The 2013 Dakar rally kicks off tomorrow in Lima, Peru. It’s going to be a year of change for the rally – longtime contender Marc Coma won’t compete, due to injury.
KTM has dominated the race’s standings for years, thanks mainly to Coma and teammate Cyril Despres, but other manufacturers (particularly Honda and Husqvarna) are trying hard to climb back into contention. With Coma gone, they should have a better chance in 2013. There’s even a Chinese bike in the race this year, a Jingcheng piloted by Wei Guang Hui. He raced in 2009, but didn’t finish, and got an 82nd place in 2010.
There are two Canadians riding motorcycles in the 2013 Dakar rally. Don Hatton (from British Columbia) and Patrick Beaule (from Quebec) are both making return appearances.
Beaule raced in the 2012 edition of the rally, but he was part of David Bensadoun’s car team – the first Canadian car team to finish the rally. He had so much fun on four wheels that he’s returning on two.
Beaule went all-out to fund this year’s racing effort; he even sold his van and trailer. You can see his fundraising T-shirts for sale on his Facebook page.
He’s on a KTM 450 RR for the 2013 rally. According to his Dakar profile his ambition is “just to finish. I don’t know about the position. I’m pretty sure that I have what it takes to finish, but then again, you never know what can happen.”
Hatton (also aboard a KTMwould also be very happy to finish.
He’s made Dakar attempts before, but never made it past the fifth stage. On his first entry (2009), he injured himself after taking a jump at 150 kph. He returned the next year without fully recovering from the 2009 accident, and ended up dropping out after the fifth stage due to problems with bad fuel (he’d already battled food poisoning for a couple of days as well). Then last year, he was ready to return when he was injured in a farm accident days before the race started.
His plans for 2013? The 54-year-old says: “The 2013 Dakar has got to be the one. I deserve this Dakar. I was inexperienced in the past so I might pace myself a bit more. My goal is to have an uneventful race. I’m not looking for a position. Now if all the leaders are hit by a storm, I’d be happy to win.”
We’re wishing them both good luck, and we’re leaving you with some video of Hatton’s teammate, Simon Pavey.