those who know me, know that I love off-road. But those who are closer to me know that I love dirt bikes even more. I have been around the Baja scene for quite a bit. I got to go to baja for the first time around 2000 and since then, I have only missed 2 races throughout the years. I have always been supporting/chasing teams that race whether it was on quads or dirt bikes. Sometimes even SxS or race cars. As much as I love off roading, I am no expert like I mentioned in Dakar.
Well, enough about me. Like I mentioned before, the Dakar 2019 started yesterday. It started with Podium and the flag dropped today early morning 🏁
What can you expect?
Well, expect some good damn racing!
This years Dakar is a lot shorter. Its only 10 stages and stays in Peru. Yes, only 1 country. This years race consists of 70% sand and the rest hard pact dirt, rocks and other different kinds of terrain. Sort of sounds like a BAJA 250. A sprint to the finish. As fun as it is to watch Robby Gordon do his thing thing behind the steering wheel and stomping on the loud pedal, I prefer watching the dirt bikes. But, whats happening with Robby Gordon? He is racing the Gordini, but does he have a chance? Well, I would always say YES. Even though he has not been consistent in BAJA, he has been chasing the Dakar for some years already. He did some the Dakar down for a few years, but it looks like he is back and with a vengeance. Cole Potts is racing as his team member with Max Eddy as his co-pilot. Max Eddy comes from a dirt bike backround, but has some experience behind the wheel as well. I think this is a good combination. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.
As much as I like the cars racing, I am always a sucker for dirt bikes. For the dirt bikes, there a few American dudes that are in it and actually have a chance. There is always something exciting about these handle bar dudes. These guys are true athletes and having to battle out ruff terrain with a 250 lbs. bike, it’s not as easy as it looks. Stand up, sit down, tight turn so lean the bike over, stick your leg out, balance here, twist this thing here, and pull that thing there, get up on one leg, and do the hokey pokey! HOLLY CRAP, its not easy. And for these dirt bike dudes to have to cover 5000 km in 10 days, well, that’s a mission…
RICKY BRABEC has made a name for himself racing in BAJA, District 38 and Hare & Hound Scranbles. He used to be a big dude, fast as hell and was racing in class 21 in SCORE International. Then, he threw in some dedication, some salads and stuff, and poof, he was like half his size and even faster on a bike now. He got a contract with factory Honda and has raced the last 2-3 years in Dakar with good results. He can definitely be a top contender
SKYLER HOWES Definitely a contender but on the same boat as Garrett starting towards the middle of the pack. A winner of the sonora rally last year got him a ticket to the dakar. This dude is blazing fast. He is actually one of the team members of Garrett Poucher in SCORE and now in Dakar. This dude has made a real name for himself making some fast times in his sections in SCORE. This dude is a great, humble dude and easy to talk to. There are some dudes out there that actually lack this positive energy (some pro racers try to look down at you as if you are not good enough for them). After winning the Sonoran rally, he was in persuit of achieving his goal which was racing in dakar. He had a gofundme account going for anyone who wanted to support him, and there were a few dudes that were nothing but negative (dont ask who, i dont kiss and tell). Skyler kept his head straight and high, and look at him now?! Today he started in 73rd, and ended the stage in 46th right behind his team mate Garret Poucher. This dude is determined and ready to rock and roll. I could see him easily in the top 20 ad the end of this Dakar.
You obviously cant rule out ANDRE SHORT This dude is fast coming from a supercross background. He raced last year in the Dakar with team rockstar and husky. He now has that experience under his belt and can definitely be a contender. Starting in 29th place, today he ended his stage in 13th and just a little under 7 minutes behind the leader with a whole lot of racing to go.
And last but not least, you still have the ktm dudes. MATTHIAS WALKNER and TOBY PRICE (for Non-American but still favorites). Even though Toby price is not 100% healthy with a wrist injury, he is still someone to look out for. This dude has the cojones to keep on sending it regardless of his wrist. Matthias is the defending champ so that’s a no brainer. The honda dudes KEVIN BENAVIDES and PAULO GONCALVES are always a threat as well.
Just like BAJA, preparation is a big thing when it comes to Dakar. It’s a case of Murphy’s Law here as well. Who do you think is going to take the whole thing?
this year as he proved today ending the first stage in 3rd place just less than 3 minutes behind the leader. There are actually some other articles where they say he can actually win this 2019 Dakar. Well, I am on the same boat. This dude now has experience in Rally and is a fast and dedicated dude. I wouldn’t doubt it he actually wins the whole thing.
It all started yesterday with Podium.
Podium is what we all know as Contingency. What can you expect from this years Dakar? What categories do you prefer? Who from the US is racing?
Who actually has a shot? Well, here goes my picks...
Before I start, I just wanted to throw this out there. I am in no way, Shape or form an expert on Dakar. Even though I am with RoadRunner Fiberglass, for
GARRET POUCHER This is one cool cat. So humble and is always willing to help out in every way possible. This dude comes out of nowhere and also races class 22 in SCORE. Garrett was also racing in class 21 a few years ago and then jumps up to class 22 and makes a name for himself. He has built some pretty awesome teams in class 22, and has been a contender in that category earning 3rd place championship titles multiple times in SCORE. Garrett along with his teams, have been on podiums multiple times throughout these years in class 22. Not to mention, he was also the winner of the baja rally this year earning him a ticket to the Dakar rally. A contender? Uhh, yeah!!! How much of a contender? Even though the odds are against him because he started in 71st place, I would not rule him out of being in the top 20, or even the top 10 at the end of this fiasco.