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Update - 12 km out

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

OMG Don is Hurt

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.

Don Hatton Still making Slow and Steady Progress Toward WP6

Paul Green, the support truck driver has texted the following

“He is still making progress, slow but steady. Hopefully not long now before he comes out of the special stage. Then he has 96KM on the road which is easy going.”

He should be pulling into Way Point 6 soon.

Johnny Campbell from the USA, an excellent and experienced rider came in at 158, so Don is not the only one having a bad day.

Don Hatton at Way Point 5 in Stage 3

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!

Stage Three and he is at Way Point 3 With the Worst to Come

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.
Stage 3 Route

Please continue to comment as he gets told every night about who is sending him well wishes!

Calls from all Over- Don Hatton is OK

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.

Pisco to Nazca Stage Three for Don Hatton

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

Report from Don After Day Two

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.

Here is the Press Release from today

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.