garry connell

Many riders are gone, others are going on…

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Annie & Garry #366 were unfortunate in this rally, as the engine died just after finishing stage 5.
So was our team mate #386 Yasir & Lauren, the gear box broke half way on stage 5.

But our Team XtremePlus is still in the race! The cars #350 William and #364 Nicolas & Sebastien, are stable on positions around 48-50.

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#350 William (solo) #364 Nicolas & Sebastien

dakar2014-truck552_640x420#350 had problems with the front suspension on stage 7. #364 tried to help but luckily the truck came to rescue – again – so everybody could continue. But they finished a little too late. It was very windy and dusty.
It seems they are driving together and thus “sharing” the codriver Sebastien, as William drives solo.
The truck #552 (Piana, Cangani, Trote) is also still in the game, position around 42. 

Recently noticed:
There are a couple of Estonian bikers doing quite well. Nice to see other riders from northern Europe in Dakar! These Dakar rookies are #117 Meeru, pos 42, and #133 Triisa, pos 59, both taking it easy and safe – very wise.

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#117 Mart Meeru #133 Toomas Triisa

Good luck to all of them, and the others struggeling in the dunes and mountains , enduring heat, sandstorms, cold, rain… and even suffering from painful injuries.


Leaving the Dakar rally 2014. Goodbye!

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These photos tell the end of story, after the damaged oil line.

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The helping truck arrives… … with the handymen.

Towed to bivouac in the night. (Photo: David Trenholm)

Repairing, adjusting cleaning, mending, fixing for hours

#366 crossed out

The Turtle (Flying sofa?) gets a ride on a trailer …

… and leaves an empty bivouac behind.

Adios amigos… 😦

Dakar lessons

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I’ve learned a lot about racing a car in Dakar. Many riders think the courses, so far, have been very difficult.

dakar2014-annie-garry-in-buggy_640x480But we feel the driving has been okay. Sure, very long days but not too tough. And the navigation worked perfectly. Garry didn’t have any problems at all driving – he used his head, chose the best tracks, no stucking in sand. He really has the capacity needed to finish Dakar.

The reason for us quitting was simply a technical matter, a minor glitch that caused a major breakdown. So unnecessary and unfair. But, that’s Dakar…

Garry: “This is what stopped us, a chaffed $50 external oil feed line to the oil cooler !!!!
If you have any, and I mean ANY weak links in either yourself, your race vehicle or your assistance team, preparations or strategy, Dakar WILL find them and your rally will be over!” 

Our white team truck #552 with Marco helping out on stage 4. 

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Checking everything from top  … to bottom.

There are other severe conditions during this race, causing problems.
The weather has been extremly hot, around 40 C. Several contestants have suffered from heat exhaustion and dehydration. Some accidents probably are the consequenses. Even deaths have hit competitors, journalists and spectators lately.

A top biker #5 Chaleco Lopez fell from an edge in a river bed, the bike crashed, thus out of race. Luckily no bad bodily injuries.
He was my Honda team mate in Patagonia rally 2005.

Stage 4. A long way to ride

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San Juan – Chilecito. First a 211 km timed section, then a 111 km neutralised sector raced at a link section pace, and then another timed section 205 km long. Specials in total 657 km. Highest point to reach is at over 3200 m.
“The longest special stage since 2005 for the cars and a really demanding route in the countryside! Rivers and canyons will offer terrains with interesting possibilities to overtake fellow competitors!”

The connection road. 

Standings this stage: pos 83, 12:21:39 (+7:01:07)
Total pos 75.

Photo by Marie Hessel

This was a nightmare stage! Never ending course, in total 868 km. Mainly the same track as in 2011 when I got big problems – leaking oil and engine stopped.

Already at 133 km the engine stopped, loosing all oil. We worked hard to find the leak. It was 35dgr, the sun burning, we stood in a dusty floodbed. The engine is cramped for space, hard to get hands on the problem. Our team partner Yasir passed by, but couldn’t help.
At last the “angel of salvation” team boss Marco Piana came in his rally truck #552, also our service truck just in case. After a long time we found the leaking oil line. We fixed a bypass disconnecting the oil cooler.


Then we could get on the road again, but very slowly so the oil wouldn’t overheat. We were rolling quite well even when it got late night when approaching the finish.
But the last waypoint was tricky! Many cars and trucks were driving around lost in the darkness. Really no fun, we just wanted this to end. And we did reach the finish at last, then only 167 km connection to drive. But after only a few km all oil pressure was gone. Luckily Marco was just behind us and towed us to the bivouac.
So great to have a service truck of your own, always taking you home! I wish I’d had one when racing alone on my bike encountering all those mishaps.
We arrived at the bivouac around 3 in the morning.
Bodily damage: my butt was quite sore after this 20 hours sitting on a bumpy ride.

The mechanichs did their best  to fix the oil line and engine, all night and morning.

Too bad Yasir must quit the race halfway of the stage due to broken gearbox.

Stage 3. Tricky, narrow and mountain high

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San Rafael – San Juan.
Due to the severe weather of the last few days – rain has flushed away some soil – the special section this stage should have been shortened. But as the weather got better the special was finished as originally planned, 245 km.

Tricky and narrow tracks, up to 3000 m height – great scenery! Some fast stony parts, also on food beds, and feshy at the end.
Stage time 4:42:17 (var +1:43:25), pos 80.
Total 74th, 3rd in SSV class!

Good morning, happy at start 

Our strategy was the old “rabbit vs turtle” – it worked well! Our team Turtle finished slow but safe, no problems. And hooray – no flat tyres! (Peterhansel had 6!)

VIDEO by Marie Hessel (swedish)
Annie tells about stage 3: super “turtle strategy”, mission completed.


Rocks and ravines 

Bad news, Pål Anders Ullevålseter, bike #20, must abandon the rally due to engine problems.

Stage 2. Flat tyres – 3 times

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San Luis – San Rafael, SS Cars 433 km. It’s been long and tough for most competitors. Quite speedy tracks and parts through rough stone areas and over great dunes.

Annie & Garry finished the stage at about 21:15 local time, timed on the special stage 8:31:35 (var +4:39:30). Position 83.  


Annie: “Only 50-60 km into the stage we got a flat tyre, and then another… we have only 2 spare wheels. So we had to slow down and drive cautiously, the stones are very edgy and hidden in the sand! Then there was that really nasty fesh-fesh, that blew all over us – everywhere – couldn’t see anything.
And then 40 km from finish one more flat tyre. So annoying, but we managed to fix one of the other flatties with a vulcanite plug. 

Many riders stood along the track with flat tyres, including our team mate Saedan. One car was totally burnt out, also a truck upside-down in the ditch. 

Fesh-wash at night

This track was in the same soft dunes where I fell badly in 2009, broke my nose and got the handlebar bent – then it was raining and hailing all night. (*)” 

Look back in this blog 2009-Jan Dakar:
2009/01/11/smashing-stage-5/ (pictures)

* *
Anticipations on this day – before start. Video transmitted by Marie Hessel:

Cooling off in the hot weather. And look at the dog! (hot or in heat?) 

Photos by Judith Tomaselli

Dakar – stage 1 done

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Rosario – San Luis, SS 180 km
Cars #366 Pos 86, time 3:10:04 (var 0:49:28). 5th in buggy class!

Spectators enjoying a shower in the terrible heat. 

Annie & Garry are in a good mood and have done well, in spite of some problems with brakes. They got lost early in the stage, and Garry must adjust his driving, using the motor to slow down the speed.
So, it was quite exciting as the stage was rather difficult.

Connell/Seel: “Splendid stage! The terrain was like it is in Australia, in the Safari Rally. Stones, narrow, sinuous… It was awesome, I had so much fun! We passed Robby Gordon twice, and also Ronan Chabot, it was fun! Only our brakes suffered due to the hot temperature and of all the braking.”

Video (on

Happy finishing stage 1 

Evening activities:
preparing the roadbook for tomorrow and changing socks.

Svenska Dagbladet 2014-01-05:
A summary of Annies past adventures and some goals for the coming – to reach the finish line for the 22th time. This time as the codriver to Garry Connell in a buggy.

Ready, steady, go!

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The super team seated in the Flying Sofa hitting the first stage

Annie & Garry hiding behind helmets and sunglasses

Garry driving

Annie navigating

At the start line

Newspaper & video clips

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Svenska Dagbladet 2013-12-19
Klicka på bild för full storlek i ny flik!

Artikel i korthet, publicerad på nätet 17 december 2013:

Seel tillbaka i Dakarrallyt

En svår axelskada såg ut att stoppa motorcykelföraren Annie Seel från att ställa upp i fler Dakarrallyn.

Men efter nyår står den 45-åriga svenskan på startlinjen igen, den här gången som kartläsare i en buggy tillsammans med den australiske föraren Garry Connell.

Sammanlagt 9 374 kilometer – för den som mot förmodan hela tiden lyckas hålla sig till kortaste vägen – ska avverkas i nära 50-gradig ökenvärme, längs slingriga bergsvägar och i isande kyla på 4 500 meters höjd i Anderna.

– Det blir sjätte rallyt för mig och jag har aldrig brutit, så mål nummer ett är att komma i mål, säger Seel inför tävlingen som börjar i Argentina den 5 januari och avslutas i Chile 13 dagar senare.

– Men om allt går riktigt bra hoppas vi på en femteplats i vår klass.

Sveriges Television VIDEO clips 
Från pressvisningen dec 2013:
Svt Gomorron Sverige 2013-12-19:

Pressinfo: Annie Seel byter mc mot bil i Dakar 2014

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PRESSINFO 2013-12-17

Annie Seel byter bil mot mc i Dakar 2014

Annie Seel byter mc mot bil i Dakar 2014 som codriver åt australiensaren Garry Connelle i Team Xtreme Plus
Annie Seel byter mc mot bil i Dakar 2014 som codriver åt australiensaren Garry Connell i Team Xtreme Plus.
Foto: Judith Tomaselli, fri användningsrätt i media.

Hösten 2013 bildebuterade Annie Seel i sitt första ökenrally som co-driver tillsammans med australiensaren Garry Connell. Duon tog hem segern i SSV RALLY buggy klassen och kom 4a totalt i Merzougarallyt i Marocko.

Denna lyckade premiär som co-driver gav Annie förnyat förtroende att åka med i Dakarrallyt som körs 5-18 januari 2014 genom Argentina, Bolivia och Chile.
Connell/Seel har startnummer #366 i bilklassen T3-SSV BUGGY.

Annie Seel satsar nu på bil i ökenrallysammanhang efter att en axelskada tvingat henne att lämna tävlandet på motorcykel. Det här inhoppet som co-driver är bara början. Det stora målet är att köra egen bil i Dakarrallyt.

Fakta Annie Seel
Längd: 163 cm Vikt: 55 kg Ålder: 45
Yrke: Marknadsekonom, egen företagare inom marknadsföring och design, föreläsare och äventyrare.
Bor: Täby, Stockholm
Klubb: Kungliga Automobilklubben
Motto: Ger mig aldrig
Idol: Zlatan & Lara Croft ”Tomb Raider”
Pryl: Diskmaskin & mobil
Mat: Stekt strömming
Alterego: Rallyprinsessan

Meriter i urval

Meriter MC:
5 genomförda Dakarrallyn av 5 starter (2002, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011).
 Seger Damklass Dakar 2010, 45a totalt av 250 startande i mc-klassen. 
VM guld 2004, Womens Cup Rally Raid.
 Silver Nordiskt Mästerskap Enduro Damer 2010. 
Världsrekord 2003: högsta kvinna på Mt Everest med mc, 5305 m.

Meriter BIL:
Seger SSV Rally-klassen, Merzouga Rally Marocko 2013.
 Segrare 1300-klassen Midnattssolsrallyt 2012 och 2013. 
German Offroad Masters 2012, 24-timmars lagtävling, 23e plats. 
Krutcupen, 2:a Gruscupen 2012

Meriter ÖVRIGT:
Korad till Årets Kvinnliga Äventyrare 2005.
Totalt 21 genomförda ökenrallyn av 21 starter.

Följ Annie Seel
Facebook: Annie Seel
Twitter: @AnnieSeel
Instagram: @annieseel

Presskontakt: Marie Hessel,

Ladda ner pressinfo som PDF: AnnieSeel-Dakar2014-infoblad-web