Simon Pavey showed the grit and determination needed just to finish the Dakar, with the 43 year old Australian overcoming technical problems and a massive crash to keep his race on track.
He said: “Damn I am beat up today. The stage was so bloody rough. Two days ago my engine let go properly. There’s no half jobs in this. The conrod snapped in half and came out through the cases. It was kind of obvious it was broken.
So I phoned BMW Assistance and they helicoptered it to me. Great service! I managed to liaise to get hold of my engine from my assistance and was able to change it in the desert.
When I got in that night though the whole thing was a bit of a mess. The swingarm bearing collapsed when I was doing the change and the engine mount bolt was bent like a snake from the conrod’s exit force.
I had to replace all of that and I wasn’t done until midnight. The next day was the Andes day and damn it’s hard riding at 4500 metres on four hours sleep. After the liaison we had the infamous Fiambala stage. The sand was so soft and my result was blown after that, it became just about finishing. I was riding super gentle to just to make sure then engine didn’t overheat in the sand.
There was a mess up by the organisers that day as well. The Andes road was mostly dirt and they started the cars too close which meant they came past us at 140kmh and we had to sit in their dust for most of it meaning a bunch of us missed our start time. They then made us start after all the cars and trucks going into that stage. During my ‘taking it easy’ I had one of the biggest crashes of my career. It was unbelievable, I wasn’t pushing at all, but it was a really fast section, easily fourth gear. I don’t really know what happened, I just had a huge high side. From my point of exit I went at least thirty metres. How I didn’t break something is a miracle. I couldn’t move for half an hour, I just lay on the ground. I was so beat up, I’ve got bruises everywhere. It was massive for me, I could barely move.
Eventually I got some Nurofen in me and sat down. I really wasn’t sure, I was really close to pulling my balise. I have never been beat up like this with out breaking
something. The spectators were awesome. They kept feeding me water and kinda nursed me. The bike was truly mashed as well, a couple of guys picked it up and moved it for me.
Some how luck finds it ways of levelling out though. A couple of km’s down the track there was a tight corner and I just didn’t have the strength to hold the bike at all. It hit the deck, but as I stepped off I noticed I was covered in oil. When I crashed originally the oil line to the cooler had come undone. I was so beat up I couldn’t pick my own bike up. There some spectators there and the helped me fix the line and pick my bike up. Another km down the road there was a large group of spectators, so I stopped to ask them for oil. I didn’t have a clue how much it had lost, it’s hard to tell with that sort of thing.
The spectators showed me to a nearby town where I bought some oil. The last 40km I rode in first gear, I could barely move, let alone ride properly. I was an absolute wreck. I finally got to the liaison, but by then it had turned dark and I had smashed
my lights up in the crash. It took me ages to fix and so I didn’t get in till midnight last night. I went to see the medics to patch me up a bit, and still had loads to do on my bike. It was about 2am when I got to bed and we started at 5am this morning.
I had to start at the back again as well. It was such a hard stage, I was hurting so bad and it was 600km of rocks and fesh fesh. The scenery was amazing but I hate fesh fesh. It’s so taxing to ride and I genuinely didn’t think I was going to be able to do it. I was wailing like a little baby every time I hit a bump. Because I was riding so slow and started at the back meant the first car came past after 60km. It’s been frustrating not being able to ride how I can. I can’t even pull the clutch in. Today has destroyed me and the bike is such a mess now, I was just limping along. I have one more real stage and then it’s just simple tracks in. I just need to limp through; its been one of
my hardest Dakar days ever.”