With not one but two Paveys in Dakar this year, as veteran campaigner Simon is joined by son Llewelyn, the pair still has a hard battle ahead of them to complete the arduous 9295km race across South America.
With the duo comfortable finishing the first day within the top hundred, only for a time penalty to drop Simon back two minutes and ten places, their start to the race couldn’t have gone much better.
- Start position: 76th
- Finish position: 95th
"The clichés come to mind I suppose but it was just something to get us out of the city area and a little bit boring really, just dead straight lines in the dust and not being caught out by a hole that you can’t really see.
It was pretty quick with high average speeds and there was a lot of road work which kind of reminds you you’re in Dakar because there was a lot of sitting on a bike seat, even in the special!
We both rode really, really steady to be honest to just not make any silly mistakes on the first day and get ready for tomorrow which is a whole different game. All that road work today is part of the Dakar and it was nice to get in safe, nice and early in the afternoon.
Tomorrow is a really long special, one of the longest and a lot more interesting with mountains, different types of terrain and countryside and even some sandy piste at the end I think. There’s also some river bed riding which can be a chance to get a bit lost, it sounds easy but there’s usually forks and twists which can be a good opportunity to make your first mistake.
It feels like the rally proper now though, we’re in a bivouac, there are vans everywhere and I’m excited to ride tomorrow."
- Start position: 75th
- Finish position: 84th
"Normally I really like going fast! It suits me being tucked in and hanging on the throttle a bit but it felt really dangerous this morning. There was a lot of dust and a lot of dry ruts in the ground and I just didn’t want to do anything stupid so I rode super-steady, I didn’t really push hard and just kind of cruised the whole thing.
I really enjoyed it actually. It was nice to ride the bike and I felt good on it but I didn’t want to be brave so I eased off and kept it fun.
It was really hot on the tarmac sections, hotter than the off-road stage this morning but it is what it is. The more you sweat, the more you have to drink – which is good because it taught me a lesson. I had a bit of a headache after yesterday and this morning drank loads of water. But then I had to pee loads before the start and then after about 100km I was busting again. It is so hard to ride when you need to pee that bad!
I’m looking forward to day two because today was actually pretty boring and fatiguing on the body sitting still all day. Tomorrow is some proper riding and that’s why you come to this event."