Paris - Dakar
Paris - Dakar Rally, which celebrates 30th anniversary this year, was all canceled. Political instability on the route is the main reason. I think it's a right decision although regrettable. With those kind of anxiety nobody could enjoy the "Adventure".
Keeping up the event for 30 years, it's really marvelous. This is first
time ever for canceling the rally itself. However Paris-Dakar had a lot
of things that it had to overcome more than giant dunes. The founder Thierry
Sabine was killed by helicopter accident during the race. A machine touched
a land mine or was attacked by guerrilla group .....
There are many big events which are easily discontinued by unexpected accident
or losing sponsors. Compare to those events, I think Paris - Dakar has
been strongly supported by the challenging spirits of participant "We'll
go to the adventure" and more than that, passion of the organizer
"We must keep up this event" I look forward to see the machines
running in the Sahara desert again maybe next year.
Now, I change the view point for the rally. How many people know the name
of "Dakar" without the rally? The role of the rally is huge for
rising publicity of the capital city of Senegal. Even if you don't know
Dakar is which country's capital, the city is much better known than neighboring
capitals, like Nouakchott, Bamako, Ouagadougou or Banjul.
I also knew the name of Dakar from the rally. I am "Dune mania" Maybe, it's under influence of Paris - Dakar too. I watched Paris - Dakar on TV as yearning for the adventure in my teens. I dreamed the coast line of Dakar at the end of thousands dunes.
"Without Paris - Dakar, was I attracted by the beauty and solemnity
of the Sahara? Did I visit the countries like Mauritania or Senegal? Could I meet my African friends?"
Thinking like that, the things which you are interested in should not be
thought little. Some times it would affect the rest of your life.
As mentioned above, this year's Paris - Dakar was cancelled, so I look
back my memory as usual. In spite of visiting almost same area in same
season, I have seen them just once. It's 1998 in Granada, Spain. Coincidentally,
it's the 20th anniversary event.
The participants who finished the lieson sector came into Granada at 9
o'clock in the evening. They were stuck in a traffic. "Rally cars
in a traffic jam" I'm not joking. Then they joined the presentation
event until 11o'clock. The departure would be early morning. A rally driver
must be tough.
I had heard the starting time was 5 o'clock in the morning. So I got up
at 4:00am like a loyal dog and went to the square. All motos and autos
were getting final check for the start. The special stage, time attack
section, was scheduled on the day in the outer area of Granada. After the
SS, participants move to Armeria in the southern coast of Spain. And take
a ferry to Algeria. From there the real rally will begin.
French driver Bruno Saby is waiting for the start. What is he thinking,
today's Special Stage, ranges of dune or coast line of Dakar?
"Bruno Saby is waiting the start " Granada, Spain 1998
L'hotel Sobo-Bade vol.2