The eagle-eyed amongst you would have spotted we’re not in Saudi Arabia, lining up for Dakar ’22. Things were looking grand until October – entries accepted, Mick Extance Dakar Academy plans in place, training camps booked – but then the organisers told us we couldn’t enter the Malle Moto class (or Original by Motul, as it’s now known) which left us hanging by the goolies. That meant finding a support crew or team, and a ton of money, within a few weeks.
In truth, we were struggling for funds anyway, but conjuring the additional £40,000 from our bum holes was the deciding factor. And, to make matters worse, Mick Extance was told he could no longer compete at the Dakar, which obviously crushed him. The organisers said Mick’s tumour rendered him unfit to race, despite an independent medical report suggesting otherwise.
Plenty of people told us that getting to the start line of the Dakar rally is a big enough challenge in itself. We knew this Dakar project was really going to test us, but it’s been even more difficult than we could have ever imagined.
We’ve worked with some really good people who’ve helped us massively with everything we need to do to prep for this event, but there’s been so many unknowns, and unexpected hurdles along the way, that it’s been almost impossible for us to make a plan and stick to it. Not least of all because the goalposts have been moved so many times.
We’ve already put a ridiculous amount of our own money, as well as other peoples, into this project, so we’re determined to make it happen. We will make it happen. And whilst there’s every chance we’ll come across some more unexpected hurdles, or ridiculously expensive hoops to jump through, along the way, we’ve got a better idea of how things work now, so we’ll be better equipped to deal with them.
With hindsight, our plans to compete in the 2022 Dakar might have been a bit ambitious. But delaying things by 12 months maybe isn’t a bad thing, all things considered. It’ll give us more time to raise the funds we need, prep the bikes, and get ourselves ready physically. Another year of learning can’t be a bad thing.
Thank you to everyone who has donated. We’ll be back for another bash in 2023…
Al + Boothy x