Bridgestone UK, Ktech suspension, RST clothing, Motul, Wrings Transport, Larrson UK, Fowlers Motorcycles, IMS, RebelXsports, Mick Extance Off Road Motorcycle Experience, CG Motorsport, Gruffan Ltd, 44 Teeth, Ride It Clothing, family and friends
“My life is about trying to inspire other people”
Mick Extance's life was turned upside down when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2017. After getting the news, one of the first things the 56-year-old decided he wanted to do was return to the Dakar, which he completed five times during the 2000s. Determined not to let his illness stand in the way of his dream, Mick got the green light to participate in this 2020 edition in Saudi Arabia, which means that after racing in Africa and South America he will also be part of chapter three in Dakar history. He is certainly no stranger to the rally, having first seen television clips of it sitting in the pub as a teenager, and vowing that he would one day take part. After buying his first motorbike at 15, Mick enjoyed great success in enduro and downhill mountain biking before getting a first taste of the Dakar in 2002. Though he abandoned with mechanical problems first time around, he quickly found his groove, finishing four editions in Africa and the first in South America in 2009. He then moved away from racing to focus on the offroad training centre he has set up in north Wales, but will be back after an 11-year hiatus to spread his inspirational message of hope triumphing over adversity.
“One of the reasons I want to go back is that in 2017 I was diagnosed with a brain tumour. And the Dakar soon came back to the front of my mind. It's amazing how things give you that inspiration. I was like, I'll do an eighth Dakar, no problem. They thought I was a bit crazy. I started treatment at Stoke hospital, and my surgeon, Mr Shaw, he's big into the Dakar. I'd never met him before, but he said it was an honour to operate on me. He also warned me: 'There's a possibility you'll be blind when you wake up, but let us look after you'. I spent 15 hours in surgery and woke up two and a half days later, with my wife on one side and the surgeon on the other. The minute I started to connect, he said, 'Can you see me, Mick?' - 'Yes, I can see you' - 'Well that's all I needed to know.' People like that are incredible, so caring and fantastic. I want to get this message across: that when we've got something to chase we can keep smiling and believing in ourselves. Do I feel bad about getting a tumour? No. Has it made me a better person? Yes. My life is about trying to inspire other people. If we can get it more connected through the Dakar, it's an amazing story. The Dakar grabbed me when I was 17, when I was stood in the pub after too many beers. When my dad passed away, he shook my hand and said, 'make it happen'. So for most of the 2000s my life was all about the Dakar, until I committed to the training centre. Then when I got diagnosed with the tumour, the Dakar was the first thing that came back to me. So roll on January 5th! What a lucky achievement. To do Africa, South America, and now go back to do the third one in Saudi. Another little tick in the box -you've managed to conquer the Dakar in three different countries. I want to wave to the world and say 'come on guys, let's all use this as an inspiration'. Time becomes precious, but there is still life left for you. You don't drop downwards, you climb upwards.”
- Mark : KTM
- Model : 450 EXC
- Performance tuner : Mark Roberts
- Assistance : TBC
- Class : G2.1 Super production
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Extance defies the odds
Mick Extance is one of the heart-warming stories of the 2020 Dakar. The 56-year-old Brit was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2017 and told he had a 99% probability of being blind when he woke up from surgery. However, miracles still happen and Extance was eager to return to the Dakar, which he had already entered seven times between 2002 and 2009, to send a message of hope....
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