Pan Africa Rally 2019 : Day 1

90km special stage
45th position overall

Race day! It’s only 8.30am and it’s already 36 degrees!

And there’s a few nerves this morning, but maybe that’s a good thing……

I started at 10.36 today, 1 minute behind teammate Juan Pablo Guillen Rivera (KTM-450), and straight up we were into steep sand dunes for 12km. It was quite a difficult section and I went down a couple of times in the soft sand.

I caught up to Pablo as we exited the dunes, and we then found ourselves in a river bed for 10km. It was maybe 1km wide and there were tracks going everywhere. Navigation was very difficult and Pablo and I lost at least 25 minutes in this section.

Then at the 35km mark the power to my roadbook failed, and for the remainder of the section I had to manually scroll through whilst riding. The navigation was still quite tricky and we missed some waypoints but somehow we managed to get back on route.

It was then time for the big dunes! Give me the Simpson desert any day of the week!

We were in the dunes at a very hot part of the day and just as you thought you reached the peak of the highest one, you could see another 20 ahead that were bigger.

After about 15km on top of a very high dune I could see the finish in the distance.

Pablo was only a minute or so behind me and we were both happy to get through the first day without too many problems. I’m hoping it was only a cable that vibrated loose on my roadbook switch.

On top of losing 25 minutes whilst lost I also received a 38 minute penalty for missing 2 waypoints, so I expect to be a fair way back in the field.

Not a great first day, but there’s still 4 days to go and plenty of time to get things right.