Monday, January 14, 2013

Robby Gordon has no place in the Dakar

Long-time readers of my blog might recall that I have an axe to grind with Robby Gordon, especially when it comes to his participation in the Dakar Rally. Let me explain. I've deeply enjoyed watching and attending the Dakar since I was a kid. I love the camaraderie of the racers, the mix of bikes, trucks, quads and cars, and the general demeanour of the teams and personalities that this event attracts.
For the uninitiated, it's a 14-day, 5,300 mile rally that used to run from Paris to Dakar, but is now run in South America retaining only the 'Dakar' name. It's a severe test of drivers and machines, there are regularly deaths and injuries and it's not unusual to see less than 40% of the initial entrants finish. It's difficult and dangerous and everyone looks out for everyone else.
Then Robby Gordon came along with his peculiar brand of arrogant, boorishness, somehow thinking he was entitled to win because he'd taken part in some silly little "desert" race in California. His attitude is completely wrong, for a start. He treats the Dakar like his own personal playground and you can tell all you need to know about him from the very first day of the rally. Where all the other competitors drive up the start ramp, get out of the car, greet the crowd, do press interviews and are generally pleasant to the press and public, Gordon prefers to jump the ramp through the start gate, perform a doughnut and then drive off in a royal "f*ck you" to everyone there. That's just the start of it.
Last year he was caught cheating, and whenever he has a bad day, he has the mother of all tantrums. Most of the racers take bad days in their stride. Gordon prefers to nearly give his co-drivers concussion by throwing helmets, punching things and driving like a dick. It's like watching a 5-year-old being deprived of their blanket:

I'm sorry but that's not the behaviour of a grown adult. That's the behaviour of a spoiled, entitled brat who isn't getting his way.
He's full of hostility and very obvious disdain for anyone not on his team, and has no sense of team spirit or the camaraderie required for serious off-road racing.
Two years ago he bitched and whined when his team driver flew past him while he was stranded on the side of the road, saying that they should be working as a "team" and that he should have stopped. Last year, when the opposite happened, he abandoned Nasser Al Attiyah in the middle of the desert. Apparently Robby Gordon's idea of "team work" is "everyone must help me". No surprise then that his team, co-drivers and team-mates change every year. Nobody will do more than one rally with him.
He's impatient and dangerous when he's driving, forcing other vehicles out of the tracks into brush and rocks as if he was redneck racing in NASCAR. Last year he damn near killed one of the motorcyclists when he knocked him off his bike because he was (to quote Gordon) "in his way". Overall he's actually a terrible, terrible driver. This year is the fifth time he's tried the Dakar. He's failed spectacularly three times and been disqualified for cheating once. This year he beached his car on the only sand dune of the day on the 8 mile first day stage. Then he broke his gearbox trying to get it off. The second day he beached it again and needed a tow. The fourth day he turned it over and lost 4 hours, whining and complaining that "the dune wasn't marked on the map" when everyone else was flying past his wreck on the same route without any issue.
He talked crap about the Mini team last year and again this year saying "minis are for girls" but oddly, because the Mini team have talented drivers, they're handing Gordon his ass on a plate (as usual). Finally he talks smack about the other drivers ("Nasser is full of shit", "Peterhansel is a whiny bitch") as if that's somehow going to endear him to the other teams, organisers and spectators (note: it doesn't).
So please excuse me if you see me cheering and clapping when I see his stupid orange Hummer upside down in the desert, or beached, or sitting in a rocky gully. He's destroying the Dakar, he has no place in this event, and frankly the sooner he realises that and gives up on it, the better off motorsports fan will be.