For those of
you that don't know what happened to Kevin at Dakar 2005, everything was going
really well then on day 6, as he was about to start the first day of serious
sand dunes, he noticed that his clutch was broken from a fall the previous day
and possibly a crash he had that morning. Unfortunately the part that
was broken was not repairable with the parts that most riders carry. So he made
the decision to try to nurse the bike through to the finish, riding 400 km of
sand dunes with no clutch. Unfortunately due to the stress caused on 1st gear,
the transmission failed about 50 km from the end of the day and he was left
stranded in the middle of no where. It took him almost 4 days to get out of
Mauritnaia and back to Dakar. From there he caught a plane back to South Africa
and then back to USA.
Photos from Dakar 2005
2005 Posted Updates
Time flies.... I’m sorry again for not posting an update in a few
days. Kevin is back in the USA. He flew in on Tues Jan 18. It has been nice
having him back. He has told us lots of crazy stories and doesn’t stop
talking about what an amazing experience this was for him. He definitely wants
to go back if he can find sponsorship. I think we would all agree that it has
been fun watching him make this journey and we would all like to see him try
again and finish!
We welcomed him back to work with bundles of balloons and streamers! And signs
that said “Our Dakar Star.” As one of his friends put it, “You
can take Kevin out of the Dakar but you won't take Dakar out of Kevin!”
I apologize for not posting updates in a few days. There
really isn’t much to say. Kevin is still in South Africa. He plans to
fly home on Tuesday (Jan 18). We will put him back to work here on Wed. He still
talks about going back to the Dakar rally next year, but will definitely need
sponsorship. He now gets to return home with lots of debt but with the great
memories of the experience. He was very saddened by the two deaths in the rally.
If you haven’t heard, Jose Perez and Fabrizio Meoni (both bikers), died
after sustaining serious crashes. It goes to show you how dangerous this rally
can be and makes me even more grateful that Kevin is safe. His family in South
Africa have been really enjoying the stories he has been telling. They have
e-mailed me and confirmed with pictures that he is still in one piece!
|Kevin has arrived in South Africa - finally! I just talked to him via instant
message and he arrived there about an hour ago. He couldn’t get a flight
out of Dakar until this morning. He plans to stay in South Africa for about
a week and then fly back home. I told him that several people had been calling
and e-mailing me with concern on his arrival back. I’m sure he will be
returning all your e-mails now, so if you want to send him an e-mail, he would
be happy to hear from you! I also thought this would be a good time to share
the links to articles and sites that we have found Kevin on - check them out!
Dakar Photos (his race number is 118):
Article on Kevin:
|I did talk to Kevin a few hours ago. He is now in Nouakchott, Mauritania.
It is Friday night there now and he is staying in a hotel tonight and will leave
tomorrow at midnight to head for the airport. He will depart at 3 am and will
land in Dakar at 4 am. He then plans to catch a flight from Dakar to Johannesburg
(South Africa). He plans to stay in South Africa for about a week and then return
He definitely has some crazy stories to tell us all. He told me bits and
pieces. He said that the organization game him and 3 other riders a car to get
themselves to a place where they could fly out, but their car broke down about
40 km into their drive. They had to hire some “locals” or a taxi
to drive them to their destination (don’t know where that is) and this
turned into a nightmare. They were in the middle of the desert on unpaved roads
and at one point woke up (they were falling asleep in the car because they were
so tired) to their car being stuck in the sand up to the axle. They all got
out of the car to help push it out and then the driver took off and left them
in the middle of the desert with nothing and nobody around. They were all scared
to death and a few of the guys were even crying Kevin says. They finally got
the drivers attention and chased him down and managed to get back in the car.
They all made an agreement to always leave at least one person in the car at
all times. He says that they have been nearly robbed several times and cannot
believe how horrible some of these countries are. I’m sure you will hear
all about this later…. He says that he could tell stories for years.
I will update again on Monday (which I’m sure by then he will be in South
Africa and many of you will have probably heard from him via e-mail).
|Right after I posted the last message, I got an e-mail from Kevin. This
is what the e-mail said:
I am sorry I let you all down, I always knew an old bike may not handle this
abuse. This has been the most incredible experience of my life but trying to
put it in words on an Arabic keyboard would take forever. I have just arrived
in Nouechott after really escaping death twice with other riders, you cannot
believe places like this exist, we will have plenty of stories to share. It
may take a few more days to get out of here but I will send another e-mail as
soon as I get to mom’s. I will do everything in my power to try and do
this and finish next year. I have learned so much about Dakar.
Happy New Year to All
|Well, it’s Friday here now and I still haven’t heard from him
again, since Wednesday. I’m sure that he is fine - it’s just giong
to be a project to get his bike and gear into the right hands of someone that
can take over and arrange the shipping etc. He promised to call again once he
was at a place where he could call from a proper phone. If I don’t hear
from him by the end of the day today, I will post another update on Monday.
Have a good weekend!
|HE IS OKAY!! Not too long after I posted the last comment, he called me.
I had the same experience of not able to hear him but I knew that he was calling
from the caller ID. I decided to try calling him (even though that didn’t
work in the past ) and he answered!! I was so relieved to hear his voice because
I didn’t know what was going on. So, I tried to take good notes as we
were talking and this is what he said:
Firstly, he was surprisingly very positive and didn’t sound too upset
(although he did say that he had already been through all emotions of sadness
and disappointment). The first thing he said to me was “my bike blew up.” Then
he re-phrased that and said that his gear box jammed. He said that he had a
really bad crash about 10 km into it. The crash was so bad that he ripped his
pants, possibly broke his wrist and damaged his finger. His wrist and finger
were the least of his worries, because he broke his clutch. He attempted to
fix it himself but couldn’t because the lever completely broke off. So
he was forced to continue with NO CLUTCH. He said he was able to ride for about
another 400 km but everytime he stopped or fell, he would have to start the
bike and then jam it into gear (which he knew wasn’t good for the bike).
Eventually, the gear box jammed and he couldn’t do anything about it.
His bike has been picked up by the “rescue truck” and he was
dropped off at a location which he says is about 20 miles from the bivouac.
He isn’t sure what is going to happen to him at this point. Right now
he is sitting in front of a jeep tire and can only see about 10 feet in front
of himself because the sand is blowing so bad. He thinks he may have to sleep
there. He assumes that he will eventually be picked up and taken to the bivouac
and flown out of there. He is hoping to get back to South Africa as soon as
possible, rest a few days and fly home (to USA) early.
He couldn’t say enough about the race. He says it is absolutely amazing
(beyond words). He said that it just doesn’t stop - he’s up until
about 11:30 or 12:00 at night and then awake again at 3 am. He says he had so
much fun and a lot of hard riding (which he says he likes). He keeps reminding
himself that there is absolutely nothing he could have done about this - he
says he was cautious and not riding stupid. He knows that if this didn’t
happen to him that he could have finished FOR SURE. He’s already making
comments that he wants to go back next year but realizes the expenses he has
incurred to be there. If he can make it work financially - I’m sure he
will be there again! Thanks to all of you that have called and e-mailed. He
says he will try calling again tomorrow or as soon as he is somewhere with a
real phone. I will update as I hear.
|I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to put a posting like this one up
so soon, but I thought you should all know that Kevin has been listed on the
withdrawal list. I have been keeping a close watch on the Dakar site all day
and it has been confirmed that he has withdrawn in stage 6. I really don’t
know much because I haven’t heard from him, but I do know (according to
the website) that he made it to the first two checkpoints and didn’t make
it to the third. I’m hoping that he just had navigation or mechanical
problems and not that he is injured. I will post again as soon as I hear. I’m
so sad for him.....
|Kevin attempted to call me yesterday from his satellite phone, but I missed
his first call (I was on the phone and he left a voice mail) and his other attempts
I just heard static. I assume that he will try again today. Maybe he just had
bad reception where he was. He did say in the message that he is still in the
race (which we all have seen) and he says things are good. He hasn’t been
getting much sleep - he says about 3 hours a night for the last 4 nights. I’m
sure this is because he is up late working on his bike. As you can see above,
he finished in a great position in stage 5. He’s doing great considering
he just wanted to be in last place. I will update again as soon as I hear from
|Happy New Year to you all! As many of you probably have already seen, Kevin
has started the race. Today is his 4th day into it and he appears to be going
strong (from what the Dakar website says). I haven’t heard from him since
the start of the race, but I hope to in the next day or so. I have posted his
standings above, which I have taken off the Dakar website. I will continue to
update as I hear!
|Sorry for the delay in posting an update, but our offices have been closed
for the holidays and, as you all can probably imagine, I’m trying to stay
away and enjoy the break! I am unable to update the site from home, so I thought
I would stop by today and give you all an update on Kevin.
He has been e-mailing me and he has assured me that he is feeling much better
and has confidence that he will still be able to finish the race even with his
injured leg (which is feeling better everyday). He flew to Barcelona on Dec
26 and is staying in a hotel. He told me that he is really having a difficult
time storing and working on his bike at the hotel because they don’t even
have a parking area and there’s a lot of crime. He finally did get in
contact with the shipping company and they are allowing him to store and work
on his bike at their warehouse about a mile from the hotel. The people at that
warehouse are treating him really well, and although he doesn’t speak
a word of Spanish and their English is really bad, they seem to have great conversations
with their hands. They keep sending their friends down to look at the bike and
they gave him a bottle of Spanish Champagne for the victory of Dakar. He says
that his hotel room is about the size of a motel bathroom, which is great practice
for him living in his tent! I haven’t heard anything else in the last
few days (he may be unable to e-mail anymore) but I do expect him to start calling
from his satellite phone any day. I will be posting updates regularly starting
on Monday. Happy New Year!
|So, Kevin did arrive in South Africa on the 10th of December and was really
exited to start training and countdown the 20 days till the start of the rally.
Then it all comes to a screeching halt when after a training run, he twists
his hip while jumping over a mud hole, and then later tears his hamstring from
lifting a heavy weight. He was on his back, unable to walk and had to wait for
Monday to see a specialist. His friend Paul, who is a rugby coach, took him
to a sports doctor who handles the Springbok rugby team and confirms Kevin’s
worst fear - his hamstring is torn and it could be a 3 to 8 week recovery. He
immediately started Physio with the team physiologist, whom assures Kevin that
they have fixed worse injuries in less time. After spending five days lying
in bed icing it and 2 sessions of physio a day, he is now able to put weight
on his leg but cannot bend to pick anything up. He realizes he has only 2 weeks
to the start, but assures me that the first 4 days of the rally if he is careful,
won’t require him to pick up the bike. He really thinks he can be healthy
enough to ride but does not know what to expect when it starts getting tough
as he knows it will. The worst part of this all is that he is unable to do any
training as planned.
|Kevin left for South Africa last night. He realized at the last minute that
he was flying out on Tuesday, not WEDNESDAY night. I guess the stress is getting
to his mind a little.... He did make everything happen (as always) but needless
to say there were a few temper tantrums along the way. Jeff took his bike to
Los Angeles this morning so that it could be shipped to Europe. That’s
all I have for now - I will update again once I hear from him.
|Only 6 days left before Kevin leaves for his trip to South Africa! Yesterday,
Bill Center from The San Diego Union Tribune came by and interviewed Kevin and
then wrote a full page article on him and his plans to compete in the Dakar
Click here to see a copy of the article.