Alchemy before Dakar

My stories / 21. January 2021

Getting ready for the Dakar bares signs of alchemy as the motorbike must be set up according to the type of the race and the track. A well-adjusted suspension is the basis for safe driving:

“If you have it set incorrectly and there is a stone, the motorcycle will not absorb the shock and it will throw you down,” explains Svitko.

Before this year’s Dakar, he relied on the home technician Ľubo Kaňa, with whom he has experience from other races. After a lot of training, they managed to adjust the suspension so that it “worked” for the rocks and even when jumping on the dunes:

“It’s a true alchemy, it’s not easy and not everyone can do it.”

The preparation also required choosing the right rear sprocket. Svitko started the race unusually, on the 14:48 gear:

“I didn’t mind the first stage, but in the second I was overtaken by one factory rider.”

After this experience he decided to change the rear sprocket:

“We found out that other riders use the 49-50 gear, some even 51.”

Many Dakar racers are being tried by the life of their tires. While they may have as many front tires and they can carry, the amount of rear tires is limited to six:

“We were planning to change the tire every other day. But the first stage was quite rocky, so I already damaged one tire a bit.”

Although the damage to the tire was minimal, the team did not want to take any risks and replaced it. The shortage of tires was saved by the following stages:

“Fortunately, then, two stages were on the sandy surface. After these two stages, the tire as good as new, hence I used it for the third stage as well.”

What do riders do if their tires don’t work out? They reuse them, starting from the beginning, but they have to adapt the ride:

“One can not ride so aggressively, as the tire is worn out.”

my track stories


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