Montreal-area racer to compete in rough Dakar Rally in South America
Published Friday, December 28, 2012 10:22PM EST
MONTREAL—On Sunday, Patrick Beaule will take off for Peru in what will be the ride of a lifetime.
Starting Jan. 5, the South Shore native will race south from the capital Lima and is expected 15 days later in Santiago, Chile. Beaule will fulfill a boyhood dream by racing in the 2013 Dakar Rally.
Last year, Beaule and his teammate became the first Canadians to finish the famous Dakar Rally, sprinting through Peru, Argentina and Chile. Running in North Africa from its start in 1978, the race was moved to South America in 2009 after a number of attacks on contestants during the Mauritanian leg of the rally.
According to 37-year-old Beaule, riding in the timeless desert—in a race where seconds count—is mesmerizing. This year, the Montreal-area man will ride a motorcycle in the race.
“You realize that you are big like that in such a huge landscape,” said Beaule. “It's like a dry ocean and you can see for hundreds of kilometres. It's big, it's amazing. It's paradise.”
The nightly camps set up during the race, called bivouacs, are an amazing sight. Dune buggies and monster trucks are in the race, too—in separate categories. There are 800 participants, 193 of whom are motorcyclists.
Beaule’s buddies at KTM Motorcycles in St-Bruno say he has the right stuff.
“For him to go there is a feat and for him to finish it—I hope he does—will be something impressive,” said motorcycle mechanic Stephane Leblanc.
“In the case of mechanical failures, he's responsible and has to work on the bike. There are also the weather conditions, riding conditions, everything thrown at him. It's a big endurance event,” said race team manager Andy White.
Beaule's motorcycle is already in Peru. It's a custom-built $44,000 speed demon with three molded gas tanks. The race will cost Beaule $135,000 and while he's got six major sponsors—including KMT and Aldo—he needs one more major sponsor.
“I have space here - I haven't sold my head yet,” he says, pointing at his suit.