World Cup. Indy 500. Dakar Rally. Even if you don’t follow the sporting series that surround all three of these major sporting events, you’ve probably at least heard of them. There’s one thing the Dakar Rally has that the other two don’t, though—and it’s the fact that amateurs can, as long as they qualify, compete alongside the professional, factory-supported racers.
While most competitors we hear about (and write about) every year come from well-funded factory team efforts, the privateers are the unsung heroes of the sport. To many, including factory racers, they represent the true spirit of the event.
Clearly, no one would ever claim that contesting the Dakar is easy for anyone. However, racers with factory support get things like climate-controlled trailers to rest in, access to on-site chefs to handle their meals for them, dedicated team mechanics, and even masseuses to help ease the aches and pains away after a long day. Privateers? They do it all themselves, pay for it all themselves, and often feel lucky to crash for a couple of hours in a tent during their downtime.
Take the All1 team, which the Red Bull video team introduces us to in this video. The Spanish privateer outfit, we learn, came as the dream of a man named Alex Libre. As his twin brother Carlos tells the camera, Alex sadly died in an accident a few years ago.
Sometime after his death, Carlos found Alex’s bucket list of 100 things he wanted to do before he died—and sadly, since he was in his 20s when it happened, there were a lot of things that he wasn’t able to check off. Near the top of the list was the Dakar Rally. So, Carlos and a bunch of friends put hundreds of thousands of dollars of their own money into making Alex’s dream come true.
As of December, 2022, Dakar rally competitors must fulfill just a few requirements. They must be over 18, must hold an international FIA/FIM Cross-Country Rally license, and must also have previously competed in at least one FIA/FIM world championship event, or else another FIA or FIM event on their national calendar. The All1 Team chose the Rallye du Maroc, which they completed as their prerequisite to enter the 2023 Dakar Rally. Carlos broke his collarbone and his finger, but he’s still looking forward to making his brother proud. (I’m not crying, you’re crying.)
The 2023 Dakar Rally kicks off with the Prologue on December 31, 2022, and starts proper on January 1, 2023 to ring in the new year with a roar. We wish all the riders good luck—especially the privateers, who probably need it the most.