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Relive #Dakar2002 with Annie Seel – Stage 13: Marathon, Part 1

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Relive #Dakar2002 with Annie Seel

STAGE 13, Marathon Part 1: TICHIT-KIFFA (461 km)

Friday 11/1 – Saturday 12/1 2002

Another gruelling marathon stage of a total 1 472 km, just to kill off the last reserve of energy within me… and remember, no service. 

Marathon stage part 1.

Rain the entire day which made the sand very heavy and rutted. The rain also transferred the “dry lake beds” into slippery mud field, that were almost impossible to get through with my little 400 now with very worn tyres. One mud lake was more than 10 km to cross and I skidded down on my side countless times as my feet would not reach the ground when I had to hold up the bike. I was all covered in mud thinking I’d never get across. In all those side landings I hurt my butt again and it started to ache. 

Things continued to “screw up”, the carburettor failed again and I could not get the bike to run after a fall, cost me at least an hour. Smashed the headlight mount just before dark, so the last 100 km I rode trying to find my way with headlights pointing to the left. It took about 5 hours + more falls. Arrived at the half way check point after midnight, totally trashed of tiredness. The supposed 6 hour rest was shortened, only 2 hours before restart. 

Ate, refuelled and managed to get one hour of sleep in the food tent. 

To be continued…


STAGE 13, Second Marathon Stage: 

TICHIT-KIFFA 

Friday 11/1 – Saturday 12/1 2002

Special : 457 km 
Liaison : 4 km

     [break 6 hours]

KIFFA-DAKAR 

Liaison : 450 km 
Special : 165 km 
Liaison : 396 km 
Total : 1 472 km

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Relive #Dakar2002 with Annie Seel – Stage 8

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Relive #Dakar2002 with Annie Seel

STAGE 8: ZOUERAT-ATAR (396 km)
Saturday 5/1 2002

Counting down to rest day… It’s getting really tough now. Riding with a fever for the last 3 days, and my injured hand and thigh is wearing me down.

After yesterday’s stage I just crashed into my tent exhausted and with fever. Last night I woke up many times soaked in sweat of fever, and had to change t-shirt three times. Also I missed out on the evening’s riders briefing, where the organisers informed about a change on the course.

In today’s stage I paid the price of not getting the change of race course! It was tough to realise after an hour’s riding that the organization had added an extra check point, so all I could do was to head back, and luckily found it despite not having the correct road book instructions.

When I was back on track again there were lots of dune riding. As I was very tired and weak I was riding too low a pace and I kept on falling off. The falling off bit was not too bad except sometimes landing on my “blue side”. At one point though, my bike would not start again and I lost an hour getting it going, cleaning the carb and letting the engine cool down. 

At refuel I checked my position, 95th overall. That was a surprise, but the marshals told me many had got stuck or been lost in the dunes before finding the right way. 

I was so happy when I crossed the finish line already arriving about 4 o’clock in the afternoon, even if I lost two hours on mishaps. Many riders arrived much, much, later that evening.

Now time to eat, sleep and rest. 
A little bonus – at the camp site I found a washboard with laundry tub. Perfect! The tub wasn’t big, but I could just manage to sit down in it and have a hot bath, instead of the cold bucket of water in the bivouack.


STAGE 8: ZOUERAT-ATAR
Saturday 5/1 2002

Liaison : 9 km 
Special : 383 km 
Liaison : 4 km 
Total : 396 km

Relive #Dakar2002 with Annie Seel – Stage 7: Marathon, Part 1

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Relive #Dakar2002 with Annie Seel 

STAGE 7: Marathon Part 1
OUARZAZATE-TAN-TAN  (793 km)

Thursday 3/1 2002

The Marathon stage is two stages combined into a total of 1.545 km, where no assistance or service is allowed. You have to manage all by yourself and take care. 

It was an early start this morning, and I felt sick of fever and threw up the little breakfast I had managed to eat. Also my hand and leg were really stiff and sore of pain. 

The morning liaison was long, cold and driven early before sunrise in complete darkness on frightful twisty mountain roads. 

First half of the special I found a good rhythm on rocky tracks. After refuel I slowed my pace to save up for this long marathon stage. But going slower actually wasn’t helping and I tripped over a few times, of course landing on my sore behind. At one point a rider had fallen down a ravine, and I and two other bikers helped drag his bike up again. Luckily he was unhurt. Continued in steady pace including a few stops to rest. Finishing 125th just glad to have made the first half of the marathon. 

I felt like shit, increasing fever in the evening and trying to sleep a few hours before the restart in six hours. I did not long for the second part of the marathon stage. This was going to be a nightmare. 


STAGE 7: Marathon Stage

Part 1: OUARZAZATE-TAN-TAN (793 km)
Thursday 3/1 2002 
Liaison : 176 km
Special : 351 km 
Liaison : 266 km 

[break 6 of hours]

Part 2: TAN-TAN-ZOUERAT  (752 km)
Friday 4/1 2002
Liaison : 365 km 
Special : 371 km
Liaison : 16 km

Total : 1 545 km

Relive #Dakar2002 with Annie Seel – Stage 6

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Relive #Dakar2002 with Annie Seel 

STAGE 6: ER RACHIDIA-OUARZAZATE (576 km)
Wednesday 2/1 2002

The fight of survival to the finish begins…

After a painful night I got up 4 am to start packing my tent and sleeping bag, knowing it was going to be difficult with the broken hand. 
Also visited the medical tent before breakfast to check up on my swollen hematoma. Luckily the doctor said I could continue, but told me it could get much worse if I fell on it again. 

The stage total was 576 kilometres, and the special 338 kilometres. The last 50 kilometres were like my home track, passing through where I had been training with Moto Aventures.

Before start I wrapped medical tape around my broken right hand because I could hardly hold on to the handlebars and the hand felt powerless. 

It was a painful drive and my hand suffered from the constant vibrations and every little rock or bump, and started swelling so I had to remove the tape. Instead I taped the throttle making it easier to hold on and keep the gas rolled on. 

Actually this worked pretty ok and I just focused on riding as easy as I could. 

When reaching the dunes in Erg Chebbi I worried I would get stuck because I couldn’t push my riding, but I found good lines through also passing a few riders lost. The last section was really rocky and there was no chance to ride easy. I counted down to the finish and relief. A 88th place was a little comfort to the pain and fever I was having in the evening. 

I’m thankful Patrick Kevorkian of team Challenge75 helped me in the evening. With a broken hand simple stuff as changing air filter is not so simple. 

Hope to get some sleep and maybe feel better tomorrow. 


STAGE 6: 

ER RACHIDIA-OUARZAZATE

Wednesday 2/1 2002

Liaison : 56 km 

Special : 338 km 

Liaison : 182 km 

Total : 576 km

Relive #Dakar2002 with Annie Seel – Stage 5

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Relive #Dakar2002 with Annie Seel 

STAGE 5: RABAT-ER RACHIDIA

Tuesday 1/1 2002

Finally in Africa. Now the real Dakar begins…

Total 534 km. The special was fun, about 80 kilometres of sandy tracks trough forest and bushes. It had been raining also in north of Morocco, so a few puddles on the track. Everything worked very well until just before the end. I skidded through a puddle ad mud, and fell on my bum and I also hit my right hand. Still I managed to finish 68. But afterwards my hand & bum swelled up. The doctors checked me, but I didn’t dare to say my hand was broken, they already threatened to stop me because of all the blood in my leg, but I managed to persuade them to wait with the decision until next morning.

That night I tried to sleep, but cried because I realised my dakar was going to be hell like trying to finish bruised and with a broken hand. 


STAGE 5: 

RABAT-ER RACHIDIA

Tuesday 1/1 2002

Liaison : 10 km 

Special : 80 km

Liaison : 444 km 

Total : 534 km

Relive #Dakar2002 with Annie Seel – Stage 4

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Relive #Dakar2002 with Annie Seel 
STAGE 4: MADRID-RABAT

Monday 31/12 2001

Up 6.30 in the morning only to be met by rain again. A bit stressful start, had to clean the carburettor again before the bike would fire up. The special was a 5 km mud track again… To avoid engine stall this time the tactic was to never let go of the throttle. As soon as I started I passed several bikes going really slow or had fallen. I kept up the pace, also skidding but managed to keep it upright. Actually now thought it was quite fun in mud passing many other competitors! I arrived to the finish with a big smile on my lips in 52nd position!

After that it was time for some mechanic stuff, change of carburettor (didn’t trust it), cleaned fuel filter and cleaned fuel tanks. I hope the carburettor problem is gone now. Loaded the trailer and continued to the ferry to Morocco.

The new year was celebrated on board the ferry and I was walking around just in woolly socks to let my boots dry. 

At midnight I was invited by French rockstar Johnny Halliday to celebrate the new year together with his crew. I was dressed in my riding gear… because after the boat crossing another 300 kilometres awaited to reach Rabat. Reached bivouack at 4 am which allowed me two hours sleep. 


Liaison : 5 km 

Special : 6 km 

Liaison : 950 km 

Total : 961 km

Relive #Dakar2002 with Annie Seel – Stage 3

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Relive #Dakar2002 with Annie Seel 

STAGE 3: NARBONNE-MADRID

Sunday 30/12 2001

Thanks heaven – a rain break. In total a 930 km stage, but the special today was a short 40 km loop on whirly gravel roads up and down the hills of southern France. I was warned it would be very slippery, so I took it easy. Maybe a little too easy since I came just 127th. Better safe than sorry, most important was not do any mistake and give away time as yesterday. 

Moto Aventures met up at the special and drove the bike on trailer to Madrid, nice since it rained heavily again. Arrived at midnight. Met the Swedish car team Rosenblad/Roos for the first time, it’s also their first Dakar.


Liaison : 25 km 

Special : 35 km 

Liaison : 870 km 

Total : 930 km

Relive #Dakar2002 with Annie Seel – Stage 2

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Relive #Dakar2002 with Annie Seel 

STAGE 2:  CHATEAUROUX-NARBONNE (598 km)

Saturday 29/12 2001 

Up at seven after just a few hours sleep. Quick breakfast. Clothes and boots were still soggy wet, so it was not at all fun to put them on again. Rolled away at 8.40, but had to stop and fix with rattling roadbook and my wet jacket. Missed a turn and came too late to the special, got penalty time for that. 

The first special of the Dakar 2002 consisted of a 6 km loop on wet muddy fields with some jumps. Not what I wanted when I was stiff and cold from the morning ride. Started last and saw many bikes and cars stuck in the field. Also I succeeded with to skid sideways into a stop and lost even more time before I got the bike running again. Carburettor playing up. 

Finished 149 today, not a brilliant start on the race. I also had to stop and clean out the carburettor on the last liaison so it was a late finish at 19.39. A long and bad day. And still a very long way to go.

Liaison : 82 km 

Special : 6 km

Liaison : 510 km

Total : 598 km

Relive #Dakar2002 with Annie Seel – Stage1

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STAGE 1: ARRAS- PARIS -CHATEAUROUX (465 km)

Friday 28/12 2001, 20h00

To roll over the start podium was the most incredible experience I have had. The entire town celebrating and atmosphere was fantastic. People cheered and pounded ones back the entire way out through Arras. Luckily it did not rain when waving to the crowds at the podium … but the rain and sleet began half an hour later – then it was not as fun any more. Just a 465 km drive in the dark cold wet. At 3 o’clock at night I arrived in Chateuaroux, soaking wet and freezing! Drying my boots on the hotel radiator over night. Fell asleep at 4. 


Race Director Hubert Auriol wished me good luck on the journey…
Liaison : 465 km

Total : 465 km

Relive the Dakar 2002 with me! #dakar2002

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Fifteen years ago I was at the starting line of my first Dakar rally. The toughest rally in the world. And the greatest adventure for (wo)man and machine.  This was the classic one, starting in France north of Paris, and finishing by the Lac Rose in Dakar, the capital of Senegal. 

I knew it was going to be hard. But could never imagine all the hardship I encountered. 

Follow my road to Dakar fifteen years ago. 

Starting the evening the 28 of December 2001… feeling like a rock star!


Passing the final check at scrutineering, me and my Honda 400XR sponsored by MotoAventures.com. Ready to go Dakar rally.