His final street to Dakar #four: “I’m glad to have been part of this Rally Dakar”
We adopted Jurgen van den Goorbergh in his run as much as his last Rally Dakar entry; his last try at profitable the Malle Moto class. Clearly we’re very curious as to how the Dutchman bought on in 2018’s rally. The previous MotoGPTM rider spills his guts on the hardship of probably the most grueling rally raid on this planet.
To begin with, congratulations! You’ve made it to the end line, coming 41st. You need to be proud, proper?
“It turned out to be an excellent finish to my Dakar profession. Nicely, the final strive on a bike anyway. Who is aware of, I would return someday, simply not on two wheels; no manner. I’m glad to have been part of this Rally Dakar, although. It was a troublesome one, however an excellent one as properly. It type of makes me proud, understanding I made it to the tip on a motorbike I’ve constructed. That makes it that bit extra particular, regardless that I didn’t fairly end too excessive up on the chief boards due to it. I needed to be cautious, as a result of above all I wished to complete. Breaking down was not likely an choice. That did imply I didn’t fairly come out in addition to I had initially meant. I blocked that out in a short time. I got here right here to struggle for the Malle Moto class title, however simply six days in I spotted that was a bridge too far. After that, I didn’t actually care anymore the place I’d end. It turned out to be 41st in the long run, which I’m content material with. For me personally, I felt I rode an excellent rally, not making too many errors; holding the bike in a single piece. And in the long run my KTM didn’t miss a beat. In hindsight I do know I may’ve been quicker, however I actually wished to get the bike to the end line in any respect prices. That I did, so!”
The bike made it out unscathed, however we are able to’t actually say that about you bodily, can we?
“Yeah, for me Dakar is much from over. The aftershocks are coming by in waves, as a result of I’m affected by a nasty neck damage nonetheless. On stage 11 I had a spill taking up a quick dune. On the backside it flattened out shortly and I had a knoll of camel grass. You come throughout hundreds of these within the desert and usually they’re fairly tender. This one wasn’t. As my rear wheel hit it, I went off. I’ve bought a pleasant mark from my entrance wheel throughout my helmet, so I suppose I needs to be fortunate it didn’t hit me sq. within the face. I wasn’t even going too quick when it occurred, however it was nonetheless fairly a tough hit. It instantly took me again to my entry final yr, when a comparatively small crash brought on me to withdraw from the race. I bought up instantly and felt my neck had taken the brunt of it. Plus I used to be fairly dizzy, too. And I had landed on my again as properly, one thing I came upon because the contents of my camel again was dripping down my pants. I had solely accomplished round fifty kilometers of the stage, so now I used to be going to have to complete the stage with out water. I managed to cut price a bottle of water off a few locals, however that meant I needed to cease each time I wanted to rehydrate. Each single likelihood I bought to get myself a drink, I took. Stopping on the roadside wasn’t my concern at this level; I used to be extra apprehensive about doable damaged bones. After I did my very own bodily check-up, it turned out all was properly on that entrance. Give it some thought, having to withdraw with just a few days left since you took a slight tumble and broke your collarbone. Anyway, I had hoped my neck would begin to get a bit much less sore as the times glided by. Sadly, that actually wasn’t the case. It solely bought worse in reality, so I stocked up on fairly a little bit of painkillers and bought on with it. On the second to final day I awakened and will barely raise my head up. That’s not good, I assumed. That rally shouldn’t have lasted for for much longer, as a result of I don’t assume I’d have been capable of hold going for for much longer.”
You’ve been house for every week now. How’s the ache within the neck going?
“Not too good, sadly, and I don’t even know what’s precisely occurring in there. I’ve had appointments at a chiropractor and had X-rays made as properly. No fractures, fortunately, however no clear picture of what’s precisely mistaken with my neck at this level. I’ve bought an MRI deliberate for tomorrow, so by then I hope to know extra. Appears like a pinched nerve, as a result of I’ve bought a tingling sensation in my forearm. All I do know now’s, issues should not as they need to be. It’s driving me loopy to be honest, actually as a result of it was the smallest of spills.”
Again to the rally. All contestants agreed this was a giant one. Would you say it was robust?
“Positively. I’ve confronted hardship earlier than, like once I first rode the Malle Moto class, however this was one technical rally. In Malle Moto you get it doubly dangerous, as a result of it’s all as much as you. That alone takes thirty to forty % of your power throughout the rally. I reckon this yr’s winner, Olivier Ache, would definitely concur. He was a works rider, so prime ten finishes are a regularity. This time round he needed to give it his all simply to make it inside spitting distance of the highest 25 that claims lots to me. I spoke to him a few occasions throughout the rally, and he informed me he actually loved experiencing the rally this manner. His eyes, nevertheless, informed a unique story; this to him was a one-off. You received’t be seeing him again in Malle Moto, no manner! It’s a unique recreation altogether Malle Moto, and utterly completely different from what he’s used to. High tier riders begin daily recent, solely affected by the rally phases themselves. As a Malle Moto rider you come out of a stage, solely to must piece your bike again collectively till round midnight. After which it’s a must to get again up at 4 within the morning. That takes a toll, particularly while you’re anticipated to offer it your all once more the subsequent day. Malle Moto actually simply wrecks you.”
Which phases or areas will stick with you probably the most; what made the most important impression?
“I took on the problem another time as a result of the organizers had taken Peru again into the rally. That nation has probably the most stunning dunes, because the organizers promised us. All of it got here collectively. It was daunting, however stunning. That exhibits the impact a person like Marc Coma (Director of Sport at organizer ASO) has on the rally. Final yr he confirmed it right here and there, however now he actually put issues again on the map. As a former entrant and winner, he is aware of the best way to make the rally as grueling accurately. Each single time you assume issues couldn’t get tougher, they take it one step past. Take the second to final stage as an example. You possibly can all however see the end line, solely to face off on the longest day of the lot. Marc Coma kicks you off the bed and on the bike at 5.30 am, onto a stage that received’t see you again within the bivouac till 9 within the afternoon, simply earlier than sundown. Simply experience from dawn till sundown. I can inform you, that made me lengthy for the end much more.”
In 2016 you took house the Malle Moto title and this yr you had excessive hopes to reclaim it, solely to complete fourth in the long run. That has to bum you out, doesn’t it?
“I used to be kind of anticipating to be at the very least on the rostrum, sure. Undecided if all of it simply got here all the way down to Olivier Ache being so quick, however in the long run that’s not what it’s all about within the Rally Dakar. By the third stage I had to assist out my pal Kees Koolen, as a result of his quad bike had damaged its chain. I couldn’t simply depart Kees by the facet of the street, in order that price me half an hour to about 45 minutes. Over a whole Rally Dakar, that’s one thing you can clear up on, however in the long run I didn’t handle to take action. I began to fall behind, and attempting to up floor solely noticed me make extra errors. Lacking a waypoint as an example or having to assist one more fellow rider. Within the 2016 rally I had locked in to an upward spiral that was undoubtedly not the case this time round. I had this kind of impartial like feeling about me.”
You rode a self-made bike, based mostly off a KTM 450 EXC-F. How did individuals reply to that?
“It hasn’t gone unnoticed, I can inform you that. Greater than as soon as others sought me out within the bivouac to return and see it. It’s a fairly completely different from the common rally duplicate bikes; mine’s constructed fairly a bit lighter. Technically I’ve had no issues, so I’m content material about that. The bike stood tall, regardless that I would’ve been capable of go quicker on it. I attempted to maintain my cool, however the bike wouldn’t have minded bit extra push and shove. I did miss a bit extra pace and stability right here and there, although my bike was higher when it got here to dealing with. Fact be informed, I may’ve accomplished a greater job on a KTM 450 RALLY REPLICA. My bike is ideal for amateurs who battle making it into the highest fifty. While you lack talent a bit, a lighter bike that handles properly actually helps. Particularly in robust editions like this one. I’m not but certain about how I’m going ahead with the venture. I suppose I would construct a number of extra however nothing’s set in stone but.”
You tackle a frightening experience by the depths of hell for 2 weeks, as Malle Moto riders much more so, that has to type an unbreakable bond of friendship amongst rider, doesn’t it?
“You make some superb recollections alongside the best way. Not simply actually on route, however while you get off the bike the journey doesn’t cease. One such particular second was once I spent the night time with the opposite two Dutch Malle Moto riders, Hans-Jos Liefhebber and Edwin Straver. Within the bivouac at Tupiza we had been informed stage 9 was canceled, and we had been required to experience on by to Salta in Argentina. Simply one other 500 kilometers to do after a fairly hefty experience on stage that day. We did get underway, however simply after crossing the border from Bolivia into Argentina we determined to seize a lodge someplace. Three guys in a single room; it was really – as we are saying in Dutch – gezellig. It was enjoyable. After a scorching bathe we went and located ourselves a pizza place. Sadly we didn’t have any clear garments on us, so there’s the three of us in some random pizzeria in stinking MX-gear; good stuff! I felt similar to some vacationer. These are the little further’s you get from the Dakar. Similar goes for assembly Juan Agustin Rojo, a younger Argentinian rider who was using the Malle Moto class for the primary time. It’s a really skinny child who needed to actually push himself to make it to the tip of the race, however in the long run he did simply that. I spoke to him each night time, attempting to maintain his spirits up and to advise him wherever he would possibly want it. It actually confirmed character how he bought on; you may say it was a heroic effort on his half. I actually felt like a father determine; like a father and a son taking up the Dakar collectively. These are moments that stick by you. They’re part of what makes the Rally Dakar particular. You’ll by no means ever neglect these recollections.”
Pictures: Shakedown Staff