America desert racer Ricky Brabec is in Paraguay awaiting the start of the Dakar Rally tomorrow. Here’s what he has to say:
Here we are in Paraguay getting ready for the Dakar. It’s a bit better for me to be here this year because last year was my first year, so now I have more experience. I’ve had a lot more time on the bike and a lot more training has been done in California and Africa as well as Chile. I’m a lot more confident and comfortable this year and the team and riders are more prepared than ever with all the testing that has been done in recent months. Tomorrow is the first day so we’ll see how that goes and today is the final day of rest and preparation. I think most of us are ready to get the job done. At the Dakar there will be hard days and easy days, long days and short days. As far as altitude goes, I went to Bolivia last year and seemed to do fine. They are ramping it up a bit as 14,000 feet is a lot of elevation. 4,000 metres is a lot to be risking our race at. Up there there’s no oxygen, you try to push but you can’t breathe. Your head might explode. It’s going to be tough and very different from racing on the desert floor. We will have to manage ourselves and ride smart. Last year I had little or no experience riding a rally bike, so this time I’ve spent more time at that testing with Taichi and Johnny in California, doing navigation with Jimmy Lewis and being sent out to Africa and Chile with the Honda guys. This year I have a lot more experience than last year so I’m excited to get it going.