BMW Park Lane joins the race to Dakar
17 December 2010 10:49
BMW Park Lane has branched out from just road racing and is now sponsoring Si Pavey in his race to Dakar.
In a dramatic turn of events, a freak incident almost put the Dakar campaign on hold as Simon cart-wheeled the G450 X Rallye just days before the bike was due to ship to South America.
Simon was using his last opportunity before the race to do some very final testing of the suspension and to shoot more photos.
“The bike has been feeling very strong, all the various components we tested in Portugal have held up well. We went out on the on Friday to make sure I was 100% happy with the bike before we swapped the engine out and packed everything into the boxes for scrutineering on Wednesday.
The biggest issue we have had with building the bike has been the sump guard because the bike has not got a cradle style frame, the sump guard would normally mount straight to the engine. I felt this is a really weak design that could lead to split or damaged crankcases very easily. We have worked very hard with Colin from Askey engineering to develop a design that eliminates this worry. This, coupled with the rule that every Dakar riderʼs bike must carry at least 3 litres drinking water on the bike creates a problem. The easiest place for the water has traditionally been in the sump guard.
The Prototype guard that was on the bike was just a little too square edged and had a weld line where the final design wouldnʼt. We were doing a pretty big jump for the
camera and the bike felt fantastic. I could hit the jump much bigger and harder than I ever would on the standard bike and the bike just soaked it up.
I hit the jump for the 20th time and when I landed I caught a tiny edge on an embedded rock with the sump guard and the bike just end for ended. It came out of nowhere and scared me senseless at the time. I was pretty lucky to get away with it in reality, but the bike was pretty banged up, I could see that from everyoneʼs faces when I was lying on the ground. I made some rather frantic phone calls to Touratech and they managed to sort out a whole new fairing kit over the weekend.”