PAUL NEFF(usa) 1.83m / 113kg
Riding motorcycles, especially trials bikes
Atlas Throttle Lock, Klim, Mosko Moto, Avara Construction, Goldentyre West, Gill Construction, WCW Trucking, Alpinestars, Tacoma Motorcycle Club, Stumpjumpers MC, Domain St Laurent, Autobahn Specialist, Lacey Collision, Raines Riding University, Jimmy Lewis Off-road, Methow Cycle and Sport, Davis Cutting, Little A** family farms, Fuchs bros, High Lead Helicopters, Mt. Baker Roofing
“I'm trying not to put any pressure on myself”
One of the most talented bikers in the United States will be making his Dakar debut in 2023. Paul Neff has been riding since he was four years old, and boasts a CV as diverse as the terrain where he grew up in the Pacific Northwest. Surrounded by forests, mountains and high desert, the 35-year-old learned a variety of skills, and kicked off his competitive career with motocross before starring in enduro. At just 16, he rode his first International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) in Brazil, earning a silver medal on a club team. The following year he took silver again as a junior trophy member in Poland, before striking gold with the US trophy team in New Zealand in 2006. Satisfied with his achievements in enduro and struggling with some injuries, Paul moved away from dirtbikes and took up trials, which remains his favourite discipline on two wheels. Thanks to his versatile skillset, Paul set up Cipsus Cycles, an off-road training school in Washington state. In 2019 the company established a partnership with Jimmy Lewis Off-road, run by the former Dakar competitor and navigation guru. Slowly but surely, the man from Puyallup has been drawn to the world of rally-raid, and even started training with 2020 Dakar winner Ricky Brabec and Andrew Short a few years ago. When Kyle McCoy floated the idea of the American Rally Originals (ARO) project -to get the first riders from the US to the finish line of Original by Motul- Paul decided he wanted in. After a busy year of grassroots fundraising -in which he has been overwhelmed by people's support- the construction worker is now looking to build something special at the Dakar, and he’s looking forward to competing alongside a large contingent of fellow Americans. His build-up to the rally hasn’t been ideal; he suffered a broken neck and separated shoulders at the recent Baja Rally. But ironically, he feels that crash may temper his love of speed, and force him to adopt a more conservative approach that will bring him safely to the finish line. In Kyle’s view, he could even end up battling for overall victory in the Original by Motul class. Whatever happens, Paul is set for a memorable first outing -especially if he comes across his idol Stephane Peterhansel on the bivouac.
“My dad had this poster of Stephane Peterhansel in his garage. I was real little, and I remember looking up at this Peterhansel poster, he's on a big Yamaha with the dust flying up. He's my idol. When I was a kid, he was winning all the Six Days, winning the Dakar, and he's still crushing it in the cars today! He's unreal. And it's mind-blowing that I now get the opportunity to share a bivouac with him. My path has been pretty diverse, with motocross, enduro, ISDE, trials, rally. I told myself at a young age I would never be able to do Dakar, but I've figured out how to get there. Kyle definitely spearheaded this project. He planted the seed of the ARO idea, getting an American to the finish of Original by Motul. The pieces were all there and all I had to do was say yes, and I did.
I think my odds of finishing Dakar are higher because of my crash. I have a lot of speed if I choose to use it. If it makes sense to push, I'm capable of pushing, but I'm trying not to put any pressure on myself to use the speed I have. When you start losing track of what the original goal was, I think it opens us up for bad things to happen. It seems like all the Americans at Dakar are about helping each other out. Everyone's been so awesome, there are no egos. I'm very proud to be an American going rally racing at this time. I can't imagine going to Dakar the way the legends before us did: guys like Jonah Street, Chris Blais, Kurt Caselli. There wasn't the same support. But they paved the way for us, and maybe we're paving the way for more success in the future. Ricky winning in 2020 made a huge difference. People are watching the Dakar now in the US, which is just awesome."
AMERICAN RALLY ORIGINALS
KTM 450 RALLY FACTORY REPLICA
AMERICAN RALLY ORIGINALS
- Marque KTM
- Modèle 450 RALLY FACTORY REPLICA
- Préparateur BAS Dakar
- Assistance Original by Motul
- Classe Rally 2
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