge rations that he carries to every rally. For dinner they had lovely Argentinean Pepperoni Sausage which Don simple describes as disgusting.

Unfortunately Don’s troubles were minor compared with an unfortunate accident involving one of the cars running off the course and plowing into a group of spectators. One spectator was killed and 4 injured. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims.

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