Capt Chaos in Timbuktu
Rob. I have just read your article about Capt Chaos' ( aka Nick Sanders) latest trip to Tb2 and I would like to clarify a few points.
Re ' his last journey to Timbuktu was a success'. CC entered Morocco with 24 riders and 6 support staff intent on getting to Tb2. I think that I am correct in stating that he left Morocco with 5 riders, of which only 4 were still on bikes, and 2 support staff. Himself and the photographer. The drivers/mechanics left him at Bamako before he even got to Tb2 taking one of the support vehicles with them. CC didn't ride to Tb2 and back at all. He drove the support truck from Bamako onwards so it was 'interesting' to read in various motorcycle publications that he led the riders to Tb2 as, in reality, he was tail end charlie. The only success was that the riders got themselves there. On the way back the guide just rode off and left the group somewhere after Mopti so, more than before, the riders were on their own. I don't suppose for one moment that Capt Chaos made that clear to the press.
Re the al-Qaeda links to the murder of the French tourists. I was in Tb2 at Christmas and watched the local tv coverage of the shooting so I have info from another source. I also met a English guy who passed through that part of Mauritania shortly after the killings. From those sources I would suggest that the murders were the result of a violent theft. The unfortunate family had just taken money out of the bank and they were followed and robbed. Not many people have AK47's over here but in other parts of the world it is a different story.
Re good roads and sandy hazards. The photo on the bottom right shows part of the road Capt Chaos planned to do huge mileage on in one day. If memory serves the actual figure was something like 840 miles. As you can see the road is covered in sand drifts and I can assure you that there were areas much worse than this.
Incidently. When it was pointed out to CC that we would be crossing the Sahara during the Sahel ( windy season) he just said " What difference does that make." Obviously he hadn't experienced a sandstorm or thought of what to do should his paying customers get caught in one.
Finally. Looking at the map printed in MCN it appears that CC is planning to take the same route as he did last year. He was warned last year that the road to Nema was notorious for hold up and muggings but he ignored the warnings and went anyway. I think that I am right in saying that the French tourist were murdered at Aleg and the Nema road passes through there. Nuf said.
I sincerely hope that every rider gets to Tb2 and fulfils their dream. I also hope that they get home safely as the back up provided by Capt Chaos last year was abysmal. This resulted in riders having to get themselves to an airport and pay for their flight home from Mali as Capt Chaos didn't have the support vehicles necessary to provide the service people had paid for.