Early every year the motorsports season kicks off with the Dakar Rally. Although it often begins in Paris, France, this year’s race-the 27th edition-started in Barcelona, Spain, with the ultimate destination of Dakar, Senegal, on the West Coast of Africa. The race is not forgiving, and catastrophe is the backbone of such a grueling, relentless, punishing ride through some of the most-remote deserts and subtropical regions on the planet. It takes a bit of courage, a lot of strength and some insanity to attempt the race. It requires tenacity beyond belief to finish it. Outright racing for the overall win is done only by a select few factory-supported riders who go for glory in what is truly one of the world’s toughest races.This year’s event was tough, but that is normal. Marred by the death of two-time Dakar winner Fabrizio Meoni, the second motorcycle death in this race, riders pushed forward among tragic times. Still, French rider Cyril Despres kept a promise made to another fallen rider, Richard Sainct, to put a “Blue” Gauloises KTM atop the podium.This year marked the second appearance of an all-American KTM effort backed by Red Bull. Kellon Walch, Chris Blais and Scot Harden accomplished their goal of finishing all three riders, with Walch winning a stage on the final special test of the rally down the beach and around Lac Rose.Rally racing is in a state of shock at the moment, yet the enthusiasm of private riders and even those dreaming of Dakar remains at an all-time high. It is the desert riding you dream of on machines that go faster than anyone should. The rally will go on.