Dakar Begins This Sunday!

Tom Roderick
by Tom Roderick

Dakar is an international, bad-ass, multi-day off-road event and if you’re not a fan you should be. Crossing the borders of Argentina, Bolivia and Chile the route takes motorcycle and ATV competitors through more than 5400 miles of extreme riding conditions. Competing cars and trucks go even farther.

We’ve covered some preliminary Dakar news such as the route for 2014, the defection of Cyril Depres from KTM to Yamaha, Honda’s entry into the competition but there’s so much happening it’s tough to get a handle on all of it. Luckily, the event is viewed by more than a billion enthusiasts worldwide with TV coverage for North America airing on NBC Sports (check your local listing). But there’s multiple ways in which to get your Dakar fix including the Dakar website, mobile app, Facebook, G+, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.

For the 2014 five special stages have been marked out on completely separate routes, with motorcycles and quads traveling one route while cars and trucks take a separate course. Overall, the separation includes around 1,200 miles of timed sections, covering more than 40% of the distance. This has the added advantage of putting motorcycle and quad riders on more technical and narrower tracks during some stages, while taking away the advantage leading car racers had of using the tracks left by the two-wheelers.

On two occasions motorcycle and quad riders will embark upon marathon stages, extending over two days, with overnight accommodations in bivouacs reserved exclusively for them. During thes marathon stages the riders will not have the support of their assistance teams, and will have to rely on help from other competitors to make any adjustments to their bikes. Team strategies will be ultra important during these stages as management of equipment – particularly in terms of wear and tear on tires – will be crucial.

Tom Roderick
Tom Roderick

A former Motorcycle.com staffer who has gone on to greener pastures, Tom Roderick still can't get the motorcycle bug out of his system. And honestly, we still miss having him around. Tom is now a regular freelance writer and tester for Motorcycle.com when his schedule allows, and his experience, riding ability, writing talent, and quick wit are still a joy to have – even if we don't get to experience it as much as we used to.

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