Comments from Kevin's Friends & Followers
after the 2006 Rally
I thought it would be fun to share some of the comments/emails
I have been receiving for Kevin:
Jackie Embro - Jan 9:
"He is still such a inspiration to so many people. Some people can only
dream of going to Dakar, and he made it happen. He is truly an incredible athlete...
just an unfortunate circumstance for him."
Rita Hochfellner - Jan 9:
"I must say we are all EXTREMELY proud of him, and am sure he will be back
again next year."
Alicia Embro - Jan 7:
"We are so sorry for his injury and therefore his withdrawal from the rally.
He was going so good. He and James were riding well together."
Iain Platt - Jan 7:
"I'm sorry to see Kevins out. Bummer."
Brian Campbell - Jan 6:
"He and the other privateers are my HEROES and I am damn proud of him."
Rick Stuart - Jan 6:
"Kevin being the racer that he is I'm sure he is figuring out how to get
back for 2007!"
Keith & Louise Lively
- Jan 6:
"I am so sad for Kevin and hate that he is injured on top of it. Please
tell him how sorry we are."
Jerry & Joyce Moore -
"We are now admiring Kevin for once again taking on the Dakar challenge.
I am glad he was able to enjoy nature's beauty on this year's trip through the
Bob Bergman - Jan 5:
"I've been glued to the computer following Kevin. I'm proud of him and
he's doing fantastic!"
Wayne Taylor - Jan 4:
"Tell him I am thinking of him and to ride his AARSE OFF!!"
Wayne Mitchell - Jan 3:
" Rachel: Thanks for looking after the boy. Thanks and keep your
Kevin arrived back yesterday. We welcomed him back to work
with streamers, balloons and "Welcome Home" signs. Thought you all might want
to see a picture of him to know that he is whole.
I haven't talked to Kevin for a few days, but I received
an email from him early this morning. He said that he was about to leave for
the airport. His plane left South Africa at 7:30 pm (SA time). He said he would
try to email again from the airport, but at the very least would call me when
he arrived in Atlanta. I will be picking him up at the San Diego airport tomorrow
I wanted to Congratulate James Embro on his finish!! Way to go!! In the end,
93 bikes, 67 cars, and 33 trucks made it to the finish line. What an accomplishment!
I continue to communicate with Kevin in South Africa either
by email or skype (internet phone). He is doing fine. He is enjoying his final
days in South Africa with friends and family. He will be returning to the USA
on Wed. He thought all this time that he would be flying in on Tues until I
received a copy of his itinerary and pointed out to him that he doesn't arrive
in San Diego until Wed. (We have to continue to hold his hand on things like
I spoke with Kevin this morning. He seems to be doing well.
He refers to himself as the one arm bandit. He is going to be flying home on
Tuesday. I know that many of you have been sending him emails and he is doing
his best to respond to them all. I'm sure the first few days that he is here
will be hectic, but I'm sure he will be glad to share his experience with us
There are some really good photos of Kevin at this website: http://www.maindruphoto.com -
his race number is 180.
His riding partner James Embro is still in the race. He seems to be doing
well. His website has dialog of some conversations he has had with his wife
and sister. He has definitely felt the hardships of the Dakar rally, but continues
to be strong.
Ronn Bailey is withdrawn from the race. Apparently, they had a mechanical
problem with the car and were towed in. They missed two checkpoints in stage
9, which disqualified them from the race. Ronn is definitely disappointed, but
will appear at Dakar in 2007.
I still hadn't spoke with Kevin, so I decided to call
his mom's house in South Africa this morning, and he answered!! So he has made
it to South Africa safely. He seems to be doing okay. He said that it was a
really long flight and he didn't have pain killers, so he was miserable. He
has been to the doctor in South Africa and they seem to think that they did
a good job on his operation. He says that he has a 12 inch pin and screws in
his arm and a cast up to his bicep. He plans to stay in South Africa to rest
up a bit before returning to the USA. He will probably fly home in about a week.
There were a few articles in the local San Diego newspaper. Here's links
to the articles:
January 5 Article
December 29 Article
I haven't heard from Kevin since my last posting. I assume
that he will try to call me later today now that we are back at work. I will
let you know if I hear anything from him.
On a separate note, I just read on the Dakar website that KTM bike rider
by the name of
Andy Caldecott died in a serious crash today. I think that puts it more into
perspective how dangerous this race can be and should make us all even more
thankful that Kevin will be okay. I would like to send my
sincere condolences to his family, friends, and followers.
Kevin called me this morning but I missed his call. This was his message:
"Hey Rach, it's me. I didn't realize it was Sat, I have been all drugged up for the last day so I called the work but I don't even know what time it is there and I'm too tired to work it out, so I will try to call you again in like 2 hours.
I'm in a hospital on the Canary Islands and I'll be here until Mon and then they are getting me back to South Africa. So I will probably get back to the states a few days early. So I will try to call you again and we can catch up. Don't try to call this number back."
About 2 hours later, he did call back. And this was bits of our conversation:
"I hit a piece of camel grass and my front wheel spun out and threw
me off the bike. It really wasn't that bad of a crash. It happens all the time,
but as I landed, the bike was in the air and fell right on top of me. I put
my arms up to stop the pegs from stabbing me, but the bike was full of fuel
and so heavy, it just crushed my arm in two places and broke a rib.
Two helicopters came and they had to reset my arm in the desert, then they flew me to bivouac where I was then transported to the airport and flown to the Canary Islands. I'm at a place called Los Palmas. The hospital is full of dakar people and I've heard that they started overflowing to another hospital now.
My arm is broken in two places - my ulmer and radius (close to wrist and right at the elbow). Where it broke near the elbow, the bone was right through my skin, so they are worried about infection. That is why I have to stay here until Monday. I'm on some heavy drugs and antibiotics."
Overall, he sounds good. He says that it is what it is and things like this happen. That is why it is the hardest rally. He was pretty drugged up so he sounded a little groggy. He says that he will try to call again tomorrow to let me know when he will be out of there for sure. He was just getting ready to eat some Pizza and get some more pain medication in him. I will always update as I hear more.
I wish I didn't have to post this, but Kevin is out of
the race. I received a message today on the office voicemail at 4:03 am from
him. These are his exact words:
"Hey Rachel, it's me. I don't have any good news. I had a crash and have
broken my arm. I am in Atar now and I am getting sent to the Canary Islands
for an operation. Um, I will try you later. Talk to you later, bye."
I spoke to his mother in South Africa and she also received a call from
him. Apparently, when he crashed, his bike fell
on his arm. When he called her, he was in an ambulance on their way to an airport
to fly him out. He was upset and afraid that he let us all down. But I think
we would all agree that we are just grateful that he will be okay in the end
and his arm will heal with time I'm sure.
I will keep you all updated as I hear more.
HE JUST CALLED!! I was trying to type everything that he
said as he spoke, so that I could update you all. This is what I got:
"Hi Rachel, it's me. I knew that I would catch you at work one of these days.
How are you?.... This is the first day that I have showered. I have just been
so busy working on my bike everynight. I have James' satellite phone and he
is going to let me use it for the rest of the rally. I'm not hurt, not falling,
I feel strong, feeling really good. It is dusty as hell and difficult to see
at times. I'm really tired because we got up at 1 am last night to get through
the liason. My bike broke in day 3. I had an electrical problem. Come to find
out it was something with my ground strap but I took the whole bike apart on
the side of the track. I thought that I might be out but I got it fixed. So
many have been crashing and falling out. It's been hard, but doable. It's so
funny because James and I came in within 10 seconds the other day but we never
saw each other the whole day. We were laughing about it. I've really been being
careful. I back off at 130 mph, but if you slow down, someone will pass you
and then you will eat dust. I'm just trying to keep the motor strong. Today
we hit the first sand dunes. It was so fun to be out of the stuff that we have
been riding in. It has been so rough like Baja. Just rocks and rocks pounding
you. It's so beautiful out here. Last year it was so dusty from the wind, but
this year it's dusty, but you can see everything. It's amazing!! The
whole day is sand dunes tomorrow.
The hardest part for me is coming into the bivouac and everyone's tents are
up, their mechanics are there, and they can just relax and eat. But I have to
work on my bike. Everyone eats dinner for about 45 minutes, but me, I eat for
5 minutes and then go work on my bike. There have been so many little things
wrong with the bike. Most riders get new tires everyday. I rode with
the same tires the first 4 days, but I have a new tire for tomorrow. I really
think I can finish if my bike will make it. If I can get to the rest day, I
will be good, but the day before and the after the rest day are the hardest
days of the rally.
I'm really tired. My ground sheet has a hole in it so I'm right on the ground,
inside my tent. It is freezing cold and there are flies everywhere. Today I
actually fell asleep on the bike and usually when we get to the start of the
specials, we all lay on the ground and fall asleep. Today someone was kicking
me telling me to get on the bike. My butt is hurting like crazy, but my seat
is amazing compared to last year. I'm a little worried about my hands, I have
a few blisters.
Ok. I will try to call you every couple days. I just never know what time
I will get in, so the time will vary. I'm just so tired when I get in and have
to deal with endless shit."
||Still no phone calls from Kevin, but according to the dakar
website, he appears to have done well today. It shows that he finished 49th
today. He has officialy surpassed his accomplishments there last year. He has
gone a total of 3,859 km which is 2,398 miles - crazy! Keep praying for him!!!
After tomorrow he will be half way to the finish!!
||Still haven't talked to Kevin, but I continue to check his
progress online. Looks like he finished in a good position today. The dakar
website says that he finished 45 of 193. Looks like him and James rode
together today because they came in 10 seconds apart. Hopefully he will be
able to call soon and I can update again. In the meantime, just keep crossing
your fingers for a SAFE FINISH!!!
||I still haven't heard from Kevin since he has crossed over
to Africa. I have been watching his progress online and there appears to be
something wrong with his tracking device as the tracking feature says "no information"
but if you check his standings, he continues to be listed as finishing. He is
not listed on the withdrawl list, so I will continue to assume that he is just
having technical problems with his tracking device. I will update as I hear
I haven't heard from him today but I checked his status online. For some reason the tracking feature shows that he hasn't finished yet but I think something is wrong with it because the standings say that he finished 197 out of 223. I will let you know if I hear anything else today.
I also received an email today from a guy in Lisbon that took some photos of Kevin. Kevin asked him to contact me and get me the links, so he did:
http://ateaofimdomundo.smugmug.com/gallery/1077317/1/50052987 http://ateaofimdomundo.smugmug.com/gallery/1077317/1/50052950 http://ateaofimdomundo.smugmug.com/gallery/1077319/3/50641857
||Kevin called me again this morning and I talked to him. He sounded in very high spirits. Said that him and James are doing well. They have been spending a lot of time working on their bikes to make sure they are perfect. He says that they missed their start this morning so they were penalized but they don't care. They just want to make sure everything is right. He said that he has been very careful and has been riding like a girl so that he will not crash. I told him to finish, finish, finish!! They were on the boat when we talked and he said that he wouldn't have a phone after today, but that he would try to borrow one to call again. I will be sure to post anything that I hear. Otherwise, the dakar website is really good and they have live tracking on there this year.
Kevin called and left a message on my cell phone this morning. This is what he said:
"Hi Rach, it's me. We finished today, it was a great day, beautiful riding, everybody is in, no big problems. James had a few crashes but no big deal, you can go online to see the results but everything is good. It rained a little bit but fun ride, very much like the Baja, very fast and muddy as hell and slippery as hell. We just finished getting the bikes in and packing our boxes and now we are going to get something to eat and go to sleep. So I don't know what time it is there but I will try to call you again tomorrow. I won't have a phone after tomorrow but will try to bum one."
I received an email from Kevin today. This is what it said:
"Most of us are through tech inspection. It
went OK for me and James. I have a couple of issues, my battery went dead so
I have to replace my battery before the start. We cannot work or see the
bikes till then. I have a small issue I need to start the race then stop and
fix something so I will miss the start of the special by some time and take
a penalty, I am not worried as it is more important to fix the problem. The weather has been great but we expect rain. The race starts tomorrow
morning at 6.30 we head to Potimoa and then stay there the night. New years
day we cross to Africa. We are all feeling good I am over the flu I had (I
I have posted on ADVrider.com that is the website all the US Dakar nuts go
on, check under the heading racing."
This is an email that Kevin sent out while he was still
in South Africa just before he left for the rally. Just in case some of you
didn't receive it:
As some of you know I am in South Africa preparing for the Dakar Rally.
Many of you have asked, and Rachel has updated last years Website with information
regarding the race. I hope to call in some days and give her updates for the
site. The site has plenty of information with links to
some of the other American Riders sites and the link to the Dakar site with
daily updates. Marry Xmas and Happy New Year to all. - Kevin"
You can follow the rally live and track Kevin's progress at www.dakar.com
Click on the "tracking" link on the navigation bar.