Charlie & Dave Do Dakar

Sean Alexander
by Sean Alexander
On January 1, 2005, brothers Charlie and Dave Rauseo will embark on an epic motorcycle journey from Barcelona, Spain to Dakar, Senegal, competing in the 27th edition of the DAKAR RALLY. The 16 day, 5,500 mile Rally route is tortuously long and difficult, and the biggest off-road event in the world. This years’ event has a record 230 motorcycles, 165 cars, 70 trucks, and 230 assistance vehicles entered. Eight competitors are from the United States, including two other amateur motorcyclists, three professional motorcyclists, and a single car team.

I met and rode with Charlie at the 2005 BMW R1200GS intro. He's a quiet, polite and friendly guy, with a nice riding style and a great enthusiasm for the sport. MO Wishes him the best of luck at the 2005 Rally. -Sean

Preparation has been a struggle and the challenges of just getting to the starting line have been enormous. Charlie, a 37 year old resident of San Francisco; and Dave, a 39 year old real estate appraiser from New Hampshire; are ready to attack the Sahara Desert and race against the best rally riders in the world. Last year, Charlie was the only American privateer entered in the Dakar Rally. He competed on a shoestring budget on a very secondhand KTM rally racing motorcycle. After some impressive results, he bowed out due to a mechanical failure just short of Tidjikja in Mauritania. Charlie gained valuable experience, useful in a race where experience is essential.

This year, PAi, (a retirement plan administration company for small businesses: www.pai.com) signed on as the team's major sponsor. With PAi's support, the brothers will field a competitive privateer team. Top Oil joined PAi recently as a Team sponsor and has provided needed support. The brothers are also backed by Baja Designs, Enduro Engineering, Aerostich, Enemyline, Clixx Motosport, Motion Pro, Linkfinity, Berkeley Honda-Yamaha, Dirt-Bike-Gear.com, IRS Sports, and of course by family, friends, and Dakar fanatics everywhere. This is a true grass-roots supported effort. Much of the support has come from individuals in the US and worldwide.

During the summer and fall, Team Charlie and Dave considered several options for support and mechanics during the rally and settled on an independent, 2-brother team. They will ride KTM 660 Rallye motorcycles specifically designed to survive and succeed in marathon desert rallies. The bikes are being prepared in England by Rally Raid UK, an experienced British rallying team. A Nissan Patrol truck will support Team Charlie and Dave throughout the Dakar Rally. Southern California quad racer Zoli Csik will drive the support vehicle from Barcelona to Dakar, chasing the racers. The brothers are lucky to also have Mike Krynock, experienced mechanic and racer, riding in the Nissan and maintaining their KTMs. In Spain, the Team will have the help of Jake Elliot, the winner of the Team's raffle of a trip to Barcelona to be part of the support crew. More support is better in a gruelling adventure such as the Dakar, so the brothers are cooperating with Rally Raid UK throughout the race. Their bikes and the Nissan will share the bivouacs (temporary encampments) with RRUK's two trucks. Since the assistance vehicles must navigate and find their way through some of the same dunes and terrain as the racers, the 3 trucks will stay together to help each other along.

On October 9-11, The complete Charlie and Dave Team, and Kevin Heath, another American privateer entered in the Dakar, met at Dumont Dunes in California to practice navigation and dunes riding. Charlie Rauseo and Heath brought their 660 KTMs, and Dave Rauseo got to ride one of these 75 horsepower, 450lb machines for the first time. Says Dave Rauseo: "This big bike has great power, stability for the deep sand, and long legs for running fast: it’s a one-main freight train!" Everyone left satisfied that they had learned a lot, but wanting more time to prepare. But, time has now nearly run out. Charlie Rauseo's 660 KTM has donated its motor, electrical system, and suspension to this year's effort, to be carried as spares in the assistance vehicles. The Rauseo brothers have trained hard all year and studied navigation, rally rules, and this year's route. They are as prepared as privateers can be.

Team press contact: Charlie Rauseo
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 415-710-9386
Team website: www.usaDakar2005.com
Dakar website: www.dakar.com
Television Coverage: OLN
Daily Team updates: www.onewheeldrive.net
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Sean Alexander
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