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Dakar December 31, 2009 – Scrutineering

Don and Bike Before Scrutineering

Inspection of Olympia Jacket

The Team – John, Bernie, Don

Finished Scrutineering

Post Scrutineering at Start Podium

As we reported yesterday, Don and the bike both made it through scrutineering. There were a couple minor issues, such as whether his Olympia Jacket met the regulations or not. But by the end of the day he had gotten through and was a happy camper.

The next challenge was to source engine oil and tires and mousse. Elf came through with enough oil for the race, a big thumbs up to Elf. Don managed to find some tires and mousse. However he will need to find more in order to finish the race.

Natalie reports that yesterday was a long day through scrutineering … but exhilarating at the end! The best feeling really for all of us. All the organizers we dealt with yesterday were very pleasant. The Argentines are warm people, the food has been great and the weather is picking up (raining and thunder storms for the first few days), but hot yesterday and today (Dec 31). When Don rode his bike from the Docks to downtown (about 1 1/2 hours) it was pouring.

The locals came out in full force Wednesday afternoon. Max and Natalie were left at the Dakar site and it took them ages to thread their way back to the Hotel on the street.

Natalie also reports that they have run into many familiar faces as well. Javier and Sandra who own DakarMotos in Buenos Aires and have been very helpful to Don and the team over the last two years and lots of other people from different teams that they recognize from last year or other rallies – “it’s truly wonderful”.

Don had a chat with Marc Coma as well yesterday and told him (joking of course) that now that Don had a factory bike, and Marc does not, he plans on passing Marc this year. Of course Marc found that quite funny for some reason.

Don will be in good hands again this year, as his favorite Rally doctor, Alain, is once again in attendance. Alain has attended 15 Dakars as a medic and he loves it. He told Don that he thinks the Argentina/Chile course is far more dangerous than any of the African courses have been.

Hopefully Don will not need to talk to Alain or any other medical staff before the end of the Rally. However he still has a nagging cough left over from his bout of the flu earlier this year and that will not help as the rally wears on.

The weather around Buenos Aires has been unseasonably wet so far this year, with wide ranging floods causing heavy damage. The organizers are reporting that some sections of the course will be quite muddy. At least that will give the riders a break from all the dust they encountered last year. Not that they won’t get their fair share of dust in the dessert and dunes.

Don and the team will be hosting a small New Years Party for some of the other teams and then the real fun begins.

Don is going to focus on his navigation and road book work, just like in Morocco. He says that previous rally’s have really driven home the point that you have to finish to do well, and the best way to finish is to stay on course, not get lost, and be very aware of the hazards on the course. Hopefully the results for Dakar 2010 will be just as good as in Morocco 2009.

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