Monday, January 17, 2011

The Dakar Rally 2011

To the average American, this blog post might as well be written in Greek.In a country where NASCAR is considered track racing, and the Baja is considered to be an off-road race, the annual Dakar rally is almost unheard of, which is a shame because it's the longest, toughest off-road race staged anywhere. Part of the reason is the abominable TV coverage. It should of course be covered by Speed channel, but instead it's covered by Versus - predominantly a golfing channel. It's a half-hour program each night, which because of the adverts means it's 22 minutes. They spend 5 minutes doing filler pieces with some woman who thinks we're interested in "local flavour" and 5 minutes insulting a Eurosport presenter by consistently mispronouncing his name (they call him "gerr-nott" when it's pronounced "zher-no"). You'd never know there were more than 5 cars and 5 bikes racing to see the Versus coverage. No mention of the quad bikes, the independent entries, or the 400-plus other vehicles. And barely any mention of the trucks. For the Dakar fans, you know what the trucks are. For the Americans, we're not talking those silly little trophy truck things you drive across Baja. In the Dakar rally, they race derivatives of the team support trucks - arguably the most spectacular vehicle segment of the rally and yet Versus must have spent a full 2 minutes of airtime over the last 14 days talking about them. If you love the Dakar rally, petition Speed channel to cover it next year. We'll all thank you.
Dakar truck racing at its best:


Paul said...

Hey Chris. Not often this happens but I have to disagree with some of what you say.
First of all I do agree that the Dakar is the best, toughest off road race in the world, no doubt about that.
But to infer that the Baja isn't really an off road race is ridiculous. The terrain is certainly off road not to mention the engineering and skill required to drive at over 100mph across said terrain that makes the suspension move more than 3ft.

Anonymous said...

Let's see how our local guys from city "Ogre" ;) will do next year with surprise - an electric car "OSCar eO".