Dakar: Face to Face, day 12

Face to Face The Dakar Magazine January 11, 2005 Everyday feelings of those who are not specially famous but who dare the challenge and give a dream for those who stay behind... Frederic Galamez - M.D Rallye Sport - 060 "Happy to be ...

Face to Face
The Dakar Magazine
January 11, 2005

Everyday feelings of those who are not specially famous but who dare the challenge and give a dream for those who stay behind...

Frederic Galamez - M.D Rallye Sport - 060

"Happy to be here!"

Frédéric Galamez doesn't have the choice. He has to finish the rallye on the Lac rose, at any price. Indeed, born a 16th of January, he promised his 3 children to be with them in Dakar on Sunday for his 37th birthday. But, since Barcelona, the adventure hasn't been very restful.

Followed as often as possible by his friend Dominique Marcant, Frederic has been living his first Dakar with passion and pleasure in spite of the daily concerns. Seen on the bivouac on the following day of the --now- legendary Zouerat - Tichit stage, this CEO of a company couldn't stop sharing his happiness with whoever crossed his path. "I arrived this morning at 9 at the bivouac. That means it took me 24 hours to arrive at the end of this special !!! It's a huge emotion and happiness to be here, to have finished this stage. At 8 P.M, I met a group of 20 bikers. They told me it was too dangerous to keep going at night. So, I stopped and stayed with them to sleep, on a dune, under my survival cover. I even took pictures to keep all that in my memory. And then, at 1 A.M, I couldn't sleep and I started thinking. I told myself that if I didn't get back on the road again right now, the day after I would be in a plane to Paris, so I woke the others up and told them "I'm going !" Some of them followed me and we finished the stage with 4 riders in Tichit. Luckily, I managed to get 5 more liters of gas at CP2."

The day after, on the finish line of the Tidjikja -- Atar stage the smile and the happiness were still right there, even though his hands were starting to hurt. "Since the beginning of the rally, I'm having a real blast. It's my first Dakar every day I ask Dominique "when will we have a real Dakar day?". Well, it seems that, now, I know what it's all about after Tichit! I think that if I'm having such a good time right now it's because I'm very well prepared physically and it's the most important thing here. Because when the physical part is at its best, your head does the same. Right now, I'm ready to keep going, no problem. Without my preparation, I would never have been able to lift my 200 kg bike out of the sand 10 times!"

His only concern right now are his hands. Full of blisters because of the handlebars, they needed all of the rest day to deflate. They are now protected by a big band-aid but Frédéric worries for the rest of the rally. The doctors told him he had to come every night to get his hands treated. Luckily, he can afford to go and see the docs while the mechanics of his assistance, MD Rallye, take care of his bike every night. "I wonder how the guys who don't have an assistance do it ! It must be impossible."

Happy Frédéric Galamez, competing in his first Dakar after only 4 years of serious bike riding, keeps going at his own pace in order to finish safe and sound in Dakar on Sunday where his family awaits him.

Jacky Loomans - Loomans - 349

Gella Vandecaveye: "Dakar is an entertainment!"

"It's really a shame, because everything was going so well until now..." You could feel the tears coming to her eyes. For non-respect of the official way during the 10th stage, she and her driver Jacky Loomans had been declared out of the race by the officials. For her first participation on the Dakar Rally, the 2001 judo World Champion, runner-up at the World championship in 97 and 99 and seven times European champion in the under 63kg class, will not see Dakar. 15 km before CP1, during the stage around Atar, the n°349 crew had an engine problem. They therefore preferred to go back directly to the bivouac passing by the finish line, but not the different CPs on the way. As they hadn't followed the race track, the officials had no other choice than to declare them out of the race. A real shock, difficult to accept!

Meanwhile the Belgian knows what bad moments really are, like when she broke her neck during a fight, but found the energy to come back and win the world title. "For us, Dakar is entertainment", she said on the rest day, when her name was still on the 13th row of the overall standings. "Us" is actually driver Jacky Loomans, 16 Dakars behind him, and the girl at his side defending the Belgian flag on all the judo dojos in the world during the last 20 years, before stopping her career in 2004 at the age of 31. "The start of my new adventurous life". A good experience which deserves a second attempt, still alongside Jacky Loomans. "And this time we'll go to Dakar..."

"Jacky is not a cowboy, he has nothing to prove. On the starting day, he showed me the pictures of his grand children and told me: 'They are there to remind me that I mustn't hurt myself'. And I've the same goal to live a little bit more. So, our main idea is to be stay safe, and that's' what we did. Apart from that, we'll go to Dakar, but not as we were supposed to. But this is also a lesson: We could be in the overall Top 10, or have everything to loose, the second option happened. On the Dakar Rally, you have to take it stage after stage, just like during my life in judo, I learned to take it fight after fight, never thinking about the final or the title...that's what I learnt this year..."

But it isn't the only thing. "Gella surprised me a lot, but in the good way, because she became a very good co-driver. In a very smart way, she takes the time to understand the job and she progressed at each stage, she became better when it became harder". But maybe the most important thing she learnt, is how to compete on a rally-raid, how a smart race keeps you away from mistakes, because just before their problem they were managing the perfect race, with the perfect average between speed and caution. "Since the beginning, we choose to drive with regularity". A wise and precious philosophy during the 8th stage between Tidjikja and Atar. "The two BMWs overtook us at very high speed, as we were stopped. But 10km after, we saw the first one crashed, and 5 km later the second one in the same shape."

-aso-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Jacky Loomans , Gella Vandecaveye , Frédéric Galamez