Ignacio Chivers has a dream. He wants to become the first Spaniard to complete The Dakar rally on a two-stroke Spanish bike and he’s not going to let the lack of eligible contemporary Spanish production motorcycles stop him. Instead, he’s goign to ride a 1978 Bultaco Frontera 370 in the 14-stage, 3,100-mile race through the deserts of Argentina and Chile.
Where bikes like the KTM 450 Rally and Jonah Street’s WR450 Dakar use contemporary aluminum beam or steel trellis frames, one-piece seat/fuel tank rear subframes and use factory-built 450cc race motors, Ignacio’s Bultaco uses a period tubular steel cradle frame upgraded with modern components like a billet triple tree and aluminum swingarm. His subframe is stock and instead of carrying the fuel in a self-supporting monocoque, jerry cans are bolted on like panniers and a top box. The extra fuel capacity required to complete the grueling race is all carried high up, on top of the engine in a giant plastic canister.
The stock 1978 Bultaco Frontera weighed 109kg and made around 33bhp. As you can see, Ignacio’s racer retains the kick start, but is updated with modern equipment like road books and safety transponders. Transponders are one of the most important pieces of safety equipment in The Dakar, warning racers when a faster vehicle is about to pass them. The speed difference between a 1978 Bultaco and a modern race buggy can be extreme, but both vehicles, along with modern bikes and even huge KAMAZ Master trucks will be competing on the same course.
Ignacio is no rookie. He’s been trying to successfully complete the Dakar on a Bultaco since 2007, but has completed and even won historic classes in shorter races like the Rally of Egypt.
These pictures were taken on November 25 at Le Havre, France, where the Bultaco was crated and shipped to Buenos Aires along with other European competitors. Final scrutineering will take place there on December 31 and, if he passes, Ignacio will start the race on January 1st.
You can support Ignacio’s efforts by purchasing a Bultaco-Dakar t-shirt.