August 14, 2022

Dakar 2022: Why is the Dakar Rally so legendary, and how does it work?

Ok, so you’ve heard about the Dakar Rally. You may have even seen videos of cars and motorcycles racing through the desert, seemingly not knowing where they’re going but doing it REALLY fast.

But what’s it all about? How does it even work? And how do they decide who wins after 12 days?

Fortunately, we have some answers. Well, at least this clever video does.

The Dakar Rally was born out of what could have been a disaster. In 1977 French motorcycle racer, Thierry Sabine, found himself hopelessly lost in the Ténéré Desert during the Abidjan-Nice rally. He spent three days stranded in that 400,000 square kilometre section of the Sahara before being found and rescued by rally organiser, Jean-Claude Bertrand.

Still in awe of the event he had tried to complete and the experience he’d had, Sabine created the Paris-Dakar Rally. Yes, many would have run away after his experience and many DID call him crazy!

The Dakar Rally, as it is now known, has been held every year since 1978 with one exception in 2008. It has been held in Africa, South America and now Saudi Arabia.

It is often referred to as the toughest motorsport event in the world, has the second largest audience behind Formula 1 and draws competitors from all over the world, eager to conquer the challenge.

Many go back to the Dakar many times. Simply completing the event is, in itself, a major win!

Australian Christophe Barriere-Varju knows only too well how tough the Dakar can be. He’s competed 4 times, completed it twice and is the subject of the most awarded motorcycle film in history – Dream Racer. The film follows Christophe during the lead up to the event, and then as he faces the challenges of completing it with no support team, having to do all his own maintenance, strategy and planning by himself.

Even those without an interest in motorcycles find the film captivating, and it has been described by many as the most inspirational film they have ever seen.

Toby Price is the only Australian to ever win the event. He’s done it twice on motorcycles with the KTM Factory team and despite showing a passion and talent for competing on four wheels, he’s signed with the KTM team for another 2 years. “I hope I can repay the trust they put in me by winning a few more titles”, he said in the lead up to this year’s event.

Andrew Houlihan is another Australian with a passion for the Dakar. At the age of 52 you’d think he’d be ready to retire from tough events like this. But he is a determined competitor who has fought his way through adversity and recovered from several severe crashes that could have taken his life. He’s broken over 60 bones in his body, has 23 pieces of titanium in him and yet he still goes back for more. “I very rarely crash, but when I crash, it’s bad. It’s really bad. And I’ll need a helicopter!” His Road To Dakar in 2022 has certainly been eventful!

The Dakar Rally is one of those events that mesmerises people across the globe regardless of their background and sporting interests. The 2022 Dakar Rally is about to begin, we wish all drivers and riders a safe and successful rally and hope that you enjoy watching these talented and courageous competitors.