TOP 8 TIPS FOR FINISHING THE DAKAR RALLY AS A ROOKIE
Adventure Motorcycle (ADVMoto)|May-June 2020
This year I competed in and finished The Dakar Rally 2020. I set out to do the seemingly impossible encouraged by Nathan Rafferty, who raced and finished last year’s Dakar as a rookie with the same number (104). An enormous amount of time was spent training to start the race mentally and physically prepared. The race is incredibly challenging, with an estimated attrition rate of around 35% over the course of two weeks. This turned out to be a great year to race, as Americans won both the motorcycle and side-by-side classes for the first time in more than 40 years of the race’s history. I was fortunate to witness these enormous feats and, along the way, learned some important lessons to share with aspiring contenders.
Kyle McCoy

1 START THE ENTIRE PROCESS WITH THE RIGHT FRAME OF MIND

I told myself from the outset (and had advice from Jimmy Lewis) that my goal was simply to finish on this first attempt. This race tends to attract competitive people (and I’m no different) but the attrition is incredibly high, and it tends to stem from early-stage crashes or late-stage mechanical failures. Even with the goal of simply finishing, you must tell yourself you will not quit no matter what, unless your life or long-term physical well-being depend on it.

2 GET YOURSELF A MENTOR

The ASO (Amaury Sport Organization is the French company that organizes the race, and also The Tour de France) this year implemented a reduction in entry fee for rookies with a mentor who is a veteran in the race. The veteran entrant also receives a fee discount. In my case I was lucky enough to have Andrew Short (Husqvarna factory racer) agree to be mine. He didn’t do this because of a small fee discount, but because he’s about as good a person and leader as there is in the sport of motorcycle racing. He helped me enormously with details of preparation, gear selection and logistics. I can’t thank him enough and recommend any rookie do the same.

3 RESEARCH AND HIRE A SUPPORT TEAM THAT HAS DEEP EXPERIENCE

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