The training, equipment, language, events, and budget... where to start!
Photo: KTM Factory Racing
What is Rally Raid?
To keep this simple, remember when you would print out yahoo maps to get to a place you had never been before? OK, well, you are now ready for Dakar.... well, not really. Rally, or adequately known as Rally Raid, is a sport comprised of navigation and rider skills. Participants compete in "Cross Country Rallies" in other words, make sure you have a comfy seat on your bike or car. We are going LONG!
Comprised of multiple days, entrants in a Cross Country Rally or Rally Raid will set out each day on a route created by the organization and provided to them in the form of a Roadbook. What is a Roadbook, you ask? Remember that printout from Google Maps? It's that! But with more detail, we will get more into that later. There are usually three main parts: Liaison, Special Stage, and Liaison. Only the Special Stage is timed, but all three carry penalties for not following directions! We will get into the anatomy later in this. Still, those three parts repeat for each day of competition, and your total time across the Special Stage (s) plus the penalties awarded (that sounds like a good thing, it is not) make up your Final time or Classification.
The Rally Raid Mind Set
Ok, so now that we know what Rally Raid (or at least my definition of it), what's the mindset? I am glad you asked! In my experience, there are two, and the third group is just the bounce between the two, much like when you leave one group of cars on the freeway to catch the faster group. Anyway, the first is the group that is looking to be competitive and wants a race but not an all-out sprint, there are a few in this group, but I think the bigger group is the ones that want an adventure. They are there for the chase and want to finish each stage, see the sights, and enjoy a good ride with the new and old friends. This group is the group that's taking breaks, making sure pictures are taken, and maybe a taco stand... or two. Where are we going with this? Time to be real with yourself and set your expectations; I want to run a class on Price, Walkner, and Short or finish the adventure that is the question... what is your choice?