Just a few weeks ahead of the 2021 Dakar Rally, we’ve got a new route posted. And, once again, the race will run entirely inside the borders of Saudi Arabia.
For a while, the scuttlebutt around the rally raid scene had Dakar organizers looking to expand the rally to other Middle Eastern countries, trying to regain some of the epic scale the race had in decades past. However, COVID-19 ruled that out, and instead of a pan-continental event, we’re getting another single-country race.
This time around, racers will start and end in Jeddah. The racing begins on January 3, and ends on January 15, with a rest day on January 9 and marathon stage beginning January 10. Of course, since we’re talking about Dakar, that could all be revised; the only constant thing at this event is change.
In total, racers will run about 4,800 km in the 2021 event. There are no major technical changes, although motorcycle racers will be required to wear an airbag vest this time. Organizers are hoping to reduce the danger, after legendary competitor Paulo Gonsalves was killed in a crash during the 2020 race.
At this point, 142 racers are signed up for the motorcycle category, with no Canadian entrants.