Marathon stage at Dakar gives mechanics a day off

What the crew of the Red Bull KTM Factory Team do when their bikers are left to go it alone...
Chaleco Lopez preps his bike for the Dakar
Chaleco Lopez preps his bike for the Dakar © Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool
By Tim Sturtridge

The third day of the 2014 Dakar Rally is the midway point of the first marathon for the bikes and quads. At the end of the stage between San Rafael and San Juan the competitors will be sent to a separate bivouac and will have no support from their mechanics until they’re reunited at the end of day four.

The marathon stage puts the focus on the bikers to take care of their own machines so what are their team of expert mechanics doing all day? We asked Stefan Huber, Red Bull KTM Factory Team’s Technical Manager and his colleagues what this “day off” means for them… What is the best thing about the marathon stages at the Dakar?

√ Answer 1: We get to see the bikers relying on their own mechanical skills and that adds an extra element to the competition.

☐ Answer 2: It gives the crew a chance to organise the support trucks after the first couple of days of racing.

☐ Answer 3: The crew get the chance to forget about the race completely. Go into town, sink a few beers and go exploring.

RB: What gets you stressed at the Dakar?

☐ Answer 1: Arriving for a shower after all the hot water has gone and having a freezing cold wash.

☐ Answer 2: Driving for 10 hours between a stage while my colleagues are all snoring on the back seat.

√ Answer 3: Getting inside the sleeping bag after a long day and another team in the bivouac use that moment to check the revs on their engine.

Marc Coma rides the romance of the Dakar
Marc Coma rides the romance of the Dakar © Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool

RB: What impresses you most about the fans in South America?

√ Answer 1: The hospitality, we are always offered food and drink wherever we stop.

☐ Answer 2: The numbers, so many people come out to cheer us along the route.

☐ Answer 3: The knowledge, the locals really know their bikes around here.

RB: What would be the most romantic result at this Dakar?

√ Answer 1: Marc Coma comes back from injury to win his fourth title.

☐ Answer 2: Chaleco Lopez wins in front of his home crowd in Chile.

☐ Answer 3: Surrounded by sweaty guys all day I can’t get romantic at the Dakar.

RB: How to plan to celebrate finishing another Dakar?

√ Answer 1: Relax with a nice Chilean wine and a seafood dish (but maybe we look for some beers and wiener schnitzel as an alternative).

☐ Answer 2: Jumping naked into the Pacific Ocean off the harbour in Valparaiso.

☐ Answer 3: I will need to lie down in a dark room for a few days after all this finishes.

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