Where credit's due:

Words: Rob Harris & Richard Seck
Photos: Rob Harris
Editing: Rob Harris




The first half is mainly gravel roads ...

The first Paris-Dacre (P-D) event was held in 2005 – the brainchild of John Baxter and the Ontario Dual Sport Association (ODSC). It was a tribute to Canadian Bob Bergman who had just completed the better-known Euro-African version earlier that year.

Their goal was to give dual sport riders a taste of what a day of the real Dakar would feel like, with the Canadian version starting in Paris (just over 100 km southwest of Toronto) and ending in the village of Dacre (about 350 km northeast of Toronto).

Of course, the route is not a direct one and covers a total of 765 km. The “fun” begins at 4 am in Paris, when the teams are started in 2 minute intervals, launching themselves into a grueling GPS route consisting of a maze of roads, trails, water crossings, muck holes, rocky hill climbs, et al.

The teams eventually arrive in Dacre some sixteen hours later – that is – if all goes to plan. To properly reflect the torturous nature of this 2006 Dacre event, which is a co-production of the ODSC and Rally Connex, it was aptly called, “The Longest Day”.

... the second half is not.

Four riders are required to form a team (with a maximum of six) for the P-D, with the idea that you can’t leave any of your team members dying on the trail. Thus, if one man is injured or has suffered a mechanical failure, one of the other members must either stay with them, or go with them to get out of the trail system. The other two are free to go on, but it’s over for them, as well, if one needs to drop out later.

Along the route there are several checkpoints where each rider must have their rider’s cards signed in order to prove that they have completed the route. Each checkpoint has a time limit attached to it, after which any riders will not be allowed to continue along the route, and must finish the course by paved road in order to ensure that no-one is left in wood after dark.

Easy really. Well, until you’re at hour fourteen, having slept the night before for only two, and the trail ahead is getting harder and harder to focus on thanks to the failing light …

More info on the Rally can be found here.



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