I want recognise the most important member of Team Rally Raid Canada my wife Natalie for all her support in our adventures these last years.
Natalie who loves gardening, shopping, romantic evenings and all the normal girly things.
When I first met Natalie almost 20 years ago, I told her one day I am going to take you to the Dakar. I don’t think she had a clue what I was speaking of.
It was Natalie who said “you have been talking about the Dakar since I met you, why don’t you do it” words I am sure she regrets now! She has put her life on hold to encourage me to chase my dreams.
Since that time she has been, mugged, slept in a tent in the middle of the Tunisian desert while picking scorpions from her sleeping bag. Used desert toilets and makeshift desert showers. Faced six foot long snakes and endured many 14 hour days in a cramped support truck while driving across the many desert roads of Africa and the Middle East.
She has driven 12 hours through the night across the Argentine outback to reach me in hospital, after my huge crash in 2009.
She has trudged through Moroccan and Tunisian Villages to find nutrients and water for myself and team members.
She has flown in questionable African planes with chickens and goats and fended off the advances of African men, who believe” hey baby to you want f***k “is the proper way to greet a western woman.
She has watched our retirement funds deplete, to the point where her retirement is now a fantasy.
Natalie takes control of forms, logistics insurance, bank transfers and whatever else is required. She keeps me organised and focused at the start of the rally, and always seem to pull some miracle cure or food item out of her bag just at the right time. No one can source out laughing cow cheese in the Sahara desert like Natalie.
Even more amazing when you consider it has not been her dream to eat sand and live in appalling conditions, I am sure she would prefer if my dream was to be sipping wine at the Savoy in down town London England while enjoying all the sights of the city.
Through it all she is always positive smiling and supportive even when we have a 4:00 am start time,
So Natalie I raise my glass to you, thank you my desert angel! There is no one else I would like to share this great life adventure we have been on then with you.