This page is dedicated to the branch of the sport where extremes are the norm.
Desert Racing for
Virgins - I thought that would get your attention ...
Robertson and Paul Carlyle were out to the 2011 Touraeg Rally
recently - This is Mikes account of his trip. Well worth a read.
Click here to view
And to get you in the
mood for January and the DAKAR. A report from Paul Carlyle on his recent 2008 desert
training trip with Patsy Quick. Click here
And also on the DAKAR this year is Stewart
Walker with his Desert truck that we have seen at many events this year.
Supporting the Frontrow GB team on their DAKAR Adventure . Riders Stan Watt
and John Stamper.
Derrick Edmondson providing the coaching. Check out
their preparation and results so far on their website www.frontrowgb.com
BIG News of 2009 - Liz Millett - Outright winner of the Libya Rally Raid - ahead of all the
bikes - AND all the cars. After
years of honing her navigation skills Liz has finally cracked it and came in 18 minutes
ahead of the nearest car - after 8 days of racing.
Awesome ! Well done Liz - pity she missed the sand of Lossie ...
here for an extract of her diary. Makes interesting reading.
A regular in the BEC on a sidecar and former ELRAT Club
Champion - Liz has great desert skills and last year was followed by a Hummer ( because
she could navigate)
Sponsors always needed - contact the webmaster for her
Desert racer Liz Millett
- gets a great 2nd place overall !! in the Erg Oriental Rallye. Report when Liz gets
Great report from Mike Robertson - on the 2007 Agadir Rally.
2nd time around - and quite a bit tougher.Paul finished in 34th and Mike
Robertson in 52nd - well done lads !! Click
Beginners cuide to Desert Rallies by Reuben Welch -
excellent tips .. Click here
Agadir 2006 with Paul Carlye and Mike Robertson . Click
Diary of a desert racer - Mick Extances
2004 Dakar diary. This is what it is all about - read before you
race. If you like it - sponsor him !!!!
JOHN DEACON - died in the Masters Rally
9th August 2001.
Britains greatest Desert Racer - news reports
2002 ARRAS - MADRID - DAKAR
Won by Fabrizio Meoni on a KTM LC8 Twin cylinder machine
- his second victory and a hard fought one all the way. The extra power of the twin only
showed up on a couple of stages and the weight was hard to control in the deep sand on the
marathon stages. A true champions performance. Alfie Cox - the ever present shadow -
came home in second , not quite able to match the speed of Meoni but content to concede
the victory. A very consistent ride with a couple of stage wins. In third place was
Richard Sainct, riding for KTM this year. Losing momentum early in Africa after a heavy
time penalty for speeding in a village he pushed towards the end for a podium finish. 11
of the top 12 bikes were KTM this year with a Honda in 11th place. This shows the
commitment of the factory to the race and should spur the other manufacturers to get back
into the race in earnest.
The event had a lot of roadwork in Europe prior to entering Africa on New
Years day. Always necessary but not a true test of the eventual winners. The event had
several very tough navigation stages over two days - some without the use of GPS. The
presence of rain (for the first time in 18 years) lead to some deep puddles and heavy
going. With goggles misting and the normal problems of a European enduro it was an unusual
The Marathon stages were loops out into the desert and back following the
road book. Even some of the top riders got lost - Juan Roma starting a few minutes behind
Meoni on the 3rd last day, got trapped in a ravine with no obvious way out and then
collapsed with stress. The tension at the top is enormous and sustained over a long period
- one mistake can cost you the race.
The privateers are the real heroes of the race. They race ALL night, come
in late, prep the bike and road book then head back out with an hours sleep. They have no
works support and do it all themselves. Silencers are repaired with beer cans and wire
holds the bikes together. Some times they scare the top riders when they keep up with
them. Down on top speed they still put in some very fast times. They come back year after
year until they finish and reach the Pink Lake at Dakar.
Several big names went out again. Kari Tianen still trying to win was
pushing hard and won a stage near the end. Everyone asked how he could go so fast ? Next
day - broken collar bone and arm. But he'll be back next year - and one year - who
With no John Deacon British interest was in the privateers. Top of these
was Dave Hammond until he retired almost at DAKAR. Looking better every year. Also running
was Mick extance. Better luck next year lads - we are all behind you.
Andrea Meyer finishing the race as the first lady rider home. Formerly a
works BMW rider she competed on a KTM 400.
A very tough Dakar with rain, heat and very high dusty winds it was a
tough race to win. The format following the recent trend to return to the roots of the
race and rely on the competitior not the equipment.
Paris - Dakar
Won by Fabrizio Meoni on a KTM - at last. One of the best Dakar races
for terrain and endurance for several years. But with Juan Roma BMW and Richard Sainct KTM
going out just before the rest day the rest settled into a procession for KTM. Team orders
took over with 5 KTM's coming home 1 - 5. Quite an achievement but not a race at the end.
Kari Tianen took three stage wins after blasting away - no chance of winning but a
chance to show what he could do. A frustrated Alfie Cox was finally let loose for a day
and took a win as well. They have been told they can race next year. It was a tremendous
battle for all the teams and riders in the first half of the event with a very long and
dust ridden stage really hammering the privateers.
This year navigation was of primary importance as there were several stages in Mali
that were all navigation. Out and back. Top riders were taking 8 hours for a day - the
lesser riders were still coming in the next day. This is without doubt the toughest event
in the world. Giles Lalay - but every day.
The privateer star this year was a Swede Per Gunnar Lundmark - who
carried all his tools with him - no tent in the equipment box on the planes - only spares.
He set some very fast times - up with the works riders - despite some heavy crashes.
But the British star was of course John Deacon. The hard man of
British Enduros. John finished 6th this year after a lot of bad luck and several time
penalties. Top BMW works pilot on the 900cc twin. He nearly didn't finish when a bird
smashed through his goggles at high speed, leaving him with a real shiner of an eye.
Luckily he had spare goggles as there were still 200 km's to go. Well done John - All you
need is good luck next year.
Dakar - Cairo
Won by Richard Sainct on a BMW with the first four places also BMW. KTM's top riders
feel foul of engine breakdowns and some very nasty high speed crashes. Four days of the
rally were lost due to the very real threat of terrorist attack. All vehicles were
airlifted direct to Libya where the rally continued. Libya was very flat with long high
speed pistes - but occasional steep dunes. These caused the loss of four of the top cars
due to a 5 metre drop at 160km.
BMW also had an American - Jimmy Lewis - on a boxer twin. This bike had lots of power and
had one stage win, finishing third overall.. It would have been immense in the dunes but
these were bypassed.
A very hard start to the race from Dakar with no easy start up stages saw John Deacon
crash after four days and be airlifted out. He was also on a twin and sid the power was
higher than the singles - in testing he could get to the top of dunes the singles
couldn't. Better luck - or at least some luck next year.
Andrew Coaker competed in the Dubai Rally in
2000 - check this out for some great photos.