Simon Pavey has reached the finish of the toughest day of the 2009 Argentina – Chile Dakar Rally.
The BMW rider finished an impressive 45th in the extreme Stage 12 200km Special Timed Stage and now holds 73rd overall.
Writing for MCN, Pavey said:
“What a stage! The sand was so soft, that it seemed untrue. I started absolutely dead last after the problems from the previous stage and I wasn’t in the frame of mind to really go for it.
"But as I got on, I started picking away at the riders and made up some places.
“Then we got to the sand dunes…. I couldn’t believe them. It was only the bikes that were sent over the dunes, because the cars would have had no chance of getting through them. They were sent around a different route.
“There was this one dune that was just unbelievable. It was like a mountain. Apparently it took Cyril Despres three attempts to get over it. I got there and Craig Bounds was on the side and I went to have a go.
“The sand was incredibly soft and by the time I arrived, there were tracks everywhere. I was careful not to ride like a bull out of gate.
"On my first attempt, I rode in second gear and I felt like the bike couldn’t do it.
"I had to go over the side of the dune and then find my way back. It was difficult to find a path, but I managed to see another rider and make the 3.5km detour so that I could have another go.
“At the bottom of the dune I stopped and let the bike cool down before I had another turn. I gave myself a wide berth and rode a massive arch to get some speed up before I hit the bottom of it.
"I was in second gear and in the end I had to jump off and run and push near the top. It was exhausting.
"Somehow, I managed to get up. It was incredible.
"If you had seen it at any other time, you would think it would be pointless to even try. But we had to. It was part of our Special and if we gave up and went round it and missed the Way Point we would have suffered a four-hour penalty. You just had to try.
“I also had my first proper crash. 400m from the end, I jumped a ditch and I must have caught my back wheel on a rock and I was thrown out of control. The bike went one way and I went another. Luckily we are both okay.
“I would have to say this is the most technical day of the entire Rally. It was short but really difficult. It took me six hours to ride 225km. It was tough, but I loved it.”