Can't wait!

Can't wait!

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Well it’s all over or at least it is for now…

We are all absolutely gutted. After a HUGE amount of effort – particularly on the part of the French Team – we had managed to get an amazing pair of Buggies ready for the biggest adventure of our lives. Then with less than 24 hrs to go they tell us it’s all over.

What more is there to say?

What memories – very stressful, amazing dreams, some fear, above all else an enormous excitement and met some good people, but in the end enormous disappointment.

Here are just a few of the images that will help me remember what might have been.

Here is a link to all of our pictures should you feel the urge

Thanks to everyone who has been so supportive throughout the last 4 months and thanks for all the messages received since the news broke.

What next ??????

Why was it cancelled

- 24th December – 4 French Tourists shot
- 26th December – 3 Mauritanian soldiers shot
- Thurs 3rd Jan - apparently (although can’t find official confirmation) 7 Mauritanian Soldiers shot as they were setting up a safe area for one of the Dakar Stop-overs
- al-Qa’eda threat to attack the Dakar race – somewhere – not only in Mauritania

With these ASO (the organising committee) felt they could not ensure the safety of the competitors and organisors.

Other Factors which I think may have influenced
- the top teams would have been expressing huge concern as it would be their drivers who were driving in the lead cars. How can they ensure they are protected – Don’t forget these are Rally World Champions like Carlos Sainz. Why should they be taking the risks, after all this is just a job for them.

- For the top teams as well as for everyone else we are taking hundreds of mechanics and helpers into potentially dangerous areas. How can we be responsible for putting these guys lives at risk.

Should it have gone ahead?
Could we just have done Portugal, Spain and then 2 laps of Morocco. Maybe. But apparently the al-Qa’eda threat was a blanket threat against the Dakar with no specification that the risk was confined to Mauritania.

BUT what really grates is that there was no Plan B, Plan C or Plan D. The fact is that hundreds of teams have invested millions of pounds and there has to be an alternative. From ASo's perspective that is not acceptable.

I think if you had asked the competitors then it would have gone ahead because:
1. we were all caught up in the excitement of the whole thing (probably not a great reason),
2. the nature of the people who take part in the Dakar is such that they would have taken the risks, and finally
3. we can’t let the terrorists win!

Glad I didn’t have to make the decision BUT allowing the terrorists to win is not the right answer!

Saturday, 5 January 2008

From the Journal in Newcastle this morning 05.01.08!

Troels and Mark in the Danish - Motorsport Newspaper 02.01.08


Coverage in the press re cancellation of the 2008 Dakar rally.

World news links 4 -5 th January 2008;_ylt=AtQ_t9QFF_IUjmFKzmkwTXCXsdEF

Britains news links - 4 -5 th January 2008,,2235742,00.html

French news links 4 -5 th January 2008
Danish news links re cancellation - there are many more.

Discussions / forums re cancelations

Motor Links

Great pictures from mitsubishi from 5th jan

Friday, 4 January 2008

Dakar 2008 cancelled at last moment!!!

Just in case someone has not yet heard, the Dakar has been cancelled this year due to security fears in Mauritania. The teams are completely gutted after all of the hard work that has been put into the preparations, both mental, physical and fiscal!!! I am sure Troels will have more to say when he gets back, and I would also put money on there being a good party in Lisbon tonight...

Au revoir

Thursday, 3 January 2008

It's all kicking off in Lisbon...

The Omega teams have had a great day in Lisbon with lots of testing being carried out on the cars and their occupants. All is going according to plan, including the 'getting out of the car via the opposite window in as few seconds as possible' test which apparently even Troels passed. Anyway, enough words, here are a couple of pics of the cars (and trucks) in pristine condition (for the moment) in Lisbon......

Live web chat with Troels and the team in Lisbon!!

The notification below is from Troels in Lisbon, where the car is 'in verification'. Troels has asked me (Graham) to keep this blog up-to-date for the next couple of weeks! I spoke to him earlier today (Thursday), and oh boy, is he looking forward to it....

'We are in lisbon and are doing a live website interview tonight at 18.30 uk time and maybe some other times too. We will be live on the internet for anyone who has registered on the team omega site Once registered you will then get access to an extra menu on which you'll see live web chat. Click on that and you will see us on live video and can ask any questions you like on a chat screen. Should be fun, ask as many questions as you like, the more the merrier.....'

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Press launch and testing – wow!

Great trip to Pau. Cars are looking fabulous (here are a few pictures and you can see some more at the following site) and they are flying in testing. With 2 shock absorbers on each of the front wheels and 3 on each of the back ones it just drives over ruts and bumps as if they’re not there. Still a bit of work to do on the accelerator and the steering but the guys are working night and day to get them ready.

The team heads off from Pau to Lisbon on Tuesday 1st Jan in order to be ready for Scruteneering on the 2nd (16.45) – this will be the big test to see if everything is in order and complies with all the rules etc…

Everyone is bursting with excitement and we all just want to get started. The press launch went excellently and was attended by some 90 people –
* The Team – there will be 16 of us in total. 11 were there on the night but there are another 5 associated with the Tourreg & the second support Truck from “hardyracing”,

* French Sponsors – there are lots of them,
* Journalists – including none other than “Mrs Dakar” herself - Marie- France ESTENAVE, who has covered the Dakar for the last 18 years for L’Equipe (France’s biggest and best Sports newspaper). Mimi, as she is known on the Dakar is from Pau and as such, and
* And some dignitaries - Jean-Paul Pasquet the Head of the (Basque Motor Racing Association) and Lucas Lasserre test driver for Michelin and long-time French rally driver.

It’s all coming together.....

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Another trip to France looms

Mark and I are off to Pau at some ungodly hour on Thursday for a days testing and then a big press and TV launch on Friday night. The cars are just about there. Our's is all finished (although just redoing the gear box tomorrow. Michel's is getting there but there is still a bit of work to do on it. The big truck is finished and fully decorated.

The saga of the Toyota took a final twist last week when the "mate" who provided it for the past 2 years decided to take his toys home about 2 weeks ago and withdrew it from us!! Michel has luckily managed to source another (~ Euros 35k - not in the original budget!!) from Belgium which he picked up in a marathon 24 hr drive up and down France. This is now being stripped and rebuilt - not many days to go but they are hopeful that they will get it finished in time.

The start is now only 10 days away ..... oh s..t! The cars set off on the 30th ready for scrutineering in Lisbon on the 2nd. That reminds me - must change the flights to Lisbon so that we get there in time.

Powered by Prelox ....

Great new sponsor. "Prelox® is a patented combination of two potent ingredients clinically proven to increase a man’s ability to achieve and sustain an erection".

I think the unique qualities that taking this stuff will bring to the team dynamics shouldn'tbe underestimated!!

The team has gone from stregth to stregth since Prelox came on board and according to Matt Flanders from Pharma Nord UK (distributors of Prelox in the UK) "Prelox® is a safer, all natural, drug-free way to enhanced sexual pleasure and performance" - so throw away the Viagra and get down to Harrods, Selfridges, Nutricentre, Holland & Barrett and most independent healthfood stores and pharmacies. That said, if Mark produces a box whilst we are away in the desert I will start to worry!

Thursday, 13 December 2007

and then the testing started .....

It's amazing is all we could get out of Michel. It is much faster than last year, corners much better and jumps horizontally rather than vertically (that's a good thing by the way). Ohlins (the shock absorber guys) were in Pau today to put the car through its paces and everything apparemtly went swimingly.

Mark is off down there tomorrow for a weekend of throwing it round the forest tracks - hope he keeps it on the track (there's only 21 days to go till the off......!!!!!). Well I must say it is looking 100% better than lst time we saw it but there is still a long way to go before it is fully kitted out.

After all the logo's go on (early next week hopefully) and the Eastern European car wash team have been let loose on it I am sure it will at least look the part.

Michel assures us it is performing like a dream.

Great picture of the automatic jacks we have for when we need to fix a puncture or get a sand mat in under the wheels (not of course that we are going to get stuck in the sand...)

Saturday, 8 December 2007

And then Londonewcastle came on board

"You're going to be away from the office for how long????" was Simon Berg's first comment. "Well if that's the case" figured Robert Soning and David Barnett, "then I guess we better get behind you all the way."

Simon, Robert and David have built up a truly energetic property development business over the last 10 years. Focused exclusively on high end residential developments in Central London Londonewcastle is a brand that reflects both style and innovation. Having just secured a new £250m facility with Bank of Scotland Corporate and Chelsfield Partners they are ideally placed to take advantage of what will no doubt be an opportunistic period in the sector.

Anyway - back to the matter in hand - the brand sits perfectly alongside the spirit of the Dakar and we're delighted to have Londonewcastle with us.

Bremont add their support

We are delighted to announce that Bremont have become part of the team. Or maybe we have become part of the Bremont Team which includes the likes of Ewan & Charley (of Long Way Round & Down fame) as well as Bear Grylls. With Bremont on board the drivers and co-drivers are now sporting fabulous new watches.

Nick English (who started Bremont earlier in 2007 with his brother Giles) said “Here at Bremont we are all very excited about helping Mark and Troels achieve a long term ambition in the Bremont Buggy. I think they have teamed up with a strong support crew in Team Omega and we wish them all the very best for January – we will be watching their progress avidly and will definitely be at the finish in Dakar to cheer them over the line”

Spectra Logic get involved

Way back when in the Summer Spectra Logic became one of our very first sponsors and really set us off on our road to Dakar. As most of you will already know Spectra Logic designs and manufactures innovative tape, disk and encryption solutions for backup and archival, and has been in business for more than 27 years.

Anthony Yeates, VP Sales for EMEA, was full of support and praise “When Mark and Troels first told me about the trip at a drinks party in Oxford I thought they were mad – but after realizing they were serious I knew we had to get involved. Our Portuguese team will all be there to see them off and we are planning to get our North African contingent to Dakar to make sure they cross that finish line.”

Saturday, 1 December 2007

The Route is out - it's very long and VERY sandy!!

The 21 November saw the launch of the 2008 Route and the announcement of the competitors. 200 Cars, 245 Bikes, 100 Trucks (that's nearly 1000 competitors!!), 40% are rookies and lots & lots of sand.

15 days of racing, 5 countries, 9,273 kms (5,800 miles) of which 5,700 kms are timed stages, 2 marathon stages (i.e. we have to repair the cars ourselves in the evening!!) and lots & lots of sand.

Did I mention there was a lot of sand - we received a detailed map of Mauritania today ... there doesn't seem to be a lot of roads and it looks very yellow.