Of all the ways to do the Dakar – the Marathon class (Malle Moto) would have to be the toughest
Aussie Scott Britnell from the Southern Highlands of NSW is competing in his maiden Dakar Rally in the difficult Malle Moto class which sees him compete without any form of assistance. No support crew, no mechanic – just the bike, the rider and a metal chest 100 x 40 x 40cm to hold all the spares, tools and any personal belongings.
Quick update after Stage 4 by Aussie Scott Britnell at Dakar Rally
Yesterday I stuck to my plan of focusing on getting the navigation squared. Unless your up with the front runners, it just doesn’t make sense to push! I would have said that yesterday was an honest slog. At the refuel yesterday before a short 200km liaison, I noticed that my fork leg had come completely unscrewed and was pissing oil bad. I managed to save the thread from damage and had to stop every 15-20km to tighten it by hand.
Last night I tightened it properly, and took a very bad shortcut (assuming that all the oil had leaked out),
So tipped in a complete quantity. That’s where things started to go bad for me today.
After a short liaison on the highway, we rode 5km off track to the beach start. I noticed that something wasn’t right with the suspension. I normally have a full 300+ mm of very nice suspension. Today it was offering less than a quarter of that. The bike was like riding a brick, and I knew I was in for a challenging day. Straight off the beach, the first lump I hit, threw me clean off in a pile of dust. I persisted for another 100km of some pretty gnarly rocks. Pure focus on trying to avoid anything bigger than a cricket ball, as I knew it wasn’t going to end well.
Eventually, after a few close calls, I decided to stop and remove the bleed valve m, pump the forks a lot and watch the fork spit some of the excess oil all over me and the bike.
So, now with still less than a third of suspension Travel, it was time to tackle some pretty wicked dunes. Being cautious still, the dunes were thought work, and resulted in burning my clutch out.
Tough gig from there, with regular stops to let the engine cool off, and regain some composure. Also stopped to help a Bolivian quad rider get his quad out of a predicament that cost me another hour and another cup full of calories!!
Limped Home and set to work on sorting the forks and replacing the clutch, along with the usual servicing needs!
A quick pit stop to the medical tent for some patching, a shower and a feed.
Now it’s 11:00pm and I’m up and at again at 4:00am.
Tomorrow is claimed to be the toughest dunes on this year’s schedule. Think I’ll sleep on it and worry about tomorrow when somebody kicks me in the ribs to get up!
Tomorrow is the first serious liaison after a 260km Stage, it’s another 400 boring road miles!! Yay..
The body is a little beaten, but the spirit is still where it needs to be to face whatever they throw at us in the morn….