Shocker to me…

Let me catch up those that aren’t fans yet. The Dakar Rallye started as the Paris-Dakar Rallye 30 years ago. It has always been a high performance, cross-country event. A few years ago, the Paris part of the name was dropped
Creative Commons License photo credit: Omer Simkha.

And, yes, it has been through Timbuktu…

Traditionally, the race has run in the first couple of weeks of January. It is a stage race, and the competitors race almost every day for almost two weeks. The coolest thing, I my ever so humble opinion, is that the “support vehicles” have to be entered in the race. The “Truck Class” is incredible. It is just unnatural to see a 40,000 pound truck drifting through a turn at high speed… or launching through the air in the desert.
Creative Commons Licensephoto credit: .Robert.

This year’s event (2008) had to be canceled due to terrorist threats. This is the first time the organizers didn’t feel they could guarantee the safety of the competitors from outside forces (the racing is dangerous enough).

Instead of damaging the even further, by having a similar cancellation for 2009, the organizers have decided to move the event to South America. Competitors will race in Argentina and Chile. Those countries have been talking with event organizers for quite some time. Understandably, their is significant economic impact from hosting an event of this magnitude.

Aside from the terrific exposure, the tourism dollars and money spent by the teams in support of the race can be considerable. Just to give an idea, American Desert Racer and NASCAR racer Robby Gordon lost $1M because of the cancellation of the 2008 event. That wouldn’t include things like parts and such that could be used for a future event.

The real losers in this move are the people of Northern Africa. They will no longer be the beneficiaries of the Dakar Rallye.

Here are a couple of bonus videos. The first is a highlight from one of the truck brands. The second is highlights from the 2007 event.

If you are in the mood to showcase your tough vehicle… I could probably locate a couple of guys that would be happy to take it to South America and race it for you… It’s only money, right?