Gearing Up For The Dakar Rally

Come New Year’s Day when most of us will be working out hangovers, the 153 drivers in the 2016 Dakar Rally will be preparing to race.

The Dakar Rally started in 1977 as a greased gear-glamorous motor race between a collection of well-heeled racers who would set out from Paris and crash across the Sahara in all manner of off-road craft.

It all started when founder Thierry Sabine, having become lost on his motorcycle during the Abidjan-Nice rally, became so enthralled with the desert surroundings that he developed the race once he returned to France.

It’s a fine contest, mixing the gentlemanly sensibilities of aristocratic playboys with the sporty proclivities of dust-coated motorheads. Of course, a good skill set for mechanics, competitive driving and wilderness navigation, not to mention a near epic level of stamina, are all essential for the successful completion of the contest.

It doesn’t hurt either to be very, very rich.

“A challenge for those who go. A dream for those who stay behind,” reads the slogan.

The race has since become one of the most brutal in the world. It’s less like a stage rally and more like an off-road endurance course. Because it takes place over just a few days,  it’s known as a rally raid.

Beginning Jan. 3, the race will span the South American Continent, where the contestants speed though Argentina and into Bolivia, starting in Buenos, traveling in one meandering loop and finishing in Rosario. 

This year’s teaser video, however, has taken a strange turn. Rather than the typical, action packed, quick edit, high octane footage common to such race promos, this year’s video takes on a sort of interpretive dance flavor. It’s odd, to say the least. We get to watch the racers smearing their faces with grime, in slow motion.

Maybe it’s enough that the Dakar Rally Raid has been around for so long and carries such gravitas that the organizers felt justified in taking a risk with a strange, post-Metrosexual  montage of racers as models. It is South America, after all. Watch below to see for yourself. 

Photo credit: Youtube