Only 4 days until the biggest and toughest rally in the world starts in Lisboa. After 2 weeks, on the 20th of Januari, the bikes will finish their trip in Dakar (oh yes, and there will be some cars too, and some uninteresting truckers). The number to keep an eye on (again) this year is bike 041. It’s Miriam Pol, who is planning on finishing high in the bikes classification.
People who think that trucks are the best, you probably want to stop reading here. Still reading? I will explain why I think bikes are the absolute real rally competitors (yes, your opinion may differ. Start your own blog. Bye).
Trucks are the fastest brute-force machines on the track, and the drivers will push other competitors aside. Inside the trucks, 5 people are smoking cigarettes and sipping coffee while bumping cars off the road at 200km/h on a small sandy road. They arrive at the stops first, have a beer and a good night’s sleep, and leave the next morning to shove some more dust in the eyes of other competitors. When interviewed,these “men” will complain about branches, sand, other competirors, the food, the tires, and their longjohns being too tight.
Cars, the largest group of competitors, are second-fastest on the track, and often have nice fights for position. There are always 2 people in a car, one navigator and one driver. They work together when digging out their car out of the sand dunes, and solve technical problems. High speeds and great driving skills make cars nice to look at for about 5 minutes, I really enjoyed Robbie Gordon‘s Hummer last year.
Bikes are probably the smallest group of competitors. These are in my eyes the only real competitors. They ride their bikes 800km a day through the desert, 15 hours straight at a time. All roadbook preperations, riding, navigating and repairs during the tests are done by themselves. When they arrive late at night, they have to prepare the roadbook for the next day, and catch a few hours of sleep. The next morning, they are the earliest starters, returning to the desert with nothing more than their bikes, water, and candybars to eat. During the day, the bikes are passed by cars, and dumbass maniac truckdrivers often making the bikes tip over and leaving them in a ditch besides the road (if not worse).
The bike on the right is this year’s outfit of Mirjam. Purple bike, and the ever Orange Helmet. Go Mirjam!