We’ve been keeping a close eye on father and son competitors Si and Llel Pavey competing in this year’s Dakar Rally for a number of reasons. 

Firstly because they’re the first father and son team to compete in Dakar, secondly Si is a veteran and living legend of the Dakar Rally but thirdly – and most importantly – because Llel, a long time contributor and friend of, is racing Dakar for the very first time. So we’re really rooting for them to reach the finish line.

Living the Dakar dream, Llel currently sits 73rd overall with Si just one place behind in 74th. Literally sitting on the start line, waiting to start stage five, here’s Si take on Dakar 2015…

“The Dakar Rally never fails to throw out surprises. Stage two – the longest of the race – had a bit of a lasting effect on all of us but after going into the medical centre and throwing up everywhere I wasn’t feeling too good most for most of stage three. It was a horrible experience really but I was not the only one by any means. My problem during stage three was just not having the energy because I didn’t eat enough, so I had no fuel in me. It was also really dusty a lot of the time.

“I wasn’t riding well either, I was struggling a bit with confidence and getting the front to stick in turns on the harder pack going. When you’re not feeling strong on the bike it all gets a bit worse and we dropped a bit further down the order than we want to be so the ruts in the riverbeds were worse and it all became a vicious circle – all sucking energy out of you in this immense heat. But you’ve got to just soak it up and get on with it – this is Dakar after all.

“We turned things around for stage four and both had a really good stage and it was a lot easier than the previous days. Basically we were just better physically after getting fed and watered properly and, even though the liaison was unbelievably long, it was a chance to rest a bit physically.

llel-pavey 076 dk15 josemariodias 038347 alta© Jose Mariodias

“The stretch up the Andes across the border was easier than it has been in previous years, partly because it wasn’t anywhere near as cold. Llel had been really worried about the altitude because it has affected him in the past but he had no problems, which was a massive relief for both of us.

“The only really problems he had was struggling a bit in the dunes towards the end. For all the riding he’s done he’s never really encountered big dunes on a big bike like this so it was literally a steep learning curve. But he loved it. You can’t fail to really.

“For me the day went well because I basically remembered how to ride a bit. My energy levels were up again and the riding suited me a bit more. Things were perfect right up until about 15kms from the end when I had a classic desert crash, a pearler right in front of some cameras! I hit a soft-pocket in third gear which stopped the front wheel dead and I did a classic head plant into the ground.

“There’s nothing you can do about it, it was just unlucky I found it in all that space. My neck was really sore and still was the this morning but we’re all good and… I’d better go mate – they’re calling me to start stage five…”