Series focus, day 12

Dakar Service Center A strategic but nonetheless welcoming place has been dreamt up by some of the rally's partners to provide help to competitors lacking time or solutions to repair their vehicles. There are two ways of life on the Dakar: on...

Dakar Service Center

A strategic but nonetheless welcoming place has been dreamt up by some of the rally's partners to provide help to competitors lacking time or solutions to repair their vehicles.

There are two ways of life on the Dakar: on the tracks and at the bivouac. The competitors who return from a long day in the dunes are then faced with a repair session that varies in length depending on the extent of the problems they suffer. Whether or not they have an assistance team, they often call upon the help of the rally's partners, gathered together in the Dakar Service Center. Euromaster was the first to offer a free tire change service at the bivouac, in 1998. A little more than ten years later, the truck has become an inevitable stop for most riders and drivers. "Last year, we carried out 3,000 changes. Since we have good equipment, we can change a tire in five minutes, whereas a biker would take more than an hour to do it on his or her own. As a result, even the assistance teams come to see us for this type of thing, because it allows their mechanics to concentrate purely on mechanical problems," explains Andre Dumas, manager of the team of 11 technicians selected from the entire Euromaster network to take part in the Dakar.

A short way away, Jean Gaborit is manning the Loctite-Teroson stand, where he looks after, (also free of charge) other types of problems. The two brands are specialised in glues and adhesives, useful for solving both mechanical and bodywork problems: "75 % of our work is repairing fairing on bikes. A lot of them break during falls. There are also parts of the bike that can be ripped off by on-going vibrations or impacts," explains Jean. "With our products, we can also provide leak-tightness solutions for uncontrolled leaks, like a hole in a crankcase, for example". Throughout the night, the mission of Jean Gaborit and three other technicians is to give hope back to competitors who are often very close to a forced withdrawal. "For example, Hugo Payen came to see us with a major fuel intake problem. We completely overhauled it and he was able to carry on. Unfortunately, he withdrew later on after a fall".

In the "bikers' trunks" area (for amateur riders without an assistance team whose equipment is transported by the race organisation team), Elf have set up shop to provide a free supply of oils and lubricants to all the bikers enrolled as long as they wear their colours. In exchange for a small sticker on their machine and the resulting brand visibility, the competitors can come and fill up as often as the want on the stand as explained by Stephane Bournonville, who is in charge of the Elf Trophy: "We supply a not inconsiderable amount of help, since a 450cc rider carries out an oil change each evening. If he finishes the rally, that amounts to a saving of around 500 euros. In total, we will be distributing a ton of oil on the rally to 125 riders".

Finally, the technical aid is not only focused on the vehicle, because Personal, an Argentine mobile phone operator, has also chosen to provide an assistance service to the competitors... on their mobile phones. For configuration problems when crossing borders or minor repairs, Personal can answer all their questions and handle all their mobiles. Staying connected also helps to make a successful Dakar.

-source: aso

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Hugo Payen