Sands of time brought Dakar back to its beginnings
With the Dakar Rally finishing recently in Saudi Arabia and the final podium being at the Qiddiya site, it did in a sense return to its roots: For it was in desert sands that the rally was born, and it is to desert sands that it has now reverted.
The story started 43 years ago, in 1977, when the French adventurer Thierry Sabine became lost in the Tenere desert of North Africa while racing his Yamaha XT 500 enduro motorcycle in a rally from Abidjan to Nice. Alone in the middle of this vast desert for three days, he ran out of food and water: A situation that for most would produce panic, but for him was the setting for inspiration. To settle his mind, he rubbed his “gri-gri” — a leather amulet that had been gifted to him by a Tuareg friend. By the time he was rescued and was being flown to safety, Sabine’s mind had settled on a bold vision.
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