2 years ago

Dirt and Trail Dec 2019

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South Africas Enduro, Adventure and MX magazine.



Earlier we introducedyou to the effervescentTaye Perry who tookpart in the MerzougaRallye in preparation forher attack on Dakar.As a part of her trainingshe took on the RallyeDu Maroc that attractsall the top riders fromacross the world as afinal prep for Dakar.Incidentally, next year,Dakar is happening inSaudi Arabia in Jan2020. Taye qualified atMerzouga and will be onthe start line.Quite a few Southern Africanstook part – it’s amazing tosee how such a small ridingcommunity produces so manyworld class racers.Taye was joined by guys likeRoss Branch from Botswana,Zimbawe’s Graeme Sharp,SA’s Aaron Mare, who spendsmost of his life betweenthe US and Dubai and SA’sWerner Kennedy and AlexRuprecht-Gersteroph. Noneof the other SA lady racerstook part, however Taye andKirsten Landman will both becompeting against the likes ofLaia Sanz who won this race.The star in the mens divisionwas Ross Branch who came inin 8th overall – but Taye says towatch out for Aaron Marais –he is so fast!!Taye says:“The Rallye Du maroc is verydifferent to Merzouga – lesssandy, and a lot more rocky,tough terrain with Marbles andlurkers all over the place. Lotsof mountainous climbs andhilly stuff – where Merzougawas a lot flatter. The averagerace day starts at six in themorning – with long liasonsand special race sections. Theaverage rider is in the saddlefor around 8 hours.”They run a very similar styleto Daker – so for example – atMerzuoga we did our own roadbooks the evening before thestage. At Maroc, for the firsttime, riders were given thenew coloured roadbook onthe day – which means thatevery competitor is followingTaye with FactoryHusqvarna riderAndrew Short“From the start of the special, spectacularmountain passes, lots of rocks, in yourface all the time. Hard on the tyres andthe body – and before we even go there– the entire race is one big dust cloud –so visibility is fun. You have to race withyour head. It was a good day for me – youkind of overtake the guys who are slower,get overtaken by the faster vehicles(Usually the cars cough, cough)...”Taye at the start ofthe prologue.blind. The reason for this is toprevent riders from literallygoogle earthing the routes inadvance and planning, whereothers don’t have that luxury.They will be using this systemat Dakar. It’s all about eveningout the playing fields.It’s a full five days of racing.This was Tayes first time ona “factory” rallye replica. Sherented from Nomade – theyoffer a package where theysupply and prep the bikes –and keep the wheels turningevery evening.The prologue is short, onlyabout 10 kilometres of racingafter a long liason. The routezigzagged up and down asteep, slippery mountain –and general consensus – veryorderly and a good format.From a field of roughly 75 bikes,Taye came in at 36. Everyonewe spoke to enjoyed theshorter format, it’s a good prepfor the next days of racing.Day 1, around 500KM’s. Earlystart – freezing cold.“Liason - you hop on the taramong all the other racersand backup crews for about200KM’s watching your speedall along just to get to thestart of the specials. And thisis a part of the race – youexceed speed limits, you getpenalized, you arrive late, youget penalized, so you have toride with your head. And thebackups can actually travelfaster – so you find yourselfbeing overtaken… It’s a verystrange feeling.”“From the start of the special,spectacular mountain passes,lots of rocks, in your face all thetime. Hard on the tyres and thebody – and before we even gothere – the entire race is onebig dust cloud – so visibility isfun. You have to race with yourhead. It was a good day for me– you kind of overtake the guyswho are slower, get overtakenby the faster vehicles (Usuallythe cars cough, cough) –and you find your pace andgenerally ride solo for mostof the day. And that’s coolbecause you can focus on racelines and your road book. Iwas happy with 36th for theday. The special finished at thebivouac, so thankfully therewas no long liason, we couldprep the bikes and go and sleep– get ready for the marathonday on day 2.”DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2019 81