Stage 5 -Sandstrom & Cancel of the stage today !
The FIA & FIM will not approve LIVE MAPPING for stages 5 + 6 !
The reason for this is simple! Cars will travel the same time today the route the motorcycles will travel tomorrow! In order to provide a fair competition and not give the factory teams any advantages, one would like to avoid that "SPIES" knowing the route beforehand and pass it on to the teams!
A good approach from the organizers and that's why you can only follow me LIVE today and tomorrow!
What happened today?
A later start (9:00 am) and more pleasant temperatures here in Riyadh will of course accommodate us all in stages 5 & 6 and allow us to experience more fun in our sport. At least that's what many hoped, but it wasn't the cold or the long road stage that bothered us today ...
But it was a surprisingly SANDSTORM which whirled everything upside down and caused the race to be stopped this afternoon!
One of the beautiful moments today - here racing next to Frenchman KEVIN DURAND
After many riders - like me - got lost and the sandstorm got worse and worse at later waypoints, the FIM had to make a momentous decision. The stage was canceled and organizers will have to decide later how to still create a fair valuation and ranking of the riders for this stage.
But that's just the way an "OURDOOR SPORT" is and that's part of it. You LOSE but you also WIN again!
That used to be a pitch-black day for me. After good commendats on my riding yesterday, not paying attention today for a short time has cost me a lot of time in the process!
At the beginning of the stage everything went perfectly and I didn't make any mistakes either. When we followed th track into a canyon, where riding was a pleasure for me, we turned slightly to the right, but better should have kept left to avoid riding the wrong way and canyon. For a moment I thought we'll never find back again.
After a short pee & closer study of the road book, I found the mistake and the way out. Later I found myself in a bunch of some 20 riders, all riding in circles and without a real target ... it was a huge mess and dust everywhere. The next thing I remeber, was this massive sandstorm coming up, where sometimes I wasn't even able to read the Roadbook! At Km 280 the special stage finally was canceled by the A.S.O..
The safety of the riders could no longer be guaranteed, due to the helicopters being not able to start in a sandstorm & the predefined rescue chain would not be in place. Super regulated by the A.S.O. !
Unfortunately, I could hardly sleep last night because my left hand kept falling asleep and I had no more feeling. The same thing that unfortunately had caused me problems with my right hand in Morocco ... let's see how it develops now.
Thanks to my BAS DAKAR team, the bike runs great and I'm still in good shape, both physically and menthaly.
Tomorrow will be on the bike again and will enjoy the rest day on Saturday and relax 👍
The riders were all gathered to start the journey back to the paddock
Here is a small sample of what "Material" the participants in a Dakar race are made from and how great their Will is to ride a Dakar to an end! A WOODEN STICK as a replacement for the broken handlebars and thus the return to the paddock made - like at a Dakar 30 years ago! Congratulations to our Arab motorsport friend Mohammed Al Balooshi ... he is currently running somewhere in 45th overall! Update! He is also healthy and will be back at the line tomorrow morning!
A wooden stick used as handlebars! ... first take up the idea, then put it into reality & then return to the paddock!