|Pharaons Rally: Before the start - The stories behind from the Pharaons Rally.|
The "Pharaons Rally" starts on Monday the 19th, taking the competitors through Egypt from the coast of the Red Sea to the beautifull Oasis' between the desert and the mountains in the west. After five days of desert racing and 1500 kilometers of special stage a specacular finish in Caïro awaits the teams, racing along the Pyramids for the last kilometers.
The first teams arrived for the scrutineering. With plenty of time left before the prologue everyone takes it easy in the hot Egyptian sun. Tough battles are ahead but this is the time for friends to meet and rejoice under the African sun. Rallyraid is about competition as much as it can be a friendly scene bringing people from all over the world to the most beautifull places – like the Pharaons Rally does in Egypt.
Well prepared teams have joined the race: Overdrive brought two cars with Marek Dabrowski and Yazeed Al-Rajhi. Mini will arrive tomorrow and holds the cards for victory with three fast riders, including Erik van Loon and Nasser Al-Attiyah. Miroslav Zapletal brings his Hummer H3. After seeing him in the Mauritanian dunes we think he might be the outsider who can stir the familiar battle between Overdrive and Mini in this years' rallyraid competition.
Several Egyptian teams are present as well, joining a race on familiar grounds. Adham Mostafa and Hakam Rabie compete with their Isuzu D-Max in T2 standard class. "Racing the Pharaons Rally is unlike normal dune driving," Adham says. "The entire approach is different, normally I choose an easy and safe line through the dunes. In the Pharaons we take the fastest route, even when the risk is a bit higher." The team looks at the competition with the greatest respect. "These are the best racers of the world. We aim for the podium in our class, that is important for us."
Dr. Keiko from Japan races her special Toyota FJ T1 for the seventh time in the Pharaons. Small lights show up in her eyes as she speaks of the dunes, the beauty of Egypt and the tracks in the Pharaons but her goal is humble. "I want to reach the finish, that is enough for me." We will follow Hamaguchi Keiko and her Italian codriver Umberto Fiori during the forthcoming race...
This years route takes the teams from the sandy beaches of the Red Sea deep into the deserts of Egypt. After the prologue the race follows ancients trading routes to Luxor, along the banks of the river Nile.
After two long desert stages and a bivouac in the remote area of Dahkla the teams reach Baharia in the north, a former tradecentre for the camel caravans bringing goods from Chad and Sudan. In Baharia two days with dunes will decide the race before the final stage and ceremonial finish in the capital Caïro.
34 Bikes start in the Pharaons, 22 in the 450cc class. Most of the others are adventurers from Italy on the beautifull 690, with two exceptions: Gianmarco Grosso rides one of the classic Aprilia's and Stefano Chiussi chose the KTM 500. As the factoryteams of Honda and KTM are not in the race the field for the Worldcup is open. Juan Carlos Salvatierra on Speedbrain and Mohammed Balooshi on KTM will benefit from this, both fast riders with enough experience to reach the finish in this spectacular rally.
Unique is the story of the South African Wessel Bosman, who rode his bike from Capetown to the start of the Pharaons in El Gouna, to race the Pharaons. "Almost ten years ago I did the same trip with my son. We camped under the pyramids and only shortly after we returned home my son died in a car accident, close to our house."
Wessel runs a snow resort in Lesotho and came to the race by bike. "It was not too hard," he says with a smile on his face. "Luckily I have recovered from the malaria I picked up in Mozambique. The help I received on my way here gives me the spirit to keep going and race the Pharaons in memory of my son!"
On the 20th of may the scrutineering will be finished and in the afternoon the teams will start in the prologue on the beach of El Gouna. It will only decide the starting order for the first stage but we expect some fireworks from the teams. Winning the prologue might not even be the best idea as the first stage will be tough to navigate. According to the organizer: "You cannot miss 50 meters, or you'll end up in the wrong valley.." Tomorrow (Monday) we'll know who has the courage to open this stage!
2014/05/19 | 01:22 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/HATZMANN