It’s almost time for Dakar

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Cyril Despres, Marc Coma, Juan Pedrero and Ruben Faria are pictured here carrying out final tests of the KTM 450 Rally ahead of the 2012 Dakar. The bikes are now packed up and winging their way to Argentina. This year’s rally starts on the Atlantic coast at Mar Del Plata, but unlike previous years, finishes on the Pacific in a new country — Peru.

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As you can see, the race no long runs a circular route, running northwest to Lima instead. Riders will cross the Atacama Desert on their way there, this year completing 14 full days of racing over 9,000km.

The race begins on January 1st.

  • Michael

    What are they testing about the 450?

    • Wes Siler

      It’s a race bike, which means there’s all sorts of suspension settings, chassis tweaks and engine details to pour through. And no, they aren’t going to tell you about them.

      • Michael

        I thought it was a rally spec’d 450 SMR. I read on to see its a 100% race kit for the new Dakar rules.

        • Thom

          @ Michael – In any racing , tons of testing are the norm , no matter how well the vehicle is developed .

          In a race/rally/raid like Dakar , beating the hell out of it as much as you have the money and time for before entering the event can make the difference between life and death , never mind winning or losing

        • Wes Siler

          Follow the link the article above for full details.

  • Thom

    One of the few things ( other than Andros Trophee and World Cup skiing ) worth looking forward to in January .

    Now if politics etc would just let them be able to bring it back TO Dakar instead of the South American , not bad but not the same , substitute

    • The other Joe

      I was thinking the same thing about South America. It seems wrong to use the name Dakar when it’s not even in Africa. In fact, even just calling it Dakar sounds dumb when the real name is The Paris-Dakar Rally.

      +1 on the World Cup Skiing

  • muckluck

    Who will be covering the Dakar Rally in the US so I can DVR it?

  • moshaholic2

    muckluck, last year it was reduced to a 30min snipit on VS. if I remember correctly.

    Unfortunately, the US guys have little to no funding this season and may not compete (which sucks since there are 2 Americans that CAN win)

    • moshaholic2

      just re-checked the bike entry’s.

      Jonah Street got his backing and is in.
      Quinn Cody is in too (got his backing from Honda Europe…fuck, US corporations should be backing this kid!!!! he is a champion!!)

      there are 2 more US riders..but, privateers and not serious competitors

      In regards to it being still called “Dakar” – that’s a “brand” name (ie.dakar edition BMW’s) and known world wide. Why change it and lose your market?

      as a side note, my wifes father (Chilean citizens) was instrumental in getting the first non-african Dakar event rolling in south america (along with the FIM 6 days enduro)

  • raphmay

    an average of 643kms a day…

    • Scott-jay

      Damn near 400 miles a day on an off-road 450.

  • zato1414

    Isn’t Dakar on some other Continent…

    • aristurtle

      It certainly used to be! They moved it because “avoiding getting shot” isn’t supposed to be a major rally skill or something like that.

      • zato1414

        There is room on the handle bars for an M-60… winning would mean more.

        • aristurtle

          Handlebars? Man, a (hypothetical) Ural factory team would be able to give the “co-driver” a PKM swivel-mounted to the sidecar no problem; I’m sure they still have the appropriate tooling.

          Wouldn’t be fair to the other teams, I suppose.

  • Sasha Pave

    There’s a strong US contingent this year with Jonah Street and Quinn Cody, can’t wait!

    I’m also cheering Ned Suesse’s decision to run this year, he’s a strong privateer and I’m hoping for some good results.

    Fingers crossed for a safe running in ’12.

  • Steve

    Awesome event, in ways even tougher in South America than it was in Europe/Africa. Love that we have it to enjoy in the coldest, darkest months of our winter, waiting for the spring to arrive! Never too late to help support Jonah- will get you to a Touratech (major sponsor) webpage where you can buy a t-shirt to support and represent! But, good luck to all our American riders, Quinn Cody and newcomer Ned Suesse.

    Now, if we could just get better coverage than the pathetic daily half hour that Versus gives us… >:(