Argentina Chile Dakar: 2011 Mapped

Argentina Chile Dakar

With regard to monumental challenges every sport has a benchmark for the extreme. Surfing has the giant waves at Mavericks. Mountain climbing has formidable Everest. And off-road motorcycle racing has the Dakar.

The legendary enduro rally, previously known as the Paris-Dakar and later moved to South America, tends to conjure up notions in adventurous motorcycling souls of; "I wonder if I could finish." Not win, mind you, just finish. To do even that much in the world’s most grueling off-road race would be a major accomplishment.

The Dakar recon team has completed their route mapping for the 2011 event, preparing a complex and demanding course that snakes through northern Argentina and Chile. The mapping process is vital to the event, with scouts and guides choosing a challenging course and preparing the road-book for the entrants.

This book becomes the competitor’s bible, containing crucial notes, warnings, and logistical and obstacle information to allow navigation during the various stages of the event.

For two weeks, from January 1st to the 15th, 2011, the Dakar will unfold. A simple, two rows worth of squares on a wall calendar, but rest assured the estimated 3,500 miles that separate those dates is certain to make heroes and break hearts.

Competitors depart Buenos Aires and race for seven straight days, all the way to the desert of Arica, before they get a rest day on January 8th. Then it’s another seven straight days of sand, dust, speed and time trials in the ultimate test of mechanical and physical endurance before arriving back in Buenos Aires on the 15th.

For people who may not be aware, Chile and Argentina possess dramatic deserts with endless sand dunes and towering mountains of rocky passes. Organizers have brought back an essence of rider and driver skills with a rules change that greatly reduces reliance on GPS and presents a more challenging aspect of following the map book.

The Dakar Rally has continued to grow since its inception in 1979, attracting riders and drivers intent on challenging themselves while enthralling and fascinating spectators with the ultimate off-road test.

Click video to watch the best of the 2010 Argentina Chile Dakar.