Don’t Forget Jonah
America’s constant motorcycle participant in the Dakar has been Jonah Street. Running on a funded-by-friends budget with true privateer equipment, the Washington native finished 10th last year and had a stage win a few years previous. Now Street is back for more in 2011, with Yamaha GYTR backing, as confident as ever.
What are your goals for the 2011 Dakar?
To win. I’m excited to be on really good equipment and have really good support this year. I’d be happy to get on the podium, but I’m really looking forward to the win. Anything less than the podium and I’ll honestly be a bit disappointed.How do you prepare for the Dakar every year?
Training…I do lots of riding and navigation practice and lots of calisthenics for my physical training-basic stuff: A lot of pushups, pull-ups and plyometric exercises. Starting in November I usually am off my smaller off-road bike and am on the big rally bike full time doing longer rides to get accustomed to the grind of the Dakar race. Around mid-December I usually get back on the smaller bike and try to push my cardio more in tight, technical riding. On the big bike it’s hard to attack anything-especially the lower-speed technical stuff. Plus, the lower-speed stuff I can do on the small bike that boosts my cardio is less likely to put me in the hospital or injure me right before the start of the rally.What’s the hardest part about getting ready for an event like this?
The logistics are always pretty tough. Getting everything done to get there with everything I need is difficult. I don’t think I’m going to be surprised by anything this year when I get down there, but it does take a long time to get it all put together. Working out and riding is easy because it’s all under my control. The logistics are dependent on other people who are, because of my budget, doing things for free as a sponsor or friend which can sometimes be less than motivating for them. If I were paying everyone to get stuff organized, I’m sure it’d be a lot easier. But that’s not going to happen!How can rally fans follow your progress through such a remote race?
The most effective way is through Facebook pages and by following my blog at www.KLIM.com. All my sponsors will be posting and sharing updates as well. Versus will broadcast the event on TV, and the Dakar website has free live tracking of the race. You can go there and pick four or five favorite racers and follow them every day. And you can never forget my fan club at www.advrider.com, they define fanatics.You’ve raced the big bikes in past Dakar Rallys. So what do you think of the race going to an all-450 lineup for the motorcycles?
I think it’s a good thing in the aspect of making the racing more competitive. In the past, there wasn’t a cap on the capacity of the motor and they tried to do it with a restrictor, but there were ways around that, too. So really, there was little a privateer could do against the big teams. Now, you can only generate a certain amount of power with a 450 motor, and that sort of alleviates someone coming in with a much more powerful bike. It’s great for me because no other manufacturers were interested in getting involved when the overall win was out of the question due to the dominant factories having monster motors in their bikes. Other than Yamaha of France, nobody was trying to compete with a small bike on the big scale. Now, brands like Yamaha can come in with a ton of Dakar experience and compete head to head with those who have dominated for so long. It should be interesting for sure.