CMG Dakar Glossary


660 Rallye A non-production bike made especially by KTM for things like the Dakar Rally. It’s tough, reliable and expensive.
HID lights HID (High-Intensity Discharge). Very bright and energy efficient with the ability to last for a long time. Likely somewhat expensive too …
Bib mousse A foam core insert that replaces rubber tubes in off-road motorcycle tires [thereby making the tire puncture proof]. (from
Road book The road book indicates the itinerary and points of passage, which must be followed on pain of penalties – up to and including exclusion from the race. The route will remain secret until the road book is distributed to riders. (from
GPS The GPS (Global Positioning System) is a satellite navigation system that determines your exact location on the planet earth. With the use of waypoints (see below) a set route can be followed by GPS alone. In motorcycle applications, the GPS unit is mounted on the handlebars of the bike.
Sat phone Satellite phone – A very fancy cell phone. You’re not going to lose service when you exit the suburbs like Fido. No, these use satellites so you can call anyone, anywhere, anytime. Just don’t do it too often ’cause the bill is a killer.
Scrutineering The process by which race officials determine whether the bike meets all the technical requirements.
Parc Fermé A locked area where bikes are kept to prevent riders from tampering with the bike, even for repairs. For example, after passing scrutineering and before the start of the rally, the bikes are placed in a Parc Fermé.
Waypoint (WP) A point on a GPS map which the user can use to navigate to. A complete route can be made by joining a series of waypoints together.
Checkpoint (CP) Checkpoints are used to keep the riders on course and to prevent them from doing cunning things like taking shortcuts. There’s also a safety aspect to them, like preventing a rider from inadvertently crossing a country’s border.
Balise An emergency-use rescue signal that is a requirement for all racers (in case they need rescuing).
Bivouac The bivouac is an area accessible to all those accredited by the organizers and is determined by an imaginary circle of a radius of approximately 500 m, whose centre is the catering area. (from It’s essential a pit area, restaurant and hotel – albeit a bit noisy, basic and crap.
Stage A stage is the route set for one day. The most popular pattern for a stage is from the bivouac to the start of special stage via the liaison, ride the special stage, then on to the next bivouac via a liaison again. (from
Special A special stage is the competitive portion. The basis of rally competition is to ride the specials in the shortest possible time; the terrain usually increases in challenge during a special.
Liaison A liaison stage is a movement stage between the special stages. The purpose of the liaison is movement and it is not a stage where participants compete on speed. But if the participants fail to cover the stage within the designated time, they face a penalty. Liaison stages are often on sealed roads, but even sealed roads can be pitted with potholes and drivers cannot afford to relax. (from
Time card Document intended for the stamps, in chronological order, of the different control points scheduled on the itinerary. (from
Road section Section of itinerary [or route] with a target time between two successive Time Controls. (from
Rest day A day in the middle of the Rally to allow the competitors to grab some much needed sleep.
Piste The road or route when the rider in “on-track”; if one is “hors piste” he is off-road or off-track. So to speak …
Sand dune  A sand dune is a hill of sand shaped by the wind. Duh. Try riding over one though …
Camel grass As the name suggests, camels feed off this grass, which sends its roots deep into the sandy soil; the bike is suddenly thrust up as if it has hit a ridge. Camel grass stages are generally uncomfortable and difficult. (from
Chotts Dry salt lakes found in the Saharan desert. They can usually be taken at a good rate of knots.
Fech-fech Very soft, powder-like sand, it can be like quicksand in some spots and blinding dust clouds in others; very slow riding.
Oued bed Lightly undulating terrain of alluvial deposits and fech-fech
Laterite Red clay-brick like terrain, can be very fast .. and/or very dusty.
Erg A large area of desert covered with shifting wind-swept sand dunes

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