Category Archives: Dakar Rally

Dakar Rally

Overland Journeys News – July 2019

Directors Ramblings

The winter weather has been wet in most parts of New Zealand with the occasional snow fall closing roads for a short period throughout the country and prompting an early opening on most of the countries ski fields.

It’s the first real winter I have had to endure in NZ for 7 years and normally at this time of the year am basking in the sun and warmer temperatures of Mongolia, Russia or Central Asia.

Must say that there are lots of good reasons to leave home in the winter months and the promotions in the general media to venture to a tropical island, participate on a boat cruise or enjoy a trendy river boat cruise in Europe are all very tempting and in most cases cost effective.

However, I suggest that if you save the above options for your “later in life” vacations and while you can, take a self-drive adventure in an interesting part of the world while the countries on our agenda are available to us to visit in safety. This will also surely give you a greater appreciation of the places visited on the boat cruises later in life !

Overland Journey’s biggest challenge is that of convincing clients that the likes of Russia are not what they have been led to believe. Always portraited as the “bad boy” of civilisation, dark and dingy and unfriendly, it’s a hard image to shake off especially when the media play on its reputation.

To quote the majority of our clients within 24 hours of arriving in Vladivostok to start an Overland Journeys self-drive tour. “Wow, this is not what I expected !”

Yes, the people are friendly, the weather is warm, even in May and the scenery and architecture is amazing. The initial impression sets the scene for the start of an unforgettable 81-day tour to London passing through no less than 14 countries.

Reports

Anton Zaglyadimov, “Events and Operations Manager” for Overland Journeys has been doing an amazing job developing and refining our website.

We seem to be reaching a wider audience and a renewed awareness and interest in Overland self-drive and escorted travel is evident.

Its true to say that we are leaders in this field of travel and now have a global audience.

Just recently, NZ 4×4 Magazine have released their July edition with a 8 page article (with some spectacular photos) of our January winter ice road BAM trip in North Eastern Siberia. Either pick up a copy of NZ4x4 Magazine or read the article online on nz4x4.co.nz. The inclusion of an international articles written by Overland Journeys will be a regular feature from now on.

Greg Paul and the old faithful 96 / 80 series Land Cruiser in conjunction with Goosey’s Customs the Pukekohe Ironman 4×4 dealer recently displayed our tour product at a home show at Pukekohe. It was a great weekend and met lots of interesting people with that were amazed that a NZ organisation arranged 4×4, classic car and motor home tours around the world ! Of course, everybody who did engage in a conversation was keen to participate in such trips but mostly filed their thoughts in the “too hard basket”

I can assure you that the hard part is making the decision to do such a trip. The rest is easy with our help and organisation !

Part of the Overland Journeys portfolio these days is making arrangements and advising independent travellers on Overland travel.

At the moment we have 2 motorcyclists on a 150 day journey from Singapore to Amsterdam via China, Central Asia, Iran and Turkey. It took some organising but the boys are having a ball and soaking up the experience on a daily basis. At the moment they are on the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan.

Another couple from Rotorua are currently in Moscow after driving their Land Rover Defender from the UK via Finland to Murmansk in North Eastern Russia. They have an interesting Itinerary in Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia. Their blogs provide interesting reading and if you wish to follow Dennis and Jenny’s travels let me know and we can provide you with a web address.

Due to some early issues with the LR we also provided a list of the LR service agents throughout Russia. All part of the Overland Journeys customised service.

Tour Announcements

“Special Announcement

Overland Journeys are proposing a “last minute” limited edition 30-day Central Asian tour from the beautiful Kazakhstani city of Almaty to seaside resort of Yalta on the Crimean peninsula now back in Russian ownership.

Dates: 12th August ex Almaty to 13th September arriving Yalta.

Cost: $US19500 for 2 persons twin share including vehicle hire. (Land Cruiser 100 series LHD)

Notes: Only two customer vehicles available plus guide.

Email or call for detailed itinerary and tour inclusions / exclusions now.

Almaty, Bishkek, Osh, Dushanbe, Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Astrakhan, Krasnodar, Sevastopol, Yalta.

Dakar Rally Tour

The famed Dakar Rally-Raid is next year to be held entirely in Peru.

This is a huge surprise to the Dakar fraternity, but the sand dunes of Peru are what the Dakar is all about and the return to Peru and the dunes earlier this year gave the competitors and teams a taste of what the Dakar event is known for.

Its tough going and the duration of the rally has been reduced to 10 days, also a surprise.

Overland Journeys will be again following the Dakar Rally from start to finish in Peru in January 2019.

We will be shipping our specially prepared Land Cruisers to South America for the 10-day event.

We are traditionally the only company that follows the Dakar from start to finish.

Due to the Rally only being on Peruvian soils this year and that its shorter in duration we have slashed the price in hope that all 15 seats will be filled in 2019.

This will be the last Dakar that Overland Journeys / Rally Tours run as rumour has it that it may be the last in South America.

Cost: $US8,000. Per person. (Seat in vehicle) Vehicle hire options are available.

See our website for more details.

The Best of South America

South America is on for 2019.

Following the Dakar tour which this year finishes in Lima Peru, we will be starting a self-drive tour (with vehicles provided) to travel to the Southern tip of the continent, to the city of Ushuaia.

This route will be Lima (Peru), La Paz (Bolivia), Salta, Mendoza (Argentina) zigzagging back and forth across the Argentine / Chile border to take in the best of both countries.

The city of Ushuaia at very tip of the South American Continent is our turning point before heading back up to Santiago by way of a relaxing 3-day ferry trip.

This trip is “The Best of South America” and has morphed into a 50-day affair combining the best of all 4 countries at a crazy price of $NZ49k per couple based on share twin accommodation.

There are only 4 clients vehicles available for this tour so you need to be quick to accept this offer !

Start: Lima (Peru) on 18th January 2019

Finish: Santiago (Chile) on 8th March 2019

Cost: $NZ 49,000 per couple (4×4 vehicle included)

Details and Itinerary available now from anton@rallytours.co.nz

Motorhome Adventure

Momentum is gathering for our planned “Across Russia” Camper Van / Mobile home tour from Vladivostok (Russia) to Tallinn (Estonia) starting May 2019.

Advertising in the two most popular Motorhome publications has yielded plenty of enquiries from adventurous travellers keen to experience Russia and explore Europe and the UK with their own wheels.

A trans Russia Motor Home trip is now possible due to improved road conditions.

It will be leisurely trip with several two and three night stops and city sightseeing trips arranged with local guides and lots of optional excursions to museums, concerts etc.

Email Anton to get information about this trip and obtain a tour prospectus.

Start: Vladivostok (Russia) on 28th April 2019

Finish: Tallinn (Estonia) on 20th June 2019

Cost: $NZ37.000 (does not include shipping)  

Silk Road Tour

Still taking bookings for the 2019 Silk Road Tour. We have just 4 spots left for this 81 days “Overland Journeys” adventure of a life time.

If time is a problem and you don’t have 81 days we have one vehicle for hire that is available to do the Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) to Volgograd (Russia) leg. It’s 54 days and takes in the best of Mongolia, the Pamir Highway and Central Asia.

Call us now if this is an option for you.

Also, we have a couple of “seat in Vehicle” fares available. This will involve travelling with Greg in the lead Land Cruiser or the “TEC” (Trail and support) vehicle. This is a cost effective and relaxing alternative to driving at $NZ36k.

NoteWe operate this tour bi-annually. The 2021 Silk Road Overland is almost booked out.

If your thinking about the Silk Road adventure we can get you organised now for the 2019 trip.

Experience the Baikal Amur Mainline

February 2019 is not that far away, and we are now looking for expressions of interest for our 2019 BAM Russian Ice road trip.

Yes is cold, but not cold as we know it !

It’s a dry cold and the skies are mostly clear every day.

The tour cost includes warm Russian clothing, warm hotels, vehicles and as much vodka as you like to keep your insides warm.

This is truly an amazing trip and an incredible experience that you will not forget.

Talk to us about it now or take a look at the 8 page article that Greg wrote on our 2018 BAM trip and see the spectacular photos on www.nz4wd.co.nz or buy the NZ4WD magazine July 2018 edition and you will be convinced. This is also a very cost-effective trip and is seat in vehicle or vehicle hire by arrangement.

Cost: $US7500 per person

Duration: 18 days. 18th Feb – 8th March.

Call us now to discuss this trip.

2020 Classic Car Tour

2020 will see us run our popular Classic Car trip and this time from Vladivostok to London. Details out soon.

We have escorted Classics across Russia on 3 occasions before and its proved to be popular.

The tour will end in the UK in time for the “Goodwood Festival of Speed” and the Silverstone Classic and Historic race meeting.

So, dust off your favourite classic and reserve the months of May, June and July to tour Russia, Eastern Europe and the UK.

Cost and dates to be announced soon.

“Special” Travelled with Overland Journeys previously, then you automatically belong to our “Overlander’s Adventurers club and are eligible for a rebate (don’t like the word discount) on your next tour with us.

Dakar 2018

Announcement… Overland Journeys program for 2018

Dakar 2018 January 6th – January 20th Lima, Peru to Cordoba. Argentina via Bolivia.

Rally Tours are the only organisation that provides a comprehensive start to finish seat in 4×4 vehicle tour of the Dakar Rally Raid. This will be our 5th exciting trip to the Dakar event in South America.

If this is on your bucket list, this is a definite must do. It’s the world’s most radical motor rally that is so different, traversing some of the world’s most difficult terrain and passing through 3 countries.

The categories range from quad bikes, motorcycles, varying sizes of trucks and Dakar specked race cars of all varieties.

2018 will see the rally start in Lima Peru on the 6th January and finish in Cordoba Argentina on the 20th January. This is a much-improved format on previous years and will enhance the spectator opportunities on an amazing variety of terrain and reduce our travelling time somewhat.

The Dakar is a 4×4 tour, with our experienced drivers who be your guides for this exciting event. Rally Tours will be taking six 4×4 Land Cruisers to the Dakar and have potentially 15 seats available for sale. A self-drive/vehicle hire option will also be available for 2018.

We are taking expressions of interest now so be in quick. The tour will include your accommodation with daily breakfast. You will need to organise your return flights.

Note that flights into South America at this time need to be booked early.

Call Deb Hollier about our Dakar tour now on +64-272-586614

“DAKAR action in Argentina and Bolivia” No one gets you closer than Rally Tours !!

Dakar News Plus Pic's

This News Blog includes a few highlights of the Dakar

The good news is that the 2018 DAKAR will start in Lima, Peru on the 6th January 2018 and finish in Cordoba. Argentina on the 19th January. The Dakar circus will venture into the massive dunes of Peru not tackled since we were there in 2013.

The route takes in the traditional and contrasting territory of Bolivia with mountains, high altitude and salt flats adding the Bolivian challenges of the last two years.

Argentina is different again. Fast, flat, sandy and hot all the way to the finish in Cordoba, a fitting finish point to the world’s most amazing motor race.

You need to join Rally Tours in Lima in 2018 if you want to witness this unreal test of man and machine!

The Peugeot team on the move with no less that 8 trucks !! Peugeot has a competition truck entered. A MAN. It carries the car parts for the 4 competition cars… No expense spared to achieve a win for Peugeot!

The challenge of starting in Asuncion, Paraguay and extra border crossings was an unknown quantity but went well and am sure that the Dakar event will likely return to Paraguay next year despite the warm temperature’s encountered.

The challenge for organisers this year was the weather and the altitude. It was very wet in Bolivia resulting in the cancellation and shortening of a couple of stages.

A massive landslide that took out a village just inside the Argentine border with Bolivia saw the entire Dakar Circus stranded in a small town until a 300km detour was organised for 4×4 vehicles only.

That was a journey and a night not to be forgotten, but its part of the Dakar adventure !! We did, however, get to some amazing spectator points, meet some incredible people including crews, competitors and press.

Our multi-national team of Americans, Russians, and an Aussie won’t forget this Dakar journey and are all going home with smiles on their faces despite the lack of sleep and occasionally the lack of home comforts for the 15 days that is the Dakar!! Thanks to Darby, Carly, Scott and Lena, Terry and Olga for their joining Rally Tours of the greatest Rally adventure in the world. Yes, we will do it again in 2018. I am taking expressions of interest now…

interesting and challenging road into a stage in Argentina. Great view point near the Argentina / Bolivia border. The crowds here in Bolivia are amazing !! Rally Tours are part of the Dakar circus near Oruro, Bolivia.

An Italian Fiat Panda 4×4 Dakar car at our hotel in Asuncion. I want one. !! When it rains, it really rains !! Let the journey begin. But it requires a lot of map study. Peugeot are ready to do battle with 4 of the new 2017 Dakar 3008’s

Dakar 2017 Tour News

Happy New Year! from Asuncion Paraguay, we are about 16 hours behind NZ. It was a nice celebration at a local restaurant with about 50 others from the multi-national Overdrive Hilux team. I have added Paraguay to my list of 54 countries visited on my travels so far. Interesting place and both hot (41C) yesterday and very wet when it rains. The Dakar has brought Asuncion alive. Leave town with the Dakar circus early tomorrow morning and head 400km south into Argentina to see some real action in the deserts of northern Argentina. Seasons greetings to all and commiserations to those who would like to be here. Did I mention the steaks are huge and the Corona is cheap!!

An Italian Fiat Panda 4×4 Dakar car at our hotel in Asuncion. I want one. When it rains, it really rains! Let the journey begin. But it requires a lot of map study.Peugeot are ready to do battle with 4 of the new Dakar 2017 3008’s

The 2017 edition of the Dakar Rally is underway. Visited the Rally village and Start ramp this afternoon. The first of the riders and Pilots (as they call them here) put on their racing attire to cross the ceremonial start in +40c temps. Shit it was hot! and thousands of spectators! The day has just been complimented by a nice dinner and super cold Corona! I reminded the clients that this could be the last flash meal at a respectable hour for a while.

Saturday the 7th January. Cochabamba, Bolivia. The rain is pouring down and the 6th stage of Dakar 2017 was cancelled early this morning due to deteriorating road conditions, a rally organisers nightmare I would say! We saw snow on the 4000m mountain pass yesterday while travelling to stage 5 near Oruro. I must say the cooler temperatures in Bolivia are a pleasant change from the hot 40C+ temps back at sea level in Argentina. The Dakar adventure continues as Loeb and Peugeot dominate. Toby price is out with a broken leg and Iveco leads a pack of 4 chasing Russian Kamaz’s. All going well with the Rally Tours Dakar tour but the days are long and the altitude has had interesting effects not known to people who live at sea level.

Interesting and challenging road into a stage in Argentina. Great view point near the Argentina / Bolivia border. The crowds here in Bolivia are amazing! Rally Tours are part of the Dakar circus near Oruro, Bolivia.

It was a rest day in La Paz Bolivia today for the Dakar and its circus. A chance to try and “catch a breath” at 3750 m before the long and arduous trek back into Argentina and to the finish at Buenos Aires on the 14th. Just about 4000km to go! Cool place La Paz, literally, it was 8C this morning and shrouded in cloud.

La Paz makes Wellington NZ look flat. Specially designed buses for the hilly conditions. 20-speed gearboxes I think? Makes for interesting driving and navigating.

It’s Sunday morning in a quite Buenos Aires. The Dakar 2017 is over the elation of finishing this grueling event was displayed at the finish podium last night by just over 50% of the original starters

Clean sweep by Peugeot in the car class. And the Russian Kamaz’s took 1st and 2nd in the trucks… A Brit on a KTM won the bikes after Australia’s Toby Price crashed out breaking his leg on day 3 !!

Deep Creeks pose a problem for this bike! He needs to get out of there as fast as he can…..see the next video. Note the spectators in the river in deck chairs. Video credit to Scott Sato.

A big splash by a Belarusian MAZ. Top viewing spot on top of the Rally Tours Land Cruiser. Note the Rally Sport Mag Umbrella from Australia !!

Peugeot took a clean 1,2.3 dominance of the Dakar this year. It’s easy to see how with their multi $M investment in their Dakar weapon the DKR3008. The investment is also in the drivers, Peterhansel. Loeb, Deprese and Sainz.

July 2016 - News

July 2016

We are not quite in the depths of winter here in Auckland. Hope that if you are outside in NZ you are experiencing some lovely warm weather.

We have been working on the up and coming tours for end of 2016 and 2017. Greg is now on the last leg of the combined Shanghai to London and Vladivostok to London tours. 60 days completed so far. More details …

We have a lot going on for 2017

THE DAKAR – Dec/Jan 2017

Dakar2017-SlideDo something completely different, celebrate New Year’s in South America, arrive into Asuncion on the 31st December 2016,then follow the DAKAR …
The DAKAR is the most exciting motor rally event the world has to offer. It’s an endurance event for man / machine crews and enthusiasts like ourselves that follow the Dakar Circus !! More details …

We will get you into some fantastic vantage points to watch this rally unfold over the 14 days. Speculation is that it could be the last Dakar in South America so this is it. It could be your last opportunity to witness the greatest show on earth as we know it. 2016 Details here …


SILK ROAD – May 2017

Vladivostok is the starting point for this 81 day journey across to London. A 4×4 adventure, driving through Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Poland, Czech Germany concluding in England. This is the ‘Ultimate Road Journey through Time”


ROAD OF BONES – May 2017

Road-of-BonesThis is a 4X4 self-drive adventure, once Greg has completed the current tour, he will head towards Novosibirsk and drive towards the start of what is going to be part of the Road of Bones adventure. Greg is going to scope this area out, as part of the Road of Bones tour that we are promoting for 2017.

We have three options;

1) Singapore (61 days), and drive through Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, China and Mongolia up into Russia and complete the tour in Magadan.

2) Bangkok (50 days), Myanmar, China and Mongolia up into Russia and complete the tour in Magadan.

3) Vladivostok (21 Days) through to Magadan
All the information will be up on the website at a later stage.


As the Shanghai to London and the Vladivostok to London tours end 26th July, I would like to express our sincere thanks to the following persons/companies who help pull all this together and ensure the smooth running for our clients in their ultimate adventure.

• Judy Tapper – Flight Centre travel consultant
• Phil Gibbs and his team at GT Logistics
• Murray Reedy – Silk Road Adventures
• Tracy – Navo Tours
• John Barley – Barley and Associates for all our marine/travel & medical insurance


If any of these tours interest you, please call Deb +64272586614 or email deb@rallytours.co.nz for more information.

Dakar 2016 Report

DAKAR – It’s an Adventure not a holiday!

First we need to get our 2 land cruisers from Valpariso (Chile) to Buenos Aries (Argentina).
Well actually first we need to get the paperwork done so I could be authorised to drive Gregs Landcruiser into Argentina. A whole day of visiting various offices in Santiago got us a piece of paper with all the stamps. Special mention to our agents who made this so much easier.

We picked up the vehicles just outside Valpariso (mental note beautiful place I must get back there with some more time to spend) and headed off to BA. Only 1500km but the small obstacle of the Andes to get over. See photos of some of the climbs, 29 switchbacks and then a 3km tunnel. Cool.

After all our effort the border control didn’t want to know about the paperwork. [But imagine if we hadn’t had it]. There was a queue of about 7km of vehicles waiting to cross into Chile. Down the hill on the other side and to our overnight in La Paz. (No not the capital of Bolivia, La Paz Argentina! population 1189, one of five towns called La Paz in Argentina)
Next day went well for the first spell, then a small mechanical problem meant the rest of the trip from there to BA was a bit of a train trip. Did I mention the tropical thunderstorm? Good thing there were not too many corners, but we got there just before midnight so we could enjoy the new year festivities by the harbour.

We met up with the others at our hotel in Buenos Aries and after changing some money and other chores, went down to the exposition and saw the fields of competitors parked up. Next morning we visited the start and watched the procession of Bikes (136) Quads (45) Cars (111) and Trucks (55) leave on their way to the prologue stage near Rosario. Turns out this prologue was cancelled due to an accident caused by a Chinese competitor.

We overnighted in BA and then drove to meet day 1 near the end of their day only to find that stage too had been cancelled due to weather and road conditions (well we could see how that could be, having driven through it the other way).

Chile had refused to take the rally, and then, only 4 months before the start, Peru also refused. Without the Atacama Desert and the Andes stages, the rally was mainly based in Argentina with lots of fast stages on closed narrow tracks WRC style, and a noticeable lack of stages in open terrain with difficult navigation.

By now we are on well known territory at Villa Carlos Paz, where the WRC is based in Argentina. Using a combination of the event map (a very poor indication indeed) and an electronic mapping programme Greg selected an intermediate junction to spectate at the next day. Good thing he did, as the organisers shortened this stage too, and it turned out we were at the start of the stage. Great spectating though and we got to see the whole four fields on the first actual stage. We saw them at about 600m into the stage they had a further 520km to go to the finish! The total for the day for competitors was 858km.
So, after watching the DAKAR we had a further 400km to get where we going: Termas de Rio Hondo

The next day went from Termas de Rio Hondo to Jujuy across the Salinas Grandes – racing on salt flats where we found a water splash, and again on the way home high view over valley as they came to the end of the stage.

Jujuy – Jujuy

Jujuy – Uyuni
Left our hotel at 5am to head north to the border crossing into Bolivia at Villazon before the DAKAR vehicles arrived. When we got there we found the border was closed to everyone except the DAKAR who had already been pre processed. So there we were, 9 am, and had to wait “until the next day” to cross. Eventually we were allowed through about 4.30 pm – and we were the first through. There were at least 200 backpackers and other normal users in a queue waiting (not all that quietly). Taking just one vehicle into Bolivia it was only 300 km (6 hours) to get to Uyuni. We headed up the direct route which was initially a sealed road, but after Tupiza we turned onto a gravel road – pretty much like a little used NZ rural road – twisty and in need of a grading, complete with washouts. This is very close to the place where Butch Cassidy and Sundance met their end. Anyway we had not travelled more than 40 km of this when the traffic (trucks & 4wds) started coming back towards us and told us the river crossing ahead was already 1m deep and rising, and it was still raining.

With no alternative we had to backtrack for 40 km and drove about 20k of that down the riverbed which was in better nick than the road. By the tracks the locals preferred this to the road too. At Tupiza we rejoined the sealed road and headed for Uyuni via Potosi – 253 + 204 km (7 hrs) detour. By now it is starting to get dark, and the road climbs to 4600m though falling snow. As we descended the weather changed to just heavy rain again, i.e. streams running down the road rain. It was about 2.30am when we arrived in Uyuni.

Watched the Dakar on the salt flats at Uyuni at 3600m altitude (Mt Cook is 3724m) (Uyuni is six times the size of Bonneville), including a spectacular effort by one of the trucks to flatten a photographer. Toured past the Salt Hotel.

Anticipating the same lack of organisation on the return trip Greg changed our route and we overnighted in Potosi instead and made an early start for the border at Aguas Blancas. Brilliant! we crossed and nearly made it 20km when we were stopped for flooding! Fortunately land cruisers can cope – although the current would not have needed to be any stronger, we made it through.
The service crews were not all as lucky – as the sun set again we returned to our other vehicle, had a late meal (shared with a wedding party) and then drove on to Salta arriving at 1am.

Salta – Rest Day. Not before time!!

stage 8 Salta to Belen – Riverbed with small jump

stage 9 Belen to Belen Mid stage point off road and finish control.
Aimogasta 2 nights – worlds best tyre repair

stage 10 Old Riverbed – desert – way point most like driving on sand – dust storms
Belen to La Roija

stage 11La Roija to San Juan wide sandy track then later narrow stoney track

Chatting to one of the service trucks filling up – did you know it holds 1600 litres of diesel!
stage 12 San Juan back to Villa Carlos Paz – We drove for 75km in a straight line down a clay road that looked to have maybe 2 sets of tyre tracks before us. This took us to the back of the Parc Nacional, followed by a spectacular climb up the 500m uplift at the edge of what was once Gondwana through the jungle to intersect the stage at Las Palmas. We followed the tail cars out of this stage and then drove past the famous Mina Clavero and El Condor (Rally Argentina stages) to get back to Villa Carlos Paz.

Stage 13 and only 700km to go. We positioned ourselves to catch Australian Toby Price as he completed his final touring into Rosario having won the event for bikes. We even made it to the finish ceremony, through the throngs of people asking for free t-shirts and caps. Thanks to all my fellow passengers – you made it a memorable trip.
Our final trip back to Buenos Aries was notable for the size of the the procession of the de Rooy truck fleet heading to the port for export. We had never seen them all in one place before and they made quite a spectacle.

If you want a holiday where you get up have a leisurely brunch, watch one stage and be in the bar by five this is not the trip for you. If you want to experience in small part the effort of actually being a part of Dakar and think sleep is overrated, have a desire to weather conditions including snow, torrential rain, flooding, lightning, high winds, temperatures up to 44 in the desert, and -2 at night, altitudes up to 4500 m, like travelling hundreds of kilometres in constantly changing scenery then this is you. Your reward? Getting to see some of the top drivers in the world in the most challenging terrain fighting the machinery and the conditions – against other drivers and riders, many whose only goal is to say they completed the course. And those boys riding quads are nuts.

Thanks Greg – Another spectacular trip – Roll on Dakar 2017. jk.

[The rally was won by Toby Price from Australia [bikes], continuing the KTM dominance. Patronelli brothers dominated in Quads (this time by Marcus), while Peugeot returned with a better car leading from the first real stage till the end of the rally. In his first try Sébastien Loeb dominated the first week, but in the end the car victory went to Mr. Dakar Stephane Peterhansel. Gerard de Rooy won the trucks again, putting an end to Kamaz dominance. Mikko Hirvonen managed an excellent fourth in his first attempt.]

Dakar 2016 - Final Stages

The 2016 edition of the Dakar is done and dusted for another year.

The challenge for most did not end until the last moment with the crossing of the podium at the finish in Rosario. Finish the Dakar has to be the ultimate accolade in anyone’s CV of life achievements and never fails to impress me as to what these men and there machines endure over 15 days that is the “DAKAR” the results were interesting.

Toby Price the Australian dwelt to the motorcycle class with pure energy and determination totally embarrassing the class generally dominated by Europeans.

The master “mister Dakar” Peterhaunsal” saved Peugeots face by bringing the new 2008DKR home in first position hotly pursued by Mini and Toyota.

The quads saw the professionals, the Patronelli bros from Argentina in a 1 / 2 battle for the last few days,

Gerauld DeRooye the Dutchman in an Iveco finally triumphed over the Russian Kamaz to bring home a victory after 3 years of trying. It was an epic battle in the truck class right until the end !!

Toby Price - Dakar Winner - Bikes

Toby Price – Dakar Winner – Bikes

The elements were a challenge. Some stages were cancelled due to wet weather in the beginning. We had scorching hot temps and the stages shortenend for the bikes. The riders spent a compulsory 15 minutes in a refrigerated truck to recover. The long trek into Bolivia saw super long touring sections and heavy rain and snow at 5000 metres !!
Floods greated U.S. When we re-entered Argentina. This is the Dakar, it’s amazing.

The Rally tours Dakar Adventure got to see stages almost every day. It was a monumental challenge but a wonderful experience for the 3rd time and a huge thanks to Ray, Matt and John for joining me to make our trip to the Dakar a great adventure with a purpose. Check our the photos on the Rally Tours Facebook Timeline.

Join us next year for the Dakar, it’s a life experience !!

Ray Oxford gets personal with Dakar bike class winner, Australian Toby Price as he completes the last few kilometres of the gruelling Dakar event. It was the jewel in the crown for both Toby and Ray !!

Dakar 2016 - Stages 4 ~ 6

We didn’t make into Bolivia last year for lots of logistical reasons. This year it was feasible. We arrived at the border town of La Quiaca to an amazing reception of thousands of locals but the border was closed to non Dakar crews for the day ….or maybe two days.

I had to use all of my overlanding negotiating skills to convince the authorities that we and several other following the Dakar would not be impressed staying the night in their delightful little town. From here the adventure into Bolivia began as we crossed the border into the town of Villazon…

After travelling 3 hours to Tupiza we turned to follow a 300km stretch of gravel to our destination Uyuni. We however were turned around 40km into the leg by Dakar service trucks siting that a river crossing was too deep and the levels were rising. This resulted in a 400 km detour over mountainous roads to reach our destination at 2am.

Uyuni is not a a place to include in your list of places to go for a holiday !! The salt flats near Uyuni are however impressive and worth a visit – see top image.

We found a great viewing spot the next day combined with some excellent 4×4 off road driving. More commentary and images can be found on our facebook page…

Recent images

Dakar1
Competitors make their way toward the Bolivian border on the road section. The bike riders are absolute supermen!!

Dakar2
Caught by Ray Oxford our Rally Tours client in Bolivia. See the location of the professional photographer!!

Dakar4
Can you get closer !! Truck leader Hans Stacey in the big MAN..Leading the truck section at the moment.

Dakar6
Travelling with the DAKAR Circus. Crossing out of Bolivia yesterday and back into Argentina.

Dakar 2016 - Stages 1 ~ 3

The 2 day journey to Buenos Aires was going really well and an arrival into the Argentine capital for news years eve was looking good until our old faithful Land Cruiser dropped an engine valve in the middle of no-where… That resulted in a diagnosis of major engine failure and a tow to BA of 700km. Exciting for John Kilpatrick on the end of the 4m tow rope…
We did make it for the New Years party at the Buenos Aires down town marina despite our delays with the towing exercise…

Our Dakar clients arrived in Buenos Aires the next day.
Ray Oxford from Australia is a keen motor-sport photographer and shoots more than 2000 photos a day !!
I will put up some of Rays photos but suggest you look him up on face book “Ray Oxford” as all of his pics are on his page. He has a huge following world wide including several DAKAR competitors are now looking at his photos…

Matt Hedrick is a yacht skipper from the states and is very handy with an iphone 6 and takes fantastic video. The video post a few hours ago was Matt’s handy work and is constantly coming up with nifty video clips including the big floods that we had to negotiate last night coming into Salta.

Dakar is throwing up lots of challenges for the organisers this year..the weather being the main obstacle
Stage 1 was cancelled due to wet stormy so the trucks didn’t get to race officially until day 3 !!

The with good weather on the horizon we headed north to Termas Del Rio Hondo via some of the familiar WRC Rally stages. We had a brilliant view point just off the stage start and at the end of the running of the 300km stage followed the rally cars out to experience a Dakar Stage. It took a while having to do a couple of tows and wait for the stage to finish due to a bog that caused havoc for the tail end trucks…All part of the experience !!

We had two nights in Pampala and a day trip to the North east over the mountains to the salt flats gave the boys their first taste of the effects of altitude climbing to 4400m !!
The Land Cruiser and most other vehicles including the competition cars and trucks suffer badly with the lack of air.

Walking any distance takes its toll and makes the lungs work hard. We found a great spot where a small river ran across the track making a huge water splash.

By now Peugeot’s new creation the DKR 2008 and ex WRC star Seb Leob are starting to stamp their authority on this years event.

More commentary and images can be found on our facebook page…

DAKAR Rally Raid Tour 2016

Rally Tours NZ is committed to operating it’s 3rd “DAKAR” Rally Raid tour in 2016.

The worlds most amazing motor sport event was to start in Lima, Peru on the 3rd January 2016. However the ASO organisation responsible for the “Dakar” event has recently announced an important change to the 2016 Program.

Peru, one of three host countries, along with Bolivia and Argentina has announced that it will relinquish its host role for reasons of national security.

These South American countries predominately utilise their police, armed forces and security forces to provide man power to ensure the smooth running of this huge event as it moves through their respective countries.

Peru has withdrawn as a possible threat of unsettled weather due to the El-Nino weather patterns in January may mean that they will need all of their resources to protect their citizens.

At this time the DAKAR organisation is re-plotting a new and exciting itinerary in Bolivia and Argentina, which is due to be announced by the end of September.

Rally Tours believes that these changes, especially with an increased involvement in Bolivia, this DAKAR will be the most exciting yet.

The entry of more that 550 bikes, quads, cars and trucks is fully subscribed with some dramatic driver and team transfers from one discipline to the other in pursuit of the ultimate prize.

Rally Tours NZ will ship our specially prepared Toyota Land Cruisers to South America in late October and our team of experienced drivers will be there on the 26th December to receive the vehicles to commence this marathon spectator tour in Argentina and Bolivia.

Rally Tours works with the DAKAR organisers to take you to the best locations on a daily basis, travelling with the “DAKAR circus” of almost 5000 service, administration competition and spectator vehicles.

Our ticket of just $NZ10k per person for this 16 day experience of a lifetime includes everything excluding airfares and personal travel insurance.

2016 is the year to experience the greatest motor race on the planet with Rally Tours. We have just 15 seats available travelling with in our specialist Dakar prepared Land Cruisers.

Expressions of interest are requested now and applications close 30th October.

Greg Paul.
Rally Tours NZ Director (and DAKAR Tour Leader)