- They are the unseen faces of Dakar and they are essential for riders to be at the starting line every day. Today we introduce you to HIMOINSA Racing Team’s Assistance team, the authentic Dakar warriors.
Their work isn’t seen on television, neither do they become famous for their achievements in Dakar, but… Who is responsible for keeping the bikes working day by day for 2 weeks of extreme racing? The Assistance team works all day long to make sure everything is ready.
The behind the scenes work of the assistance is one of the fundamental pillars of Dakar. The Himoinsa Team relies on a luxurious assistance team; top shelf mechanics with the best preparation to assist riders on their arrival at the camp, under any circumstances. Here they are:
Oscar Vidal: Reus (Tarragona), 46 years old , 7 Dakars. Mechanic and owner of Flipa Moto.
David Palmada “Pelut”: Manresa (Barcelona), 42 years old , 15 Dakars. Mechanic and representative of Tech Rock.
Ramon Pujol “Jep”: Prats de Lluçanès (Barcelona), 48 years old, 2 Dakars. Mechanic and fireman.
Paco Ivars: Calpe (Alicante), 38 years old, 12 Dakars. Mechanic and owner of Ivars Moto.
Manolo Diaz: Santiago de la Ribera (Murcia), 56 years old, 10 Dakars. Driver and Warrant Officer of the Air Force.
But… what is the daily routine of assistance in the Dakar?
Their job in the Dakar never stops. Operating 24 hours a day, enduring two weeks of the race like titans. This is the daily routine in the HIMOINSA Racing Team:
4:00 a.m.: The alarm clock goes off. Pellut, Oscar, Paco, Manolo and Jep leave their tents. Some choose the roof of assistance truck as an improvised bedroom, looking for some privacy and avoiding the noise of generators and motors.
4:30 a.m.: The bikes are started up to check that everything is OK and give the finishing touches. They begin to dismantle the assistance tents, electricity, tables, tools…
5:00 a.m.: Depending on the stage, this is the approximate departure time of the first rider. The 5 HIMOINSA riders have departure times fixed the previous day. As they leave, the rest of the assistance is disassembled.
6:00 a.m.: With everything picked up, the team leaves the Bivouac to complete the link to the next camp. The path varies depending on the stage, but ranges between 6 and 21 hours of driving in this edition. The trucks are limited to 90 km/h, and cars and motorhomes to 110km/h. During refueling they have breakfast, and the vehicles topped off with water and gas. Normally drivers take shifts to make the road easier. While on the road, the stage is followed online, watching over the riders passing through the multiple checkpoints in the daily stage.
2:00 p.m.: The HIMOINSA Team’s Bürstner truck and RVs reach the new Bivouac. A steward tells them where to set up camp. Teams look to be close to “The Central”, where the briefing takes place, and the Michelin tent to change tires. (10 each day).
3:30 p.m.: The assistance assembly is completed: open truck, 6 tents, 6 tarps, tools ready and spare parts off the truck… Good to go! If there is any spare time before the arrival of the pilots, mechanics take their lunch break in the Bivouac dining hall.
4:00 p.m.: The first bikearrives, off to work! First: washing the bike. Then the work starts: oil, air filter, tires, pads, chain… everything is thoroughly checked for the rider to leave the next day with the highest expectatives. Some parts are sealed so that replacement is not possible without penalty, such as the engine.
Gradually all the other components of HIMOINSA Team arrive and the assistance team gets to work.
If a bike is damaged repair times lengthen. All sorts of parts are available in the team truck, and if any other parts are needed, KTM supplies parts in each Bivouac.
9:00 p.m.: If all went well, the first bike is ready, and the mechanic checks around to make sure everything is in place.
9:30 p.m.: Dinner time. The only relaxing time of the day.
10:00 p.m.: Disassembly of anything that is not essential for the morning is begun, and placed in the truck.
11:00 p.m.: Barring any delays or inconveniences, it is time to go to sleep. One more stage… and one less stage to go.