Just had a call from Paul Green … and …unfortunately it is the end of the rally for Don. The ASO medical car has picked Don up. Apparently he is physically ok. His bike sustained a lot of damage when he was hit by the truck, but he managed to piece it together and inch towards the end of the special. However, at approx. 4 kms from the end of the special he had insurmountable mechanical problems and was not able to get the bike running. Don is headed back to the biouvac with ASO at this moment. Can’t wait to talk to him to make sure he
is ok. Our last conversation was via someones satellite phone at about 5:20 pm(our time)- 12 kms from the end of the section and he was not in such good shape. He was having trouble talking and wasn’t making much sense. I was not sure at that point what was going to happen. He had been out on the course for close to 12 hours. He had no way of contacting anyone from his team and I’m sure mine was the only number he could remember to call on the sat phone.
Luckily, after trying to get ahold of Llel, Simon or Paul, I was able to contact Simon Pavey’s wife Linley who in turn got ahold of Simon and Paul. Simon and Paul went to ASO. ASO called Paris. Paris called Don on his iritrack. By this time it was dark, Don had no navigation, no lights and the bike was broken and buried.
He told ASO he was continuing on and did not need assistance. He managed to struggle to the 4km mark, but the bike just quit and he could not get it going. That is all I know at this point. I am sure Don is very disappointed!
Will keep you posted!
Thank you to all for your posts and words of encouragement to Don. They were very much appreciated.
Don is ok but now has mechanical issues. He is 4k from the end of the Special. He is fine, I’ve spoken to him and we are trying to come up with a plan. Don’t worry he is physically OK. He is with the ASO and a medical car is following him
Don is attempting to finish the special!!! At this point, am not sure how. Apparently there is medical behind him on the course and there will be medical at the finish of the special. Have spoken with Simon who tells me that the 98 kms at the end of the special is road and can be done. They will be waiting in the biouvac for him to come in – will assess the bike then …nat
Hit by a truck in the dark. Bike is broken. Navigation is broken. Stuck out in the dark. People are with him. He can barely talk. 12 kilometres from the end of the Special. He has somehow been able to muster along, now bike is buried in sand again.
What a grueling day for us monitoring Don, it must be a real hell for him. It took forever for him to get to Way Point 4 (8 hours). And within one hour he had made it to Stage 5.
The team are anxiously awaiting him at the bivouac, but they know no more than we do. They suspect he is just taking it slow and steady. Also, the trucks will now be passing him, to add to the stress of the day.
They think it will be two more hours before he will make it to the end. Whew!
Well, this is torture. In the last few minutes, Don has ridden in to Way Point 3, with the majority of the ride still to go, not to mention the 2000 foot downhill drop. But if I am reading the stats correctly, he is still ahead of 9 riders.
Please continue to comment as he gets told every night about who is sending him well wishes!
Natalie has been receiving texts from everywhere wondering why he was stuck at Waypoint One for so long. He had a late start and we think he did not start until 9:00 am Peru time, as he was one of the last bikes to leave. He is now 157th. Still ahead lies the “big drop off” at Waypoint Four, and likely the cars have caught up to him.
If you have any insider information, please comment here.
Today’s route covers 243K on soil and sand, with very high dunes and punctuated in the middle by a very sudden and steep downhill at approximately 110k. After that, it is mostly a soil/sand mix. The link will show you the map and the configuration.
Just in from Natalie at 9:10 am, Don has apparently stopped for some reason, she got a text from a UK rider (how do they have time to text??) Anyway, breaking news as it comes
Bad news for a couple of British riders, one has broken his back and was airlifted out, the other is out with a dislocated collarbone.
Devastating news from David Bensadoun, Canadian Rally Car driver. He is out due to mechanical issues. David was too upset to talk and Don feels terrible for him.
Don had a great day, although it was very difficult. It was 39 F in the dunes. He is feeling good other than cramped muscles due to dehydration. He said he had to work hard to keep his ego in check and not go too fast. Ego does not help finish the Dakar!
Organizers have confirmed over 1,000,000 spectators at the start and 600,000 between Lima and Pisco.
The lead cars caught up to him at about mile 150. He plans to complain, as the cars are not using their sentinels, which are like very loud horns to let the bikes know that the cars are coming up behind them. This is very dangerous and terrifying.