For us average motorcycle riders, the idea of a "service" for our beloved steeds is just changing the oil and some carburetor adjustment. For those riding fuel injected motorcycles, it could just be an oil change. But things are quite different if you’ve got a race bike, especially a Dakar Rally race bike.
For those curious, Red Bull Rally, one of the official Youtube channels of the Red Bull KTM factory racing team, is giving us a glimpse of what it's was like at a service stop at the Dakar rally.
Stefan Huber is in charge of keeping team rider, Toby Price’s bike in shape. Each rally bike has its own dedicated mechanic. Assigned to Price's is veteran rally mechanic, David, who hails from Spain.
Since rally stages are usually held in extreme conditions and far-flung areas, Huber’s team makes sure that all the necessary parts of the rally bikes are in the inventory. They're stocked with everything from consumables like oil, brake pads, and tires, to even larger bulkier parts like fairings and even crankcases. They have it all.
In the video, the mechanic demonstrates how the rally bike’s fairings can be easily serviced or even replaced, usually not requiring any tool at all. According to KTM, it was designed this way so that it will be much simpler for the rider to fix his bike if the need arises while in the middle of the race. It also helps the mechanic repair the bike more quickly as these service stops have a strict time limit with harsh penalties if the team goes over the allotted time.
Naturally, you don't find these features on the standard bike these racing machines are based on. Many of these components are lighter, more durable, and possibly easier to remove versions of parts that are on the street legal model.
With so much changed from the standard showroom bike, you really begin to wonder, how much more expensive is this?
How much does joining Dakar cost?
Motorsports are usually expensive but Dakar is especially pricey. Competing in this extreme event is not for grassroots or amateur racers.
About two years ago, when renowned KTM rider and veteran hard enduro champion, Chris Birch was in the country, he shared with us that US$100,000 (PhP4.8M) is just a modest budget for the Dakar Rally.
Even with that amount, “You will be sleeping in tents, unlike the other high-budget teams where they sleep in comfortable campers.”
For larger teams that use support vehicles and a logistics crew, even a US$1-million (PhP48.1M) budget could be just “enough” to compete in these races.