Motorcycle Types Adventure / Dual-Sport Dakar Rally 2015 Preview | By The Numbers

Dakar Rally 2015 Preview | By The Numbers

Dakar Rally 2015 By the Numbers

For fans of off-road rally motorcycle racing, the most wonderful time of the year arrives after Christmas and at the beginning of the New Year. This is when the world’s most talented dirt riders put their bodies, bikes and minds through near torture to complete the Dakar Rally – rightly coined as the “world’s toughest race.”

This year’s 37th edition is tougher than ever, placing motorcycles and four wheelers against each other and the dry terrains of South America. Upon completion, 5,775 miles will be covered in 13 days, with nearly 3,000 of these timed specials. And like the 2014 Dakar Rally, there will be only one rest day between stage six and 13.

A mirror of 2014, Dakar Rally 2015 begins and ends in Buenos Aires, and will take competitors through three countries – Argentina, Bolivia and Chile. This year’s rally begins Sunday, January 4, and ends Saturday, January 17.

In the motorcycle field, KTM has dominated the Dakar Rally since its first win in 2001 (Paris). That first title for the Austrian “Ready to Race” brand was earned by the Italian Fabrizio Meoni, who piloted a KTM LC4 660R victory. He completed the same feat in 2002 (Arras-Madrid) aboard the LC8 950R.

Next to win for KTM was the Frenchman Richard Sainct in 2003 (Marseille – Sharm el Sheikh), then Nani Roma in 2004 (Arras-Madrid) – both piloting LC4 660R bikes.

Then began the Cyril Despres/Marc Coma era – the Frenchman Despres earning five wins, and Coma four, including the 2014 Dakar Rally, which was also held in the same three South American countries slatted for 2015. This gives KTM 13-consecutive wins at the Dakar Rally (no rally was held in 2008 due to security issues when four French tourist where killed in Mauritania, North Africa).

Despres split with KTM ahead of the 2014 Dakar Rally, competing for Yamaha. But in 2015, he switches to four wheels, spearheading Peugot Sport’s return to auto rally racing after a 25-year hiatus.

Piloting his almighty KTM 450 Rally, Coma will be the only past champion competing in 2015. But that’s nearly a stat; much talent will be present by riders like Olivier Pain (Yamaha), Barreda Bort (Honda), Helder Rodrigues (Honda), Sam Sutherland (KTM) and Jodi Viladoms (KTM), to name a few.

Only two Americans will compete in 2015 Dakar Rally – privateers Gira Tony (KTM, #119) and Narino Antonio (Husqvarna, #164).

As of this writing, there are 166 motorcycle entries – and 88 of those are on KTM machinery. For the complete entry list, click here.

Following are some preview stats of Dakar Rally 2015:

Dakar Rally 2015 – The Numbers:

  • Dates for start and finish of the 2014 Dakar Rally: January 4-17 – Official ceremonial start in Buenos Aires on January 3)
  • Rest Day: January 10
  • Total route: 9,295 km (5,775.6 miles)
  • Total timed specials: 4,752 km (2,952.8 miles)
  • Longest distance in a single day: 1024 km – 636.3 miles (Stage 12)
  • Longest timed special: 781 km – 485.3 miles (Stage 8)
  • Shortest distance in a single day: 393 km – 244.2 miles (Stage 13)
  • Support vehicles: 3 x 26-ton MAN support trucks; 4 x air-conditioned Adria motorhomes for riders’ sleeping quarters 10-12 hours on the bike
  • Average rainfall in the Atacama Desert (Chile): 0 mm
  • Total number of competitors (in motorcycle class): 168

Dakar Rally 2015 Stage Info:

  • January 4 – Stage 1: Buenos Aires to Villa Carlos Paz – 663 km liaison, 175 km special (838 km, 520 miles)
  • January 5- Stage 2: Villa Carlos Paz to San Juan – 107 km liaison, 518 km special (625 km, 388 miles)
  • January 6 – Stage 3: San Juan to Chilecito – 437 km liaison, 220 km special (657 km, 408 miles)
  • January 7 – Stage 4: Chilecito to Copiapó – 594 km liaison, 315 km special (909 km, 565 miles)
  • January 8 – Stage 5: Copiapó to Antofagasta – 235 km liaison, 458 km special (697 km, 433 miles)
  • January 9 – Stage 6: Antofagasta to Iquique – 369 km liaison, 319 km special (688 km, 427 miles)
  • Rest Day – Iquique (January 10)
  • January 11 – Stage 7: Iquique to Uyuni – 395 km liaison, 321 km special (717 km, 445 miles)
  • January 12 – Stage 8: Uyuni to Iquique – 24 liaison, 781 km special (805 km, 500 miles)
  • January 13 – Stage 9: Iquique to Calama – 88 km liaison, 451 km special (539 km, 335 miles)
  • January 14 – Stage 10: Calama Marathon Stage – 520 km liaison, 371 km special (891 km, 554 miles)
  • January 15 – Stage 11: Marathon Stage to Termas Rio Honda – 161 km liaison, 351 km special (512 km, 318 miles)
  • January 16 – Stage 12: Termas Rio Honda to Rosario – 725 km liaison, 298 km special (1024 km, 636 miles)
  • January 17 – Stage 13: Rosario to Buenos Aires 219 km liaison, 174 km special (393 km, 244 miles)

2015 Dakar Rally TV Schedule:

NBCSN will provide broadcast coverage of the Dakar Rally 2015. The coverage begins Monday, January 5, at 4:30 p.m. ET, and the half-hour broadcast will highlight the previous day’s racing. This coverage continues weekdays at 4:30 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays at 6 a.m. during the rally.

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

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