Stage 5 was mainly sand and dunes referred to as “chains of sand dunes” by the organizers. The sand is so soft that Don’s wife Natalie, who is among the support crew, noted that the support truck got stuck and they had to dig themselves out en route to the bivouac!
Don has completed what he considers “my worst day riding of my life” while competing in this Rally.
Due to high fuel consumption caused by the never ending sand dunes today he was low on fuel when he arrived at the bivouac. Don’s KTM690 rally bike is very heavy when full of fuel which does not make it handle well in the heavy sand and thus leads to it burying itself easily. This means he has to stop, physically dig the bike out of the sand, and then run along side of it till he get enough momentum to get it going again. Exhausting work in heat that exceeds 40 degrees Celsius.
Don finished the day in 26th place, 22nd overall in the rally and has maintained 6th in his class. Chilean Chaleco Lopez is still leading the rally maintaining his 20 minute lead over second place Polish rider Paul Przygonski but third place Marc Coma is closing the gap onto second place trailing by only 24 seconds.
Youcef Cummings is “the man of the day” to Don and two other fellow riders whom he helped in from the worst 25 plus kilometers of the dunes. That is the great thing about Rally Raid racing is the camaraderie of the fellow riders and support team. It is not just blind competition against each other but rather against yourself, the terrain, and the physical and mental stamina required to complete the race