Dakar 2011: Day 01
At about 4.30 am Argentina time this morning, Simon Harslett received news that has caused him to withdraw from the event. Glenn ferried him immediately back to Buenos Aires so he could fly home and then made it up to Cordoba later in the day. He’s been a little out of touch with the team due to his 1,100km diversion.
The 3 remaining riders all rode well today. The final positions are as follows:
31st place – #113 – Jacob Smith
85th place – #121 – Warren Strange
106th place – #117 – Mark Davidson
Jacob and Warren incurred each a significant time penalty for the special stage due to late check ins at the start line. Both had accidentally missed a turn on the liaison section resulting in their times for the special starting more than 10 minutes before they got there. Upon arrival at the start line they were both waved through straight away so they both knew that they had incurred penalties.
At this stage it looks as if Jacob would have been safely in top ten and Warren also would have placed much higher had they not arrived late. We have not done the maths yet to find out precisely where they would have placed. While they were both frustrated at the mistake, they can take comfort that they are both very much on the pace.
Mark Davidson returned from the special happy with his progress.
Robbie Gordon has pitted right next to GHR in the bivouac overnight. Their support trucks are apparently something to behold. Hopefully we should have some pics from service over the next 10 hours.
Glenn has just called in with a run down on the day so far, but first off those of you following the results on the Dakar website will have noticed that Simon Harslett was missing from the times list. Simon has left Argentina for Australia due to personal circumstances at home and will take no further part in the event. Everyone at GHR is thinking of him and his family.
More to come on the day’s stage shortly.
Glenn has called in at the end of the day 1 after the ceremonial start and first transport.
The start was a massive even with crowds lining the streets and nearly all of the route of the transport. Even though the service vehicles took a different route to the competitors, even their passage was also lined with spectators. Most of the towns had about 10km of crowds with people standing 3 deep and little parties of fans set up all along the highways all hoping to get close to the vehicles. This made for very slow – a first gear crawl in some places.
The night before the start the riders were all staying in town and resting up, but the service crew were very busy indeed. They were all still playing catch up due to the time lost with the late arrival of the truck and gear. All the gear in the truck was reorganised to prepare for bivouac servicing. It’s a routine the crew will come to know well as the even progresses.
4.00 am: The service crew were up at to embark on their into town.
8.30 am: Competitor group photo.
10.00 am: Competitor briefings.
2.30 pm: First bikes cross the obelisk at the ceremonial start and begin the 500km transport.
12.00 am: Glenn calls in, everyone else asleep for another 4.00 am rise.
The transport section went smoothly apart from a couple if minor issues with fuel tank breathers but these were resolved quickly.
We look forward to hearing from Glenn tomorrow after the end of the first competitive stage of 192km.