Monday, January 18, 2016

Not happy with ruining his own rally, Robby Gordon ruined Sheldon Creed's too.

Ah yes. Robby Gordon. The entitled prick I love to hate. In this year's Dakar - as expected - Robby Gordon was a non-feature. Frankly I don't know why he keeps taking part - he clearly doesn't have the skill or mental attitude to even get close to the top. Instead he relies on cheating, then plays the blame game. This year he was caught speeding in one of the transport stages, and immediately blamed the Dakar organisation, saying that they make up the rules as they go. As with almost everything Gordon says, this too was wrong. The Dakar has had established speed limits on transport stages - especially in built-up areas and through villages - since its inception. This is nothing new - this rule was not 'made up on the fly'. But Gordon was the only person to flout this rule, he got caught and penalised, and in his mind that was somehow not his fault. What made this incident worse was that he passed a vehicle that had it's distress beacon running, typically meaning the driver was injured and in need of help. Gordon ignored this too, preferring to look after himself than show some compassion for another driver who might have been badly injured.
When he's not cheating (or punching his co-driver - yes - there's video although it was never shown in the US) he spends a considerable amount of energy berating the other teams. A couple of years ago, he said "MINIs are for girls". This was just before the MINI team handed him his ass on a plate. He's accused every other driver in the top four teams of cheating, despite him being the one who always cheats and gets penalised (remember the air-injection system a couple of years back?). He can't retain team mates, mostly because he's self-centered and thinks everyone should be there to help him, but not the other way around. Nasser Al-Attiyah learned that the hard way in 2012 when he stopped to help Gordon but the next day when he needed help, Gordon blew past him like he didn't exist.
Sadly, it's not just Gordon - it's his team's ethos. This year, his second driver - Sheldon Creed - was showing some excellent progress, coming ahead of Robby in almost every stage. He was humble, he got on well with the other drivers in the bivouak and he was knuckling down and just getting on with it. Sadly he suffered the random hand of fate that happens on the Dakar and his team - at Robby's behest - made him skip checkpoints to get to the end of the stage. As would be expected, Creed was disqualified.
Now to put this into perspective, on the same day, Sébastien Loeb rolled his Peugeot and did far more damage to it than was done to Creed's car. Loeb and his navigator tore the body off (what was left of it), replaced the transmission, the propshaft, one complete suspension assembly and two wheels in 40°C heat, and still made it through all the checkpoints to the finish, losing only an hour. By comparison, the damage to Creed's car was limited to a bent rim, collapsed suspension and bodywork damage.
Gordon is the antithesis of what it is to race in the Dakar. Camaraderie, teamwork, the safety of others and the outright competition are all factors in this rally. But in Gordon's mind, he thinks he deserves to win at any cost, and if someone gets in his way, they'll suffer the consequences. He never stops to assist people who clearly need help. He rams other drivers. He's forced motorbike riders off the trails regularly. He's violent, prone to tantrums and a danger to everyone around him on the rally.
If Robby Gordon follows through with his threat to never come back to the Dakar Rally, it'll be the best outcome I could imagine. He should go back to whatever it is he normally does and leave those of us who love the Dakar to enjoy it without his unneeded presence.

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