Dakar: Ronn Bailey Motorsports stage five report

Ronn Bailey's 'luck' held for just 80 km today before his Dakar gremlins crawled out of the bodywork of his buggy. But once again he and his co-driver Kevin Heath laughed in the face of adversity to limp into the bivouac in Tan Tan ready to cross...

Ronn Bailey's 'luck' held for just 80 km today before his Dakar gremlins crawled out of the bodywork of his buggy. But once again he and his co-driver Kevin Heath laughed in the face of adversity to limp into the bivouac in Tan Tan ready to cross into Mauritania tomorrow.

Ronn Bailey

"We'd barely done 80 km when the gearbox stuck in third and that is how we finished the day. We also had big problems with the rear shocks, which does not make driving a rear-wheel-drive buggy particularly easy. To cap it all off, our T4 assistance truck is currently broken down in the stage. Apparently, they have broken their suspension. They don't have the replacement parts with them, but they have a lot of equipment and I am hoping they can make repairs and get to Tan Tan in time to get across the border into Mauritania -- I have a feeling we are going to have need of them once we get into the big dunes."

"Even without our problems it was a tough day today. This is my third Dakar and I have never known one as hard as this. The tracks through the mountains were really narrow and at times our offside rear wheel was hanging off the edge, while the bodywork on the nearside was scraping the side of the track cut into the mountain. Kevin was looking pretty nervous there a few times and refusing to look out the side window. It makes the Baja look like a stroll in the park. I reckon that David Castera, the guy who does the road book, has made the Moroccan stages especially tough on purpose. The organisers want to cut out the dead wood before they cause too many logistical problems in Mauritania, were everything gets a whole lot more complicated."

"Tomorrow is a huge day -- 775 km in all, with 325 km of special. It is also our first day with a lot what they call 'off-piste' -- that basically means no track at all -- they just send you across the desert sands. It could be good for our buggy and in theory shouldn't be so hard on the mechanics. However if we do run into trouble we are a long way from anywhere -- especially if our truck doesn't make it...."

Effectively tomorrow is the longest stage of the rally. 414 kms of liaison between Tan Tan and the border between Morocco and the Mauritania (called 'The Wall') and then 394 km of special to Zourerat.

-credit: ronn bailey motorsports

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Ronn Bailey , Kevin Heath