“The main target is to finish again”
January 2 nd 2020 - 16:57 [GMT + 3]
Edwin Straver is delighted to be discovering the Middle East after two experiences in South America. At the administrative and technical scrutineering organised in Jeddah, the former motocross rider cannot wait to set off for Al Wajh on the long and tough first stage. “It’s great to change scenery,” comments Edwin at the exit of the briefing on how to use the Iritrack system correctly. “I rode two Dakar rallies in South America and even though I adore that continent, we were starting to go round in circles a bit. Last year, lots of the stages used already well-known tracks. This year, it really will be a brand new adventure”. Having triumphed last year in the Original by Motul category, Edwin Straver has decided to do it again for the first Dakar organised in Saudi Arabia, as an unassisted biker, and not just to save money. “Going it alone suits my character and my way of seeing the race,” asserts the strapping Dutchman. “I’m perhaps not the fastest rider, but I’m a good all-rounder and fairly consistent. What’s more, coping on your own is the genuine spirit of rally-raids”. This year, the organisers have decided to give a slight helping hand to these adventurers by limiting the time for road-book preparation for all the riders. “The road-books we will receive will already be colour-coded and often handed out in the morning,” a point which pleases Edwin. “It will help us, because when you take part in the Original by Motul category, you don’t have much time to spend on preparing the road-book. When you arrive at the bivouac late in the evening, your priority is checking the bike and getting some rest”. Despite his victory in 2019, the Dutch rider’s ambitions are on the cautious side. “Last year I won, although it wasn’t my target,” he states. “So this year the main target is to finish again. It’s a win for every rider who gets to the finish, especially for this edition, when there will be forty-something unassisted bikers”. To spice things up, the route will also be rich in surprises. “There will be a lot of rocks and sand,” declares the KTM rider. “I think the riding will be about the same as last year in Peru. Maybe they will make the navigation a little more difficult”. We shall get an initial idea of whether he is right on Sunday 5th January.