How to survive the Dakar
A beginners guide to spectating at the world's most demanding endurance competition
Posted: 22 Jan 2014
So we're going to try and drive there. We've had a conflab and it's our last shot. We head back to the car, mount up and drive back the way we came, looking for tracks into the desert. It's altogether possible we could have sunstroke, but honestly, at the time, attempting to drive a boggo Mini Countryman into the desert seemed utterly reasonable. It had 4wd after all. And the Cooper S motor.
We find one and know we're on a winner when we spot a pick-up ahead of us. It's ancient, and carries one of those camper van backs on its load bay. It's also stopped in the middle of the track. As we close in five children spill out of the back and trot round to climb in the cab. Worried about traction on the shallow incline, Uwe has already committed the Mini to go round. Straight over bushes and cactus and all sorts. "Jesus, what about punctures, man?" cries Robert. Uwe shrugs. Some seconds pass. The we all have the same thought at once. We could improve traction by letting some air out of the tyres. We pull over.