Race to Dakar by Charley Boorman

By Charley Boorman

In 2004 Charley Boorman accomplished his extraordinary round-the-world motorbike journey along with his pal, Ewan McGregor. the adventure left him exhausted, exhilarated and hungry for a brand new problem. And what higher problem than the Dakar rally? starting in Lisbon and finishing within the Senegalese capital of Dakar, the rally covers 15,000 kilometres of treacherous terrain, and is largely considered as the main risky race in the world. along with his team-mates Simon Pavey and Matt corridor, Charley confronted severe temperatures, rode via transferring sands and stinging winds, and confronted breakdowns miles from civilisation. Charley recounts his amazing adventures via Portugal, Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Mali, Guinea and Senegal. He additionally follows the tales of alternative riders - an eccentric, devoted band of pros and novices who all dream of 1 factor: attaining the completing line. Race to Dakar is the exciting account of a race that has captured the mind's eye of hundreds of thousands.

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I was hooked and whenever anyone mentioned the Dakar I'd recognise a kindred spirit. By the time I was in my mid-teens, I'd vowed to compete in the Dakar one day, although I suspected that, like many adolescent yearnings, it would remain no more than a distant dream. Whenever I got the chance I'd speak to bikers who had taken part. They all said the same thing: it's the toughest race in the world. That put the fear of God into me, but it also made me want to do it even more. It wasn't just the race, hard as it was.

By 1993 the number of entrants had dwindled from a peak of 603 bikes, cars and trucks to just 154 vehicles. The Amaury Sport Organisation, organiser of the Tour de France, the Paris Marathon and more than a dozen other sports events, took over. ASO then built up the rally into one of the world's largest sports events. Over the years, I watched the Dakar on television whenever I could. At first it was the four-wheel-drive trucks pounding through the sand that fascinated me, these ten-ton behemoths racing so fast and with so much power they went airborne over the sand dunes.

We used standard swing arms and chain adjuster end caps, but strengthened them to take harder knocks. The front forks were replaced with factory Marzocchi forks, custom-tuned by Chris Hockey, a suspension specialist who was a mate of Simon's. We used custom-built Fournales rear suspension shocks and Ohlin steering dampers, GMX radiators and cooling system, a Venhill throttle, Tomaselli clutch perches and Magura handlebars. The wheels were a work of art. The front wire-spoke wheel was made by Talon, a British company that also supplied KTM, which meant there would be plenty of spares on the rally if we exhausted our spare wheels.

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