Day 8 – into the heart of the beast

The day started early as usual and by 7am we already has a
few k’s under our wheels, as we meandered out of Iquique, heading
to Copiapo to spend some time with the full race teams, mechanics
and press. The ride was well rewarded early on when we visited the
South American icon for the Dakar, The Hand of Atacama, a thirty
foot stone carving emerging out of the desert floor. Sadly, as with
all amazing tourist sites, wrestling for a quick pose opp took a
spot of time and I gained top beer points by removing the loo paper
from the foot of the hand – nice! A cool character arrived while we
were setting the team up for the photo opp. Riding straight into
the middle of our shoot, a Dutch traveller, Thorarse Furtherider
(as I named him) pulled his bike and trailer straight under the
hand. A Harley rider with a thirty year old bike that had more than 500,000
miles including 7 Dakars on his bike. Later we heard the gent was a
real Dakar icon who we saw mobbed in town after town down the road.
After an hour of pics, we jumped back into the saddle and 550km’s
of sand, wind, curves and more sand than anywhere else I have ever
seen. And did I mention the wind?! Why Chile isn’t the wind farm
capital of the world amazes us all – there’s been a constant 50mph
gail blowing the whole part of this trip, sand blasting our faces
and bikes constantly. We reached the “bivawack” HQ ten hours later,
knackered but totally charged to spend time with the vehicles that
we’d watched power through feet of sand this last week. Vehicles
were being water blasted to shake off the dirt, mechanics worked
like ants fixing the days issues and others slept like dead men
after working through the night and morning shift. I chatted with
one great racer I’d wanted to connect with, Simon Pavey, a Brit who
trained and stared in The Long Way Down and Long Way Round with
Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman. Simon was not only racing his
seventh Dakar, but amazingly racing the 9,000km of The Dakar whilst
being the sole mechanic on his bike! When we were chatting, he was
replacing part of his sub frame that had snapped mid dune. Nuts! We
spent a while nattering early evening with the Paris based media
teams in the camp (120 in all) and wrapped up the day at the rider
briefing in French then English for the next day – fascinating! The
day wrapped in a local restaurant where we ate more meet than a
starved tyrannosaurus and crashed asleep in the traditional way of
this trip, within seconds.


About willindakar

Every few years I try and embark on a trip that takes me to places, both physically and mentally, far beyond anywhere I have been before, as a CEO or father. Climbing the highest summits of Antarctica and Europe, diving with Great White sharks, Motorbiking the highest road in the world are a few of the boxes I've ticked - but the trip i am about to depart for should be one of the most testing. Riding with the hardest land race in the world - The Dakar 2011.
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10 Responses to Day 8 – into the heart of the beast

  1. itfben says:

    incredible pics, amazing write up 🙂
    that hand is amazing! you look a tad red in the cheeks fella 🙂


  2. Jeremy Graham says:

    Very good,nice pics,glad all going well.

    • Another congratulations to you all, but we think you are definitely all mad. We appreciated the comments on the Chilean wind. Although our memories are totally different, WE enjoyed Chile but in a less arduous way.

      Love, Dad and Elizabeth.

  3. Jason says:

    Cool pics dude, remember the sunscream (geddit)

  4. Russell says:

    Great photos…Seems a lot of the interesting people your around are repeaters of the Dakar…I wonder if you will be too….Its great your still able to write and upload photos. I look forward to reading/seeing what happens tomorrow. Be safe!
    El and the boys are cheering for ya as well!

  5. Dave Taylor says:

    I’m loving it Will. living the rally vicariously through
    you… safe at home with a cold beer! Its truly amazing stuff mate.
    Keep going and keep safe.

  6. Sian Travis says:

    Hey Will, Girls heard your voicemail, they waited for your
    call again. I’ll make sure they see these latest pics etc over
    breakfast in the morning before school.They miss you loads. Take
    care you nutter! Sian

  7. zhanna says:

    Wow babes! Great pics! Love the updates! Keep them coming!
    Ride on baby!
    Love you so so much! Miss you LOADS!
    -me 🙂

  8. Michael Natenzon says:

    The stone hand is REALLY cool! Im glad you’re having a great experience, and i wish to see you soon! Good luck on the rest of the ride, and drive safe! Love – Mike

  9. Peter says:

    Hello Mate we are watching the Eurosport coverage every day
    so get in on one of their cameras so we can see you. They need to
    do a pievce on Will not Coma and Carlos Sainz. Lovin it mate lovin
    it. Stay safe.

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