Well it is getting a lot closer to race time. I located my bike on the backside of the KTM Dakar truck that is the support for all of the official KTM and Husaberg riders. Since my berg is made from KTM parts, there is a lot of shared stuff. Since the bike is blue, we are on the back side under our own Husaberg tents.
Andy, a KTM/Husaberg chassis engineer is here to assist the four Husaberg pro riders and we got my bike all set up. I slapped on my Flexx Bars with bark busters (this is the third bike in three weeks these bars have lived on!), hooked up the Garmin GPS 60 caged in a Touratech/Ram mount and hard wired to my bike’s battery, set the sag, slipped in some Metzeler mousse inserts and stuck on my race numbers. It almost seemed like I was a pro, pretty factory.
The next morning I navigated my way through the inscription process, something that American riders would not fully understand, since they have a whole day set aside for this. It included, but was not limited to getting a Romanian Federation racing license, surrendering to a medical examination, buying some insurance, putting down a deposit (in cash since my credit card doesn’t seem to work here, there goes the beer money), getting a GPS lesson, arranging my hotel and going to five or six other stations where I signed stuff, got stamped, smiled and did whatever it took to get through. I actually think I did it OK, I’m all signed up.
Then it was off to the mountains to try out my bike, go to the press conference (in the mountains with some crazy riding on a hill for the cameras of the local journalists and a killer BBQ prepared by some of the local guys.
It started to rain and I got lucky and hooked up with Cyril Despres, some cat who has won the Dakar.He used to be my water boy back when I was fast (and I try and remind him about that as much as I can) and we went and tested out our bikes. We rode in rivers and up a cliff or two to see if our bikes were set up properly for carrying them up hills, sliding them back down and then to see how waterproof the act. I guess it was pretty good, he seemed satisfied and I was almost able to keep him in sight. He’s won this event three times so I suspect he knows a few things about it
Back in the pits I see DR Associate Chris Denison and his partner in the Expert Team class, Alex Smith scurrying around like cats trying to get all set up. They don’t talk much but they’ve got Pistol Pete Denison (Chris’ Dad) taking care of things so I’m sure they will be OK. How do I know? Pistol Pete got me through Dakar in 1997 and that was way more adverse that Romania.
Well, were about to get a practice run through the Prolog course so I have to get ready for that, and the course is one of the most gnarly things I’ve ever seen. Don’t believe me, check out the videos of last year’s on the video page at
and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Thanks for all the encouragement, I can’t believe they’ll put the Hobby riders through this course. Wish me well, it just started raining too…