Albert Bosch, an adventurer with a message
He climbed Everest last May, his team won the Jungle Marathon in November in the Amazon and now here he is on his 8th Dakar. It is his 1st in South America, his 1st in a single-placed buggy and more importantly his 1st as part of a vast eco-responsible sporting project. He is an adventurer who also is prepared to make his voice heard.
If you meet Albert Bosch, you will not immediately realise the most remarkable thing about the sporting career of this cheery and bright Catalan. To listen to him, it could be the Dakar he experienced and completed as co-pilot for Josep Busquets, a disabled driver. It could also be the project to climb Everest which he achieved last May, because henceforth, Albert Bosch counts himself amongst those who have met the "Seven Summits" challenge, the 7 highest summits of the 5 continents.However, when you listen to Albert Bosch, you especially understand that for him, experiencing adventures or succeeding in extreme projects is never an ultimate goal. At the bivouac in San Miguel de Tucuman he sums up his state of mind as follows: "If today I behaved like I did ten years ago in preparing and accomplishing my projects, I'd come unstuck". As a result, for his 8th participation in the Dakar, he is treating it as something entirely new: 7 + 1, as his slogan goes.Since the departure for Buenos Aires, a firm has been conducting a carbon footprint assessment of the event. The CO2 emissions evaluated will be offset by a reforestation scheme in Mali, during 2011. Similarly, he is careful to manage his tyres and the parts required for his buggy as parsimoniously as possible. Albert Bosch breaks this approach down into four themes: "I'm not an activist, but in these times we have to be aware of our environment and make the right choices. Mine concern 4 points: technology, which is why I've chosen to do the Dakar in a vehicle that is as simple as possible; optimisation of resources, for example with tyre usage; recycling of the equipment used; and carbon offsetting".That makes impressive reading, but what makes Albert Bosch different lies elsewhere. Our Catalan friend, in charge of a firm specialised in financial investments, has included his Dakar in an overall vision. "I would like it to be possible to celebrate the 60th Dakar in years to come. To do this, we need to act differently, by becoming an influencing player with regard to these aspects. Next year, a lot of teams can do what I'm doing this year. More importantly, I think the page has been turned on a certain era. Sponsors who contribute money in exchange for displaying their logo, that system is finished. Businesses want meaning and values. When you think about it and when you put forward projects in relation to this aspect, there is no supposed crisis that restricts partners from committing themselves..."Whilst this conversation reveals Albert Bosch to be a responsible adventurer, our meeting soon covers other subjects. Albert Bosch is also one of the driving forces behind an innovative project christened 'Racing 4 Change'. His Dakar 7 + 1 is part of this plan. 'Racing 4 change', which brings together a think tank based in Barcelona, will be launching its appeal next March from the Stadio Olimpico de Montjuic, home to football club Espanyol Barcelona. An observation put forward by Albert Bosch nicely sums up the idea: "Sports-people often boast extraordinary energy levels which they use to advance their ego and personal success. They have immense influencing power that can be used to put across social and environmental messages. 'Racing 4 change' aims to raise their awareness of this and encourage them to commit, act and communicate publicly on these subjects". It is almost midnight and competitor number 357 has forgotten to go and eat. He still has time to talk about his next challenge, though: "All things being equal, next November, a team of four of us will be crossing the Antarctic. After that, I would like to do the North Pole, South Pole and Everest again".