I’m not sure if anyone is still looking at this blog. Nothing has happened on it for some months but I’m in rally mode again so perhaps it is time for the DesertBlog to come back to life.
The Tuareg Rallye runs from the 27th of March to the 4th of April starting and ending in southern Spain and running down through Morocco to Merzouga then back up again. A 9 day Rally Raid that I did once before in 2008, it seems to have a much bigger entry and to have taken on greater significance in the Rally Raid world in recent years.
The KTM525 that I took to Dakar is being dug out of the shed for one final run. She needs a little bit of care and attention but (apart from looking a bit battered) is not in a bad state. The body that I took to the Dakar is not as fit as it was then but I’ve been doing a lot of mountain biking, running and duathlons in recent months so hopefully I’ll be fit enough.
Support will once again be provided by Patsy Quick’s Desert Rose Racing and I’m looking forward to meeting up with the team again. I’m also looking forward to racing alongside Mike Shepherd (Dakar 2009), Duncan Tweedy (Dakar 2010) and Mike Robertson (Enduro d’Agadir 2006/7). Should be good fun with all of them.
It will be interesting to see how I feel about racing in the desert again. After the Dakar I largely lost interest in racing and although watching the 2011 Dakar made me feel a bit out of things, I didn’t really want to be in amongst the tough stuff again. I’d have been happy to do the photographs, sign the autographs and get the attention but not so happy to do the 600km special stages. However, now that I’m into final preparations for the Tuareg I’m beginning to feel “fired up” again. We shall see.
It is interesting to examine my motivation and wonder if others are the same. There were so many things surrounding the Dakar as an event that I didn’t really take in because I was so focussed on racing and finishing. Hopefully the Tuareg will be a bit more relaxed.
The key to the Tuareg as a race is the middle section. Days 3, 4 and 5 are all “loop” stages starting and ending in Merzouga and spent mostly in sand dunes. Day 3 is a long stage with three separate Erg crossings. Day 4 is the “King Stage” spent in the dunes at Erg Chebbi. In 2008 I took the race day by day but this time I will try to save some energy in anticipation of these tough days.
So, final tweeks to the bike need done – Crawford at CCA Designs is fitting some fresh graphics. Most of my kit from Dakar will get dusted down and used again – thanks to Kriega for replacing my R8 waistpack which for some reason didn’t make it back from the Dakar. One week to go then I’ll be trucking the bike south to Desert Rose.
The weekend after that I go to watch AJ in the Rome Marathon then the weekend after that the Rally starts. I will try to update when I can on Twitter and on the blog.