Everyday feelings of those who are not specially famous but who dare the challenge and give a dream for those who stay behind...
ART OF SPEED
"Joel Smets (Mercedes) - Bel - n.235
"For quite some years, my dream was to do the Dakar. In the past I would watch the performances of Jacky Ickx and Gaston Rahier, who are stars in Belgium. I'm really attracted by this adventure. I love competition and I'm a professional sportsman. I have won World titles in motocross but this Dakar is something else. There are amazing landscapes. Live and survive in such an adventure, all together, is great. Despite all circumstances, the important thing is to carry on, to give everything and to improvise. That's fine with me. On the rally I use my experience of motocross and professional sports. You have to be able to stay calm and under pressure to analyse the events and find solutions. In the desert, you have to stay calm and react quickly. I really have fun alongside my pilot. As soon as I entered the car, I knew that Jacky Loomans was an excellent pilot who knows his job. Even when I miss out on something, he has the experience to catch up my mistakes. When I see the dunes, it makes me want to compete on a bike. On the other hand the rocks and stones don't attract me very much. I'm happier in a car. The bikers are very fast and have the experience of enduro. Motocross is a lot different and isn't an advantage on this type of race. I'm used to going very quickly but only for a short moment. Here you have to go slower but the effort lasts a few weeks. I'd like to try but it might not be a good idea because I have a season to do after. I prefer the adventure in a car."
"Eric Farge (Toyota) - Sen - n°273
"I'm a Senegalese pilot, doing the Dakar for the 8th year under the colors of the Senegalese Federation. This year, I'm very very happy to go to Sharm El Sheikh. During all these years, I've been through Mauritania and Mali but discovering new landscapes and different countries is fantastic.If the organistaion decided to go to other countries or start from a different plave than France, I would be even happier. In the car I'm with an eye-doctor from Paris, Jean-Mark Ancel who was dreaming of doing the rally. The only little problem is that I only had a bike budget so he had to help me out for us to start the car race. He's not really used to racing but he's learning day after day. He is making a lot of efforts. He's very cautious in navigation. And in the sand, I'm not too bad. Our car is not very powerful with a 163 horse power engine but it goes through anything. Driving a car isn't a big change for me compared to the bike. I've done the Dakar 6 times on two wheels and have nothing to prove. I finished 27th in 2000. In 2001, I broke both my arms two days before the finish while I was in 23rd place. I had decided to stop for various reasons. I consider that riding a bike when you're over fourty is fun but too stressful. There's a time for everything. Driving a car is cooler and better for our families who feel reassured. It's an other kind of motivation. I've see all the Dakar rally finishes. When I was younger I would take of from Dakar with a 20litre gasoline barril and head to Algeria to meet with the rally. I had no assistance, nothing. I love riding and still do quite a few rally raids in Senegal with friends. Some like crossing seas, others like climbing mountains. I don't want to cross seas or go up mountains. I like huge spaces, the bush and driving."