Time is up for motorbike and quad registrations for Dakar 2017

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15 May-15 July: two months are up! The registration period for bikes and quads has officially ended. Whilst the event will feature many of the greats, some ambitious new hopefuls will be lining up at the start too. We hear from Dakar’s Sports Director, Marc Coma, about his picks.

They are many and they come from near and far: amateur and professional riders alike who all submitted their applications with just one goal in mind: taking part in the next Dakar which will be held from 2 to 14 January. The Australian titleholder, Toby Price, will be back on his motorbike and along the way will encounter Argentina’s Kevin Benavides, winner of the Afriquia Merzouga Rally, who is also dreaming of being the first to arrive in Buenos Aires on 14 January. Some serious contenders will be hot on their heels: Portgual’s Helder Rodrigues, who took fifth place in 2016, and France’s Adrien Van Beveren and Antoine Méo, sixth and seventh respectively for their first time taking part this year.

A dream is only beautiful if there is someone to share it with. These performances are certain to inspire a wave of new contenders, including Anastasiya Nifontova. With a firm grip on the handlebars and hair swept back into her helmet, the young but experienced globe trotter is not just along for the ride: “My goal is not only to become the first Russian woman to take part but also to achieve a great result.” And with good reason too; the young contender is the world champion in the “FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship” female category! Ibrahim Alrubaian has set his sights no less high. In the saddle for only two years and already 22nd at the last Afriquia Merzouga Rally, he too is aiming to be the first… Kuwaiti to participate!

If the Dakar has a history, it is surely 27-year-old Arnold Brucy who best embodies it. His name rings a bell? That’s because his father, Jean Brucy, has notched up over 20 appearances and has achieved two fourth places (2000, 2003)! Especially as a water carrier for KTM. “It was obvious I was heading for Dakar”, says Arnold who has already proven his mettle. Two-times winner (2013, 2014) of the “Lite” category of the Afriquia Merzouga Rally, the French hopeful can boast of “twenty years of experience on two wheels” and would like to progress to the next stage”: “there’s something almost mythical about Dakar, for me it’s the ultimate goal.” Will 2017 be the year he achieves it? You’ll have to wait until November to find out. Scheduled departure: Asunción in Paraguay on 2 January.

Registrations for the Car and Truck categories will remain open until 1 November.