Dakar: Face to Face, day 10

Face to Face January 9, 2006 Modesty tranquillity Jordi Ingles Nouakchott, he knew before. Last year he shared a pizza with the Spanish Ambassador and his secretary, before being repatriated. An injury to his left leg brought a premature end...

Face to Face
January 9, 2006

Modesty tranquillity
Jordi Ingles

Nouakchott, he knew before. Last year he shared a pizza with the Spanish Ambassador and his secretary, before being repatriated. An injury to his left leg brought a premature end to his second Dakar. This year, the dunes upended his goal of reaching Lake Rose for the first time. Saturday, at approximately km 350, Jordi, a mechanic from Santa Coloma de Gramanet, crashed and found himself in the Mauritanian sand. " I was under the bike and I couldn't move. A helicopter came but couldn't land because there wasn't a single area of flat ground. So I yelled. "

Sometimes the most unlikely solutions in the desert have an immediate effect. Stuck in the sand of the neighbouring dune, Hattori Yasushi came running. " I couldn't thank him because we don't speak a common language. So, I hugged him." Jordi is a Catalan of small physical stature who has the profound sincerity of a modest people. He is here because he loves motorcycling, of course, but also because, little by little, he has integrated Africa into his values. " I am fascinated by the human aspect; he says. Each time I come, I better understand the people and come across those I've already met. " Among the collection of photos he carries on his African adventures, there are some of a Moroccan family who offered him water and soap when he was repairing his bike. There is also this inhabitant of the desert, who, one time pointed him in the right direction before returning home, on foot, alone and at night.

Jordi lives in the suburbs of Barcelona with his hairdresser wife Sonia and they are expecting a new edition to the family in May. Obviously, Jordi is very discreet on the Dakar. He is a pure amateur in the world's biggest rally raid. His Honda XR 450 and his trunk are all he needs. He is just a bit upset because his bivouac companions; Amparo Ausina and her husband Jose, as well as Remigio Rovira, have dropped out of the event. Yet he is continuing his quest to go all the way to the end, with a budget of €20 000, with no assistance and with a few personal truths.

"What I like is that, finally, we are all equal on the Dakar. Yesterday, after the Japanese guy came to help me, I got stuck in the sand again. Not far from me was Schlesser with shovel in hand... "

Sportingly he takes the Dakar one step at a time. "Many say they take on the race day after day. Myself, not at all. It would be too presumptuous. Each CP passed is a victory in itself with the next my lone objective. In fact, I do the Dakar bit by bit," Jordi, concludes. He also telephones Sonia everyday: "It is the term of condition for me being here". He must also shave. "That is less sure," says an almost apologetic, 88th in the general bike standings, a newfound friend, with the 83rd overall. A certain Hattori Yasushi...

Beyond the pain
Bruno Raymond (n46)

Behind his angelic smile, we sense a ferocious envy. The effort clearly visible on his face, yet Bruno Raymond is nevertheless calmly ready to answer the request of a television crew. He rummages in his trunk and takes out his tent that he slowly unfolds. Does he still have the energy to savour the pleasure of being among the riders who survived the Mauritanian dunes? In any case he arrived here at the bivouac at the port of Nouakchott, the rest day local. He then tells us about his second Dakar with a lilting accent that betrays his south of France origins.

"With my twenty years of enduro experience, I had a blast on the two Portuguese stages", recounts the Cahors native and schoolboy friend of Gilles Algay. His joy came to a quick end because the second Moroccan stage went pear shaped. "There was so much dust that there times where I couldn't see a thing. I ran over a stone with the rear wheel and the bike got away from me. I was thrown two-metres into the air and I fell hard onto a large rock. At the time, I said to myself that it was all over. It took me a good five minutes to get up". The result of this flip: a cracked rib and a huge bruise on his hip. The bike, including the instrument panel was bent and the fuel connector was broken, which needed a solid hour to be repaired. Relieved to have made it to the bivouac within the allotted time, he recounts the day's hardships with one of his neighbours, David Fretigne. And it's with the factory Yamaha rider that he rode with for some twenty kilometres on the stage between Zouerat and Atar. "It is completely accidental, I arrived 40-minutes late to the starting line because my mechanic had pinched the fuel line. I had a great time watching the top Spanish boys... I watched them run through the camel grass, it was amazing". Forgetting about his own dilemmas, the pain and fatigue, other moments are what he will remember.

One year after his first Dakar, he talks about the hassle he experienced between Zouerat and Tichit: "I rode for 19 straight hours. The carburettor palette broke; it took me five hours to replace then the battery exploded when I tried to start. Then the engine ended up stalling thirty kilometres from the finish line in the early morning hours...my muscles were completely tight". He eventually rallied to arrive at Lake Rose in 66th place in the general standings. A moral victory that was immersed in contradictory emotions: "Enormous happiness, relief and an incomprehensible weariness. I didn't want to do anything for three months, I was completely spent. I think I had a small post-Dakar depression". The desire to take on the desert won out. To once again go beyond his limits. And he is well on his way to doing it.


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Series Dakar
Drivers David Fretigne