Profi Moto class: 60 kms – 70% sand piste, 30% dunes.
“I just can’t wait for the next one!”
Despite the final stage being merely 60kms long in total, the last day of the Tuareg Rallye saw Team Dirtpunk/ZenOverland riders Paul and Gabriel snatch another place each in the overall standings. Riding together as a team the whole week, ultimately Paul finished just a few seconds ahead of Gabriel to claim 22nd and 23rd respectively in their first desert rally!
“We nailed it!” exclaims Paul “Or rather I nailed myself!” he reveals, describing how much they were enjoying the final stage before he fell badly and damaged his ribs. “We were going flat out on the first lap, thinking this is great – only two more hours to go! – when suddenly I hit some soft sand the bike stopped dead… I went flying into the handlebars, then hit my head on the floor – saw stars – I really feel I’ve broken something” he winces.
Adrenaline meant he jumped straight back on the bike and continued, but he admits they had no choice but to ride the second lap much slower as the pain set in. “I was so worried when it happened” says Gabe “I could see how much he was hurting, and kept asking him all through the second lap ‘are you sure you’re ok?’” Paul nods “I think I’m really going to have to get it checked out* [with the medics] back at the hotel” he groans.
Despite Paul’s injuries, the pair were elated by their collaborative success. “It’s a fantastic feeling” says Gabe with a huge smile “The best thing is we’ve finished the event, we’re still in one piece – and so are the bikes… That’s all we ever aimed for to be honest, and the fact we’ve managed to stay in the Profi class, and actually do reasonably well too is a huge bonus!”
“It’s funny to think at the beginning of the event, we were so worried about entering the Profi class” says Paul “We felt we’d most likely have to change to the Amateur class after the first day or two just to survive…” and Gabriel agrees: “I think we’d have been disappointed if we’d felt we hadn’t really pushed ourselves – we’d never have known what we were actually capable of… and we would also have missed out on so much of the really interesting [and technical] terrain that was really enjoyable.”
After the final parade convoy from the finish line back the bivouac hotel, they celebrated their success with their families who were waiting to great them, and after downing a well deserved beer, were already making plans for the future.
“Red Bull Romaniacs next then!” offers Paul with a cheeky grin, and Gabe shakes his head in despair. “We’re actually planning to ride the Rally Albania in the summer” Paul reveals “That should be very different [to this one], and the event is also incredibly good value for money” he continues “But I’d still really like a crack at the ‘Romaniacs one day” he adds with a wink.
*Paul has now been checked by the medics, and they have suggested it is either two cracked ribs, or kidney stones!
Stage result: day 7/7: joint 20th (2h44m)
Overall position: day 7/7: 22nd