Motul Powersport Ambassador Stuart Gregory from Port Edward achieved his lifetime ambition of competing in the Dakar Rally when the 2019 edition of the world’s most iconic rally got underway on Monday.
With the first motorcycles having headed out at 4am local time (11am SA time), Gregory’s long wait is over and the challenge of what promises to be another tough Dakar is upon him.
This year’s event will take place entirely within the South American country of Peru, and Gregory has spent the last few days making his last-minute preparations and soaking up the pre-event vibe in the Peruvian capital city, Lima.
As if to prepare Gregory for the rigours of the Dakar Rally, he has had to deal with the temporary loss of his kit bag which contained his helmets and all of his protective gear.
Meanwhile, fellow SA Dakar competitor Kenny Gilbert has only just been reunited with one of his pieces of luggage (which included Gregory’s sticker kit).
However, Gregory has everything he needs, including a trunk of high-performance Motul products – some of which he has already added to his KTM 450 Rally Replica motorcycle.
Gregory is participating in The Originals by Motul Class – that is, without the support of a team. In other words, he must make all his own mechanical adjustments and running repairs at the end of each long day in the saddle.
His supply of Motul products could therefore make all the difference when it comes to achieving his goal of crossing the finish line in Lima on January 17th.
Gregory is no stranger to challenges – he most recently competed in the Silver Class in the Motul Roof of Africa in December – and he describes his class in the Dakar Rally 2019 as the hardest and most original way to tackle the Dakar.
Sunday saw the ceremonial podium start take place in front of thousands of Dakar mad Peruvian supporters and Monday’s Stage 1 (Lima – Pisco) will feature 250 km’s of liaison and 84 km’s of racing.
Gregory will face some 3 000km of demanding terrain over 10 stages, with more than 70% of the route being over Peru’s challenging sand dunes.
With this in mind, he has been picking the brains of everyone he’s met, including roommate Marcel Snijders, a 12-time Dakar competitor.
Gregory was delighted to meet his hero, Toby Price, at the pre-race briefing – just one of the big names competing in the Dakar Rally 2019.
This year’s edition of the Dakar will also feature previous winners Matthias Walkner and Sam Sunderland as well as strong challengers Adrien van Beveren and Joan Barreda Bort.
Several Dakar legends will be driving in the car class, including Carlos Sainz, Sebastien Loeb, Stéphane Peterhansel, and South African Giniel de Villiers.
“My journey so far has been a real rollercoaster of emotions,” commented Gregory from his hotel in Lima.
“Not many people get to compete in the Dakar, and now I just want to get on my bike and get going,” he added.
To find out more about Gregory’s journey, go to: https://powersport.motul.com/ or read the articles below.