Well if I thought the Dakar village was busy yesterday, it’s gone into overdrive today. To whip up the crowds even more than they were all the big hitters had to go through the technical and administration checks along with making their appearance on the podium today.
So that meant the factory KTM team in the bike category and the vast Mini team with their array of support vehicles and countless staff in the car category.
With so many vehicles and competitors to process, scrutineering has taken a full three day, which gives you an idea of just how big this event is.
During the course of the day I managed to catch up with a few of our home grown talents we’re going to be focusing on during the race. The three man Front Row GB team of Stan Watt, Lyndon Poskitt and Tim Forman all look in good shape. Before going through scrutineering they completed a good test in the dunes about 40 miles outside of Lima.
Their main focus was to dial in the fuelling for the hot conditions and also start to get some ideas as to how what changes they will make to the fuelling as the altitude of the stages increases.
Simon Pavey and his Team Delta Kunststoffe Husqvarna’s team-mate Don Hatton also completed a positive test. Pavey looks fit and well and is clearly very satisfied with the performance of his TE449RR and the structure of his own team.
I haven’t managed to catch up with Sherco rider James West yet, but I did bump into Paul Jay and Craig Bounds this evening at the compulsory rider briefing. While a lot of riders a have already put their race faces on, Jay looks like he’s having a ball. He may have had to re-mortgage his house to get to Dakar but he’s clearly enjoying every single minute of being part of the greatest race on earth.
Among other things I attended a Michelin press conference with Cyril Despres, Marc Coma and Stephane Peterhansel. Between them they won 17 Dakar’s – ten for Peterhansel (four in a car and six on a bike) four for Despres and three for Coma. It was quite humbling really – being present in the company of gods!
Now the pre amble is over. The race starts tomorrow and although it’s only a short stage, it’s an important one as it will determine who will head out first when the action really gets under way on Sunday.