The very definition of epic.
Before becoming known as the “Dakar” and moving to South America, the world’s best-known and most grueling rally was actually an insanely difficult desert raid from Paris, France, to Dakar, Senegal. The event was organized for the very first time in 1977 and out of the 182 vehicles that started off on the 6,200 miles journey through Africa, only 74 crossed the finish line in Senegal. While the event is still being organized on a yearly basis to this day, there is a mystique surrounding the original races that left riders and drivers to their own device in the middle of the Sahara desert. Harry Metcalfe from YouTube channel Harry’s Garage has decided to travel down one of the original legs of the rally in the desert and he does so in style, on a fleet of classic adventure bikes. Lucky for us, he takes us along for the ride.
While most of his videos revolve around cars, both classic and new, every so often, founder of Evo Magazine Harry Metcalfe gets his hands on a bike. In this case, Harry takes us to Morocco in order to check an item off his bucket list: travel in the tracks of thousands of desert raiders who navigated the sand dunes in the original Paris-Dakar rally. In order to make that happen, he teamed up with Desert Rose Racing, founded by former Paris-Dakar competitor Patsy Quick who organized the trip for the group. A few of Harry’s friends and even his son straddle along for the ride, each riding on some of the coolest adventure bikes ever built.
For their trip down rally history lane, the group is equipped with a pair of current generation Honda CRF1000L Africa Twins, as well as with an original Africa Twin RD03, a Yamaha Super Ténéré 750, and Harry himself rides on a Cagiva 900ie. The garage he introduces his adventure from at the beginning of the video is true ADV heaven with a fleet of late 80s models that kickstarted the ADV segment's popularity.
The group is guided by experienced Paris-Dakar driver Clive Town who served as Patsy Quick’s codriver when she became the first British woman to ever complete the rally. Lead by Town, Harry and his crew take off from their starting point in the town of Erfoud, Morrocco and make their way into the Sahara to tackle their 280-mile treck in the sand. The result is a 40-minute long ride through the Sahara strapped to Harry’s helmet during which we get to experience the ride of a lifetime in the dunes as he makes his way down the former Paris-Dakar route as he candidly comments along the way. The vistas are breathtaking and it almost feels like you're at the heart of the action. It's worth a watch!