THOMAS BELL(gbr) 1.72m / 83kg
All things desert!
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“We're 100 miles an hour, 100% of the time”
Thomas Bell and Patrick McMurren certainly enjoyed a baptism of fire on their Dakar debut last year. Despite rolling in the dunes, colliding with a boulder and spending two nights in the desert, the British duo faced the slings and arrows of the world's toughest rally head on, showing great perseverance and tenacity to come home in 48th place. The dust had barely settled on their successful maiden outing when they began plotting for Dakar 2020, which will be taking place much closer to home. Tom and Patrick run the Sabertooth Motoring Adventure in Dubai, which is just over the border from Saudi Arabia, and their familiarity with the dunes should stand them in good stead for this second participation. Patrick's love of motorsport stems from his upbringing in Kenya, where he first discovered the Dakar on television as a boy. He and Tom met at the 2015 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and soon realised they shared a passion for adventure, which led to them fulfilling Patrick's long-cherished dream of taking part in the Dakar in 2019. They have a much better idea what to expect this time around, and are confident of an improved performance in their Nissan Navara, prepared by Red-Lined South Africa. One thing's for sure: this charismatic, high-octane pair will give it their all to see the finish line once again.
P.M.: “I was bitten by the Dakar bug aged five or six. I grew up in Kenya, where motorsport is a religion, and we had access to a South African television provider. There was an hour of Dakar coverage every night, and once I discovered rallying I never looked back. I didn't know when, but I knew I would do the Dakar one day. It was just a matter of time. I was competing at the 2015 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge as a navigator for Polaris when Tom approached me about training some of his guys. The more I got to know him, the more I realised his ambitions stretched further than pootling around in the desert. I told him about my Dakar ambitions and got him on the hook. We finally pulled the trigger last year, but it was very far afield. This year it's on our doorstep. Tom lived in Saudi Arabia for five years and has been in the region for nearly 30, while I've been in the UAE for 13 years. We've spent so much time in the dunes that I'm surprised I haven't turned into a camel! We're out in the desert at every opportunity, and compared to other teams we have such exposure to the dunes. The best way of describing me and Tom is that we're 100 miles an hour, 100% of the time. Full gas, full energy. One of the overriding feelings after last year is that ignorance is bliss! Now we know what's coming, what it takes to grind a Dakar finish out. So our preparations have been significantly more focused, in terms of physical training and time spent in the car. Our Red-Lined Nissan is probably third tier compared to the likes of Toyota Overdrive and Mini X-Raid. If you can believe it, we've got a team of 11 people for one car! So we're going to be a very different team this year. The Dakar is certainly taking up more and more of our time. Literally, I think as soon as the mist of last year's hangover cleared, we started thinking about the next one.”
SABERTOOTH MOTORING ADVENTURE/RED-LINED
- Mark : NISSAN
- Model : NAVARA
- Performance tuner : Red-Lined SA
- Assistance : Sabertooth and Red-Lined Team - Manufacture
- Class : T1.1 petrol modified A-T 4x4
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