Pavey Dakar Diary: day 3

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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.

Still suffering the effects of the previous day’s super-long stage – with Simon requiring multiple fluid drips and Llewelyn taking a bad knock to the head – it was a case of damage limitation for the duo on the 220km special stage.

 Simon Pavey

  • Start position: 81st
  • Finish Position: 92nd

Yesterday had a bit of a lasting effect on all of us but after going into the medical centre and throwing up everywhere I wasn’t feeling too good most of today. It was a horrible experience really but I was not the only one by any means.

My problem today was just not having the energy because I didn’t eat enough yesterday, so I had no fuel in me. It was also really dusty a lot of the time.

I’m not riding well either; I’m struggling a bit with confidence and getting the front to stick in turns on the harder pack going. When you’re not feeling strong on the bike it all gets a bit worse and we dropped a bit further down the order than we want to be so the ruts in the riverbeds are worse and it becomes a vicious circle – all sucking energy out of you in this immense heat.

But you’ve got to just soak it up and get on with it. Tomorrow looks like being tough for different reasons: getting up early and heading high into the mountains will be cold and difficult with the altitude.

600-odd kms is a long way but once we get into the desert it will be special and I’m looking forward to that end stretch of big dunes, it could be quite fun.

Llewelyn Pavey

  • Start position: 82nd
  • Finish Position: 82nd

Like so many people today I was suffering the effects of yesterday, especially after my crash. It was a weird one because I landed on my eye, which made me feel a bit hazy and I couldn’t see for a bit. I think with that and the effects of the heat, I’ve been feeling a bit sick while riding today, taking it a bit easier to make sure of everything was sensible.

It’s been hard to concentrate a bit too, I’m not sure if that’s the altitude or just me being me! I’m having to read the road book five or six times to make sure I’m right, which is no bad thing it just feels dozy.

It’s ridiculous how good my bike feels though. You have to remember it is a rally bike and it changes quite a lot during the day as the fuel load changes – I think that’s what caught me out a bit yesterday when I crashed. It felt so good I was having too good a time on it.

Despite being a bit steadier today though I enjoyed the riding. The riverbeds were nice and I didn’t have any problems. I think the people complaining or having problems with the fesh-fesh today were the ones who didn’t ride it yesterday. It was much easier today. The only problems come when a quad comes past you and creates a massive cloud of dust for the next five kilometres!

Day four looks good. I’m looking forward to tackling the desert but I’m unsure what to expect from myself as we the climb up the mountain in the morning. We’ll see. It is what it is.

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer