The race of the Bowler Sturdy and reliable instead of being top performers, the Bowlers have imposed themselves - year after year - as affordable quality 4x4 of choice for amateurs intent on reaching the end of the Dakar. But the teams ...
The race of the Bowler
Sturdy and reliable instead of being top performers, the Bowlers have imposed themselves - year after year - as affordable quality 4x4 of choice for amateurs intent on reaching the end of the Dakar. But the teams driving them also include people intent on being high in the standings. They even feel a bit of pride in being amongst the drivers of these cars that started appearing on the Dakar several years ago already. In Buenos Aires, 12 Bowlers, either Wildcat or Desert Warrior, started the raid. After the stage leading to Iquique, there are only 6 of them left but the Bowlers should certainly not be ashamed of their track record; those still in the race should even feel pretty at ease in the upcoming long stages. As for the ranking this "category" may have found its true ruler. Patrick Sireyjol, who had finished at a remarkable 12th position in the 2009 edition, is still the best after 6 stages. The driver is ranking 24th in the overall standings 30h36' from Carlos Sainz you might say but 4 hours ahead of Philippe Boutron driving the next Bowler in the standings. Both know that there are even more eliminated from the race in week two. It might be where their Bowlers show their assets.
Swedes without frontiers
Swedes racing the Dakar in Latin America with a car made in Sydney, Australia. What a weird combination? Well, not on the Dakar. Pelle Wallentheim the driver and Olle Ohlsson his navigator smile: "Our Isuzu was assembled in Sydney by an Aussie friend", explains Pelle. But it was only the beginning for the car: it then went to Dubai for the Desert Challenge in 2008 and was sent from the Emirate straight to Buenos Aires for the first Dakar of the duet. The second participation of the only Swedish team enrolled is now a well-oiled machine. Present in the Top 30 after the first 6 stages, the two friends are enjoying a raid that is giving them a fair amount of publicity back home. "The Dakar is really popular in Sweden but no one dares race it in the car category. I think we might contribute in opening up a new opportunity here", says Olle. The media coverage is almost total in the written press with e.g. Expressen and SVD following them and it contributes to making the challenge of these two former biker quite popular; the duet is also enjoying the support of a former legendary rallyman called Bjorn Valdegaard, who dedicates a show to them each day on Eurosport Sweden. One more thing: the driver of their assistance truck is a Catalan called Baldiri Olive Vives. Those two are certainly Swedes without frontiers!
Jorge Velayos: designer of a rally raid kit
This chubby short man is always available. In the alleys of the assistance areas of the bivouac, Jorge Velayos is busy each day on dozens of bikes. He may not be a rider or a mechanic but he is all care for his creation called the rally raid kit, or rather and more precisely the "UVR 450 Rally raid kit". This small wonder in precision and efficiency can be installed on the Yamaha 450. "I waited for the brand to move from an iron frame to an aluminum frame in 2006, then I started the research. After that, the whole process was developed up to mass manufacturing. Today we can offer a kit that we install for those in the rally after only keeping the engine, the wheels and the transmission. The advantage is that you get a full homogeneous and easthetic set in which each part can be replaced automatically and weighs less than the corresponding parts on a normal bike. We can reduce the bike's weight by 16kg with this kit as it only weighs 32kg." Made in Catalonia, the kit is unique right now and is sold by JVO Racing; its other advantage is also to offer a better centered gas tank made of plastic only, which is sturdier and lighter. "Its weight full is the weight of an empty aluminum gas tank", adds Jorge, the Catalan from Cervello. 20 kits have been sold since 2008 for 7,500 euros each. "We are the first but the trend is there. I am now working through Yamaha Spain on the selling of rally bikes already equipped with the kit."