hardships

#Dakar 2015. All that fixing and repairing…

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How many mishaps and broken parts can one bear!?

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Stage 2. We are waiting for our team mates 411 and 424 and helping them.
424 quit on this stage, the same where we spent the night outdoors.

paul-cleans-airfilter_500x280 VIDEO Youtu.be/ujpFxwFHro0
Stage 2. Paul cleans the air filter.

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Team mate 411 turned over on stage 3. The car was badly wrecked and beyond repairing.
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Nothing to do but leave the race 😦

VIDEO
Youtube.com/watch?v=VMS6kRd6xW8 (Polish speaker)
At 1:10 / Car 394 in bivouac for reparing. (Photo below)
At end of video / Car 411 after the crash.

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Our car 394 had several punctuations, wishbone cracked twice, power steering broken, overheated clutch etc…
Beacause all reparations took so long 394 was late for start on stage 6, and that was the end of this race.
Later everything was fixed and the car could roll on, but only as assistant for other competitors – and for fun and training.

But look here – this is where the mechanic expert seems to be hiding!
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In this rally the sweeper truck was really busy, collecting all broken vehicules from the tracks – mostly at night.
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Unless even the sweeper truck needed a sweeper of its own…
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——————-
s3 NY POST till 6 jan (del B), kl 23.50:

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#Dakar 2015, stage 5. Still struggeling

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Jan 8, stage 5. Copiapo – Antofagasta.
Special 458 km, total 632 km.
91 cars at start at 12:14 local time, Annie as the last about13:30.

Another long and exhausting day – and late night.
We drove quite well until check point 3. Then the gear started to mess and sounded really bad during the last 34 km, like a threshing machine. A miracle it still works at all. We prayed it would last the whole way. We drove 25-30 km/h the last part of the stage.
We reached finish at about 1 at night – at last.
Then 60 more km to bivouack. Could not make more than 50 km/h. But only a few kilometers from bivouac the gear crashed totally. Luckily some race trucks came along and could tow us the last bit. We arrived at 3:30.
And the mechanics got nightwork again changing the gear box and other fixing – hopefully they make it in time.
I am sooo tired now, and one more short night!

dakar2015-s4-team-mechanic-car_200VIDEO

Youtu.be/qjTWkVHFkRQ
Between stage 4-5. Team mechanic Kev Stubbs fixing Annies 394 late at night and telling about the problems.

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Ännu en lång och tuff dag – och sen natt.
Körde på hela vägen till check point 3. Där fick vi problem med växellådan. Den lät fördjävligt sista 34 km, som ett tröskverk. Ett under att den fortfarande gick! Vi höll tummarna att den skulle hålla ända fram. Körde sista biten av etappen i 25-30 km/h. Äntligen i mål ca kl 1 på natten.
Sedan ytterligare 60 km till bivacken. Kunde hålla max 50 km/h. Men bara någon kilometer innan pajade växellådan helt. So tur var kom ännu några racer truckar förbi och kunde ta oss på släp sista biten. Framme vid 3:30.
Och mekanikerna måste nattjobba igen med byte av växellåda och andra reparationer – hoppas bara de hinner.
Fyyy vad jag är trött, och ännu en kort natt!

#Dakar2015, stage 2 – like hell

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Jan 5. Villa Carlos Paz – San Juan

Just gått i mål. En helvetes-sträcka!
Samma som dödade min motorcykel i dakar 2011.

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My feshy face

Första 400 km körde jag kanon. Fast vi fick ligga bakom våra andra förare och det gick långsamt. Sen kom de sista 100 km med bara fesh-fesh vegetation, sandspår och alla satt fast.

VIDEO
Driving in the terrible fesh-fesh:
Youtu.be/0W6v86l1QJg

Vi hjälpte våra andra förare i teamet, så till sist började kopplingen att slira. Paul försökte fixa men den funkade illa pga det tunga underlaget. I ca 100 km kämpade vi, blev även bogserade av en annan tävlande, tills det var bara 40 km kvar, där vi blev fast i en uppförsbacke. Kom inte vidare och måste sova ute.
På morgonen hade kopplingen svalnat och funkade lite bättre. Fortsatte sedan med stort besvär. Släppte ut luft ur däcken för att klara sandbackarna uppför.

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Puncture

Tyvärr fick vi ännu fler problem på sträckan. Inte bara kopplingen pajade. Också servo-styrningen gick sönder, det blev nästan omöjligt att styra. Paul körde och använde alla armkrafter för att ratta. Kanske därför vi råkat ut för alla missöden. Vi fick också både punktering (se bild), bröt bakre bärarm och satt nergrävda i fesh-fesh.

Vi klarade oss till bivacken först på förmiddagen 6 jan ca kl 11. Och vi får fortsätta till etapp 3!!! Har 2 timmar för service, sedan på’t igen!

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Rolling okay at start. Photo by RallyRaid UK

Just finished this stage – it was like hell. 
The same stage that killed my bike in dakar 2011.

The first 400 km I drove just great. But we had to stay behind our team fellows and it went slow.
The last 1oo km was fesh-fesh vegetation, tracks in sand and everybody got stuck.
We helped our mates but then the clutch slipped. Paul tried to fix it, but driving was heavy in the sandy tracks. We struggled hard on about 100 km, got even towed by some other car to some 40 km from finish – then we got stuck on a sandy track uphill. Could not proceed anymore, had to spend the night outdoors.

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Clutch

In the morning the cluth had cooled and worked a little better. We went on with great effort. We also let air out of tires to make it upphill in the sand.
And more problems: power steering broke, almost impossible to turn. So Paul had to drive, we only had time to fix the clutch before restart.
In stage we also had flat tyre, broke a wishbone, and got stuck in the fesh-fesh. All adding up to another late finish. Paul was really tired after musceling the car without power steering.

We arrived at the bivouac in the morning. And we can continue to the stage 3! We have 2 hours for service, then we hit the road again.

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Broken wishbone

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.

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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…

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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!” 

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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.