On the Pegs - January 2023 On the Pegs - Volume 8 Issue 1 - January 2023 - Page 128

45th Dakar Preview

photos courtesy of RED BULL CONTENT POOL , RIEJU , HUSQVARNA
As this issue goes live , the 45th edition of the Dakar Rally will be underway , returning to Saudi Arabia .
With some of the world ' s best off-road racers facing off against almost 5,000 km of special tests , this route is a true test of extreme endurance .
The origins of the Dakar Rally has its origins in 1977 when French motorcycle racer Thierry Sabine got lost on his motorcycle in the Libyan desert during the Abidjan- Nice Rally . After navigating his way out of the desert , the Frenchman was determined to design a race that drew on his experience with a route starting in Europe , continuing to Algiers and crossing Agadez before eventually finishing at Dakar . Since that time , the Dakar Rally has evolved from racing in Africa to South America and now to Saudi Arabia .
The classification of each of the 14 stages ( in addition to a prologue ) is made up of the times set in the special stage plus any sporting penalties . The race requires precise navigation , which is done via a roadbook provided by the organizers and handed out at the start of each stage . The starting order of each test will be based on the times set in the timed sector of the previous stage , taking any penalties into account ( such as speeding or missing waypoints ).
This year will be the longest route since the 2014 route through Chile , Bolivia , and Argentina . The route begins at the Sea Camp , then heads inland towards Alula . With stops in Ha ' il , Al Duwadimi , Haradh , and Shaybah , racers will see the checkered flag as they head to the finish in Dammam .
There has been a rule change to this year ' s competition . A system of time bonuses is now in place to reward the bikers who ‘ open the road ’ on each stage . The bonus sections are in place during the first 200km of the timed special stage . It will be possible for a rider to have a total of five minutes deducted from their daily time if they lead the way throughout the opening 200km . It ’ s a huge prize to aim for , but also comes with a massive amount of risk – with no tracks to follow the chances of getting lost is bound to increase .
ON THE PEGS // PAGE 128