The tandem category!
Dakar 2024 |
Stage 11 |
January 18 th 2024 - 23:40 [GMT + 3]
They wear the numbers 131 and 132, and have remained together throughout the Dakar, both on the track and in the Original by Motul enclosure. Anthony Fabre and Andy Beaucoud are getting ready to complete their great challenge, in a simple and friendly spirit.
It seems that some people had a good laugh when they saw Andy Beaucoud and Anthony Fabre present themselves on the Dakar under the acronym RAF, a reference to their shared passion for the great hours of British military aviation, but which could also be interpreted as a skewed sort of motto such as Retired After Finishing, Random As F***, etc. In fact, over the last year and a half, the two mates since their teenage years have been seriously preparing for the challenge they wanted to take, with a minimum budget. The most obvious option was therefore to enrol in the Original by Motul category. “We’re doing a ‘low-cost’ Dakar,” explains Anthony, “And that’s why we’re doing it on enduro bikes which we’ve enhanced with a bigger petrol tank. It’s also a way of enjoying the rally in a simple atmosphere, surrounded by nice people and sleeping in a tent. That’s what we like”.
When it came to the time to take action, the two amateur bikers, who have tried their hand at every discipline - off-road, track and road racing - adopted a strategy that matched both their objectives and their potential. “We’ve always ridden together,” says Andy. “It’s probably not the right approach if you’re looking for a good result, but if you just want to finish without bothering about the rankings, then it works very well”. Anthony goes into more detail about the chemistry between the companions on the tracks and in the dunes: “I like riding in front because if I make a navigation mistake, it’s my own fault, so I prefer to open the way. In general, Andy is a little more comfortable than me in the dunes, whereas I’m quicker in among the rocks. So, if I have to make two attempts to climb a dune that he’s managed in one go, then he waits for me”. The only minor blemish on their shared 8,000-kilometre ride, including link routes, came yesterday, when the loss of a fuel cap doused Anthony's trousers with petrol, and he was suddenly in a hurry to get to the finish of the special to have his bum doused with anti-burn cream!
Every evening, when they return to the bivouac to set up camp in the Original by Motul area, they continue to work together to take care of maintenance on their bikes. “We share the tasks to save time. I do the oil changes, whilst he deals with the air filters. Since Andy is a mechanic by trade, he does the more technical stuff, while I do the cleaning and putting up the tents. That’s how we make it work together”. Once again, almost like a couple but without the domestic squabbles, the duo has found their winning formula. On the eve of the final finish, Andy and Anthony had hardly fallen at all, and have collected a whole host of souvenirs, “like when we found ourselves with other bikers around a campfire on the 48 HR Chrono stage and Stéphane Peterhansel arrived. We spent a long time talking with him”. Finally, are the two men from Lyon happy with their result as they prepare for the finishing ceremony in Yanbu? “I have no idea, we haven’t been keeping track,” says Andy. “All that we are bothered about is having a good day on the bike on each stage and giving each other a high five when we finish it”. When they have each received their finisher’s medal, taken off their helmets and climbed out of their overalls, Andy and Anthony will perhaps allow themselves to take a glance at the general rankings: with 70th and 71st place, they are truly inseparable.