“Avoiding penalties – that’s our goal”
With his bike arriving from the UK early in the morning on the eve of the rally, Dirtpunk chief bottle washer Paul Castle immediately set to work undertaking the last minute preparations required prior to event scrutineering.
“The atmosphere is like a carnival” he smiles as he describes the apparent chaos around the bivouac that precedes a typical desert rally. “This is the first time Dirtpunk has entered an event like this, so it’s a mixture of excitement and nervousness – not really knowing what you need to do, or where you need to be at a particular time – but somehow it all comes together after all” he grins.
For example, there was a mild moment of panic during the scrutineering inspection when his rear lights refused to work: “I was under pressure from the officials to fix it right there and then – fortunately it was simply a connector that had come undone while I’d been applying the [Team Dirtpunk/ZenOverland] graphics to the bodywork earlier – and it’s all good practice” he smiles.
Paul was impressed with the shear diversity of the competition “There are some amazing vehicles here – and the majority of the competitors do appear pretty serious [about it all]” he concludes. “Of course I don’t really consider ourselves actual ‘competition’ in that regard – We’re really just here to see what it’s all about – I just want to ride my own race, and concentrate on my navigation – make sure I get every waypoint [and thus avoid an penalties] – that’s my goal.”
Despite his modest intentions, there was also a glint in his eye “Of course I also love speed, and I love riding in dunes” he says “But at the same time, I’ve only really just recovered from a broken wrist (sustained in training before Christmas), so I really don’t want to repeat that!”
Paul will be riding the Tuareg Rallye 2014 with his Dirtpunk/ZenOverland teammate Gabriel Bolton, in the Moto Profi group with consecutive race numbers #317 & #318.