Dakar Rally Since its inception in 1978, the Dakar Rally has earned the reputation as the longest and most grueling motorsports race in the world. It is made up of 16 point-to-point stages over 5,000 plus miles of the most demanding terrain.
Since its inception in 1978, the Dakar Rally has earned the reputation as the longest and most grueling motorsports race in the world.
It is made up of 16 point-to-point stages over 5,000 plus miles of the most demanding terrain. Similar to the Tour de France, each stage is timed and individual and team champions are crowned based on overall times. Competition classes include motorcycles, trucks, cars, and ATV vehicles. This year's 2005 Dakar Rally starts from a new location -- Barcelona, Spain on January 1 -- and finishes 16 days later in Dakar, Senegal (West Africa).
A three-rider Red Bull KTM U.S. Team will be participating in the motorcyle class under the leadership of veteran American off-road racer Scot Harden, a three-time Baja 1000 winner. Harden's two teammates -- Chris Blais (23, Apple Vally, CA) and Kellon Walch (21, Alamo, NV) -- earned their spot on the team last August after a punishing five day, Dakar-style desert challenge held near Primm, Nevada, and in Dumont Dunes, California. The two young riders beat out four other riders for the opportunity to join KTM's quest to build a championship squad over the next three years and earn the first Dakar title for Americans.
Nani Roma (Spain) of the Repsol KTM Spanish team won the motorcycle class last year.
In the truck category, versatile American race car driver Robby Gordon, whose day job is racing NASCAR stock cars, joins the Volkswagen Race Touareg team for his first Dakar Rally effort. Gordon is a passionate off-road racer, having won the Baja 1000 twice (1987, 89) and now runs the #31 Red Bull Trophy Truck in the U.S.-based SCORE Off-Road series during his weekends off from the Nextel Cup. Gordon will team up with German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz, a five-time Dakar Rally veteran.