How to survive the Dakar
A beginners guide to spectating at the world's most demanding endurance competition
Posted: 22 Jan 2014
We've done 15km across the desert and seen three other cars. They were soon lost in our dust. Uwe has mentioned his off-road rally skills. Quite a bit actually. Oddly for an Italian, Giovanni is totally unnerved by this speed. Who'd have thought...
The mood in the car's good, though. We're homing in on our point, there's very few cars and the sandy scenery round here should mean the action will be worth seeing.
I spot glints reflecting off things in the distance. Cars. Thousands of them, littering the sides of the roads. Where have they come from? How long have then been here? Wow, there's even a checkpoint with a policeman. We wind down our windows and flap our papers at him. He waves us through, and we carry on driving down the road, edging between these lines of parked cars.
"Hope we don't have to turn round", I mutter. Everyone grins nervously.
Another checkpoint. More paper waving, this time at a race official. "Press", we holler, "s'il vous plait, nous continuer".
"Pas possible", he shrugs.
"Oui, c'est biensur possible" I grasp feebly.
"Non, c'est la course"
At that moment a motocross bike comes howling over the road just ahead of us, leaping the dirt track and blasting off across the desert. We've arrived, then.