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Stage Two and Don Made It!

From all accounts it was pretty harsh with lots of off track riding and high dunes, but Don made it through Stage II. Get a load of the track conditions here: (use the right slider bar to move down)

After Natalie speaks with him, we will report at once. He has moved up to position 164 from 179.

After Talking to Don Tonight, Here is Natalie:

The 13 km “Special” today was like a motocross on sand – not Don’s favourite style of ride. He needs to get a few days in on the bike to feel comfortable. He likes to ride for a few hours, then gradually increase the speed. That was just wasn’t a course for that today.

Nothing crazy, just slow and steady because as we know, the goal is to finish this rally (not win it).

He did say the Bivouac is such an amazing thing!!! Anyone who has ever been to a Dakar will understand and for those who haven’t, it is such an experience. It is like a huge, crazy traveling carnival. Many different languages are spoken. Machinery is running all through the night. There is no peace, no quiet, just a constant hum of activity. You need earplugs to get any rest. While I was talking to him they were testing the sentinels and it was ear piercing.

Tomorrow – Stage 2 – Pisco to Pisco. Bikes start at 5:30 am. Don said his start is 6:30. The riders’ start times depend on where they finished the day before, so for Don that means he will be near the end of the pack of motorcycles BUT just ahead of the cars. He will be very conscious that the cars are behind him and could catch up to him in the sand. Not a reassuring thought that those cars may be right on his tail through the dunes!

The connection stage (usually a road section (paved or not) )used to get to the special stage (the tricky part) is 85 kms. The special stage which I think is mainly more sand is
242 kms.

FYI: Have you ever had a Pisco Sour? Powerful drink! Pisco is a Peruvian grape brandy, invented in Peru in the early 1900′s. It has a fair bit of a bite to it, mix it with some
lemon juice and sugar and you have a Pisco sour. I like them, but they sure do a number on your tummy.

January 5th Press Release Don Hatton and Dakar

Duncan BC (January 5, 2013)

Don Hatton of Rally Raid Canada has finished the first day of the 2013 Dakar Rally in Peru.

Lots and lots of sand

Lots and lots of sand

The better the time today, the better the starting position on the next day. Don finished 177th today.

“We know our speed is not the end all be all today – finishing is more important. Today’s special was more like a motorcross style ride in sand. Sand with no “crust” on it to allow you to get momentum going. ” Don noted.

The stage may be short but it is just as important as any stage on the Dakar. First day withdrawls due to crashes or mechanical failure are not uncommon.

Days Completed: 1 Days to go: 14

Rally Raid Racing Factoid – things you might not know or thought of :

This is the 35th edition of the Dakar. It is the 5th to take place on the South American continent, which has hosted the event since 2009. This years event is from January 5 to January 20 with the competitors following the route between Lima Peru and Santiago Chile, with a rest day on January 12 in Argentina.

Message from the UK

This just in from Don’s daughter Alex in the UK:

I have been watching British Eurosport channel on TV tonight, it broadcasts the Dakar for half an hour every night and I just saw Don on his bike in the background of the an interview!! It looked as though the riders were coming in for the day or maybe just going through a check point. Just thought i’d let you know so you can post it on our website that he’s been spotted! :)

From Natalie:

They are in the middle of no where – in the bivouac! Simon and Don have already had a confrontation with Kamaz Team (the big trucks)
over where they were parked!!! Remember, Don and Simon are two little independents and the Kamaz Team is a huge team with those big huge trucks. Two little bikes up against like 7 huge trucks and Don said 47 Russians!!

He seems in good spirits. The sand was hard for him

In the bivouac on the first day

Reviewing Road Book for Stage One

The first photo was taken last night of Don reviewing his road book in readiness for the 4:00 a.m. start. At the time of posting, Don has been riding for over 1½ hours now. The second photo is don’s road book showing Km 0.

Gotta love that shag carpet!

We are hoping to get the tracking code this morning, so that we can watch his progress.

Get a load of this video of Cyril Despres, testing out the sand dunes a couple of days ago. Brutal!

For those of you hoping to watch the tracking

We are waiting for the codes to link to Don’s progress, they have not sent it to us yet. The moment we get them, there will be a link on the left sidebar, where the map is right now.

Ready to Go for Tomorrow at 4:00 am

Don and Simon are all through admin checks and they both passed. The race starts 4:00 am our time tomorrow morning.

After that it starts at either 1:00 or2:00 am our time each day. So that by the time we get up, they will have been riding for several hours.

In the meantime, Don will be getting ready to set up his booth, which will be seen by 100s of thousands of people from all over the world.

Don was given about 300 small Duncan flags just before he left and he gave them out on Thursday. Just giving out what he did drew a lot of exposure. He was interviews by a Peruvian news network over the flag. They they wanted him to explain what the flag was.

Here is a fun video, although we can hardly understand the reporter, but you will see Don and Simon very early on.

Photos on the Dunes in Peru

All has gone well in Scrutineering. However, nothing ever goes completely smooth when making your way around all the stamp booths in the Scrutineering process ….but at the end of the day both Don and Simon have all their stamps and are now OFFICIALLY ready for the rally.

The Softest Sand in the World and Into Scrutineering

Don and Simon along with Evan, their mechanic  went into the desert yesterday morning to do some  suspension tuning on the bikes.  The sand was softer than any Don has ever ridden.  Both Simon and Don agree – its even softer than Dubai!   He purposely tried to ride the worst of it …..subsequently ate a lot of sand and picked his bike up more times than he can count.  It was pretty hot and dusty but a good day.

The good news is – the bike is amazing and Simon has done an excellent job setting it up.  “Simon really knows what he is doing and has thought of everything.”

Last evening the team got together with staff from the Canadian Embassy in Peru for dinner.  “Lovely people, really doing a great  job for our country,” says Don.

Some of the staff are going to follow the rally for a few days when it starts.  They are really excited to watch their Canadians in action.

Right now, Don is in scrutineering!   Lets all cross our fingers that all i’s are dotted and t’s crossed on  the paperwork and the bike, equipment and Don all pass with flying colors.

We Have the Bike We Have a Very Cool Helmet

The bikes arrived safely and Don is thrilled with his (No. 110). If you were at all into numerology you be thrilled, as the Number 2 means balance; union; receptiveness; partnership and a strong and worthy intuition. Just what Don needs!

Right now, he is having lunch with his team in a little restaurant in Lima.

In a couple of days they will be sending us the Tracker Software so that we will be able to watch his progress on the ride.

In the lunch photo you will see: Linley Pavey, Evan Davies (team mechanic), Don Hatton, Simon Pavey and Paul Green (driver of the support vehicles).

The Eagle Has Landed

Send Don Good Energy!

Send Don Good Energy!

Don has arrived safely in Peru and the team is in the process of getting their bikes out of the customs compound. This may take a few hours.

Natalie hopes to hear from him before noon.