Interesting facts about the Dakar Rally
The organizer of the legendary Paris-Dakar auto marathon is the French motorcyclist Thierry Sabin. In 1977, the 28-year-old adventurer lost his way in the African desert Tenere. He survived by a miracle – he was found by local nomads. You would think that the hapless motorcycle racer forever refused to race on the sand? Nothing of the kind, he came up with an even more adventurous idea – to arrange an intercontinental marathon on the route Paris – Dakar. In 1978, 80 cars, 12 trucks and 90 motorcycles went to start in Paris.
The participants had a difficult task – to overcome about 10,000 km from the capital of France to the capital of Senegal. The racers only finished in three weeks, and of the 182 crews, only 74 got to Dakar. And the fastest was the Frenchman Cyril Neva.
He overcame the extreme distance on a Yamaha XT500 motorcycle. For many years, these races were called “Paris – Dakar”. Although the route has changed several times. Until 2007, only one tradition was preserved – the route started or finished in Dakar. In 2008, the race did not take place due to the threat of terrorist acts, and in 2009 they were transferred to South America. And the competitions themselves began to be called simply “Dakar”. The rules of these races are democratic – anyone, including an amateur athlete, can apply for participation. True, there are few of them now, participation in competitions is not very cheap.
The prize for the winners is the Golden Bedouin statuette. The stylistic figure is really made of gold. Her silhouette resembles the representative of the people of Tuareg. It was these nomads who were rescued in their time by Thierry Sabine. In the first races there was no division into classes and categories. Both cars and motorcycles competed in the overall standings. Only in 1980, the format changed – the winners began to be determined in three classes: cars, trucks and motorcycles. Since 2009, they have also added racers on quads. Already in the first race took five Soviet cars “Niva” VAZ -2121. The release of this SUV has just begun in the Soviet Union. True, in 1978 the French racers started on the Nivas. Two our cars reached the finish. The best result is 28th place. In the future, “Niva” more than once participated in these supermarathons.
The clear favorite in the truck class is our domestic KAMAZ. A few days ago, the winner of the race was Russian Eduard Nikolaev. This is the sixteenth victory of our racers at KAMAZ. And what was the fate of Thierry Sabine, who gave the world these popular auto racing? His life was cut short by tragedy. On January 14, 1986, he died in Mali, when the helicopter in which he was stationed fell into a sandstorm. They crashed with him: pilot Francois-Xavier Bagnou, singer Daniel Balavoine, journalist Natalie Odent, and radio engineer at French radio Jean-Paul Lefuk. At one time, the Vatican opposed this race. In the official Vatican newspaper, Osservatore Romano, the Dakar rally was described as bloody and irresponsible.