Andy Grider Joins Team Dakar USA

ANAHEIM, Calif. (Oct. 2, 2006) -- Andy Grider, a native of Long Beach, California, will join Team Dakar USA and Robby Gordon as navigator in their bid to be the first American effort to capture the overall title in the famed endurance race -- the 2007 Dakar Rally.

Grider's multiple credits include a runner-up finish in the second stage of last year's Dakar Rally, an overall title in the 2002 Baja 1000, and third overall in the 2005 Tunisian Rally.

Grider, who made his inaugural run during last year's Dakar Rally for the KTM Factory motorcycle team, will be tasked with guiding Gordon as they maneuver their way through two continents, six countries and 6,000 miles of some of the world's most uninhabitable terrain. As part of the team that will carry the banner for General Motors' HUMMER brand and Toyo Tires, Gordon and Grider will compete alongside hundreds of entries from six of the world's continents.

For nearly 30 years, adventurers from every corner of the globe have been making the journey to Europe to take on the challenge of the world's most grueling race. Beginning Jan. 6, 2007, competitors will spend 17 days battling the environment and the terrain to make the trek south from Lisbon, Portugal towards the African continent and then to Dakar, Senegal.

Each year Dakar presents new challenges, far beyond those of just the driver and the car, but a test of man. The 6,000 mile race is run on everything from paved roads to sand to terrain covered in jagged rocks, without the aid of GPS, making the navigator an integral part of the success or failure of a team. Competitors leave behind all the comforts of home and make the African wilderness their home during the almost three-week-long event.

"I'm very excited about reaching a lifetime goal with Team Dakar USA and looking forward to standing on the podium in Dakar," said Grider, 33. "The HUMMER H3 is one of the more technically advanced off-road vehicles out there and it will be a thrill to navigate it through Africa."

Gordon, owner of Team Dakar USA and driver of the HUMMER H3, will make his third appearance in the Dakar Rally in as many years. A two-time Dakar stage winner and the only American to do so, Gordon has been competing in off-road endurance races since the early 1980's. Himself a two-time winner of the esteemed Baja 1000 along with countless other victories within North American borders, Gordon will attempt to be the first American to get the overall win in the race's history.

Gordon began Team Dakar USA in 2005 in an effort to showcase American ingenuity and technology in one of the world's most popular sporting events. Although participating in the 2004 Dakar Rally for Volkswagen, last year's Rally was Gordon's first attempt as an independent owner. During last year's Rally, Gordon was forced to make an early exit from competition during the seventh stage due to a punctured radiator which sidelined the team for the remainder of the event.

"We are excited to have Andy come onboard and join our effort in Dakar," said Gordon. "Dakar is a test of endurance and Andy has proven he's capable. Obviously as a former motorcycle competitor in Dakar he knows his way through the Rally and knows how grueling an event it can be.

"We've been working hard on putting the best possible program together and I feel like this year we have a better opportunity to go over there and win stages and capture the overall title, and Andy will definitely be able to help us out with that goal."

-credit: rgm