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ADV NewsDakar Rally Plans New Safety Measures To Reduce Rider Fatalities

Dakar Rally Plans New Safety Measures To Reduce Rider Fatalities

New Dakar Rally restrictions could lead to a safer race but also less action.

Published on 03.25.2020

Serious concerns about the safety of the Dakar Rally have culminated in a meeting between ASO organizers, the FIM and several race teams to put forward measures that will hopefully reduce the number of accidents at the race. The call for a change comes after a high number of serious crashes in this year’s rally, two of which resulted in the tragic deaths of riders Paulo Goncalves and Edwin Straver.

A change in format to help rebalance the competition at this year’s Dakar Rally seems to have added even more controversy to the race. Several riders expressed their concerns with the new roadbook rules and the more challenging navigation. Among them, 2018 Dakar champion Matthias Walkner revealed during the competition: “They want to make the rally difficult, but maybe this was a bit too far. You need to spend so much time looking at the roadbook and this means that in all the sand you can miss a big stone.”

Dakar Rally motorcycle rules changed
Photo ASO/Charly Lopez

During the meeting, the following factors were identified as potentially increasing the risk of accidents: Fatigue; dehydration; speeding and heightened confidence; hyper-thermic; navigational error; distraction; course – limited visibility of obstacle; and roadbook accuracy.


Following positive and constructive discussions between all parties, a number of proposals were put forward to address the points raised. They included:

  • Course: All courses at FIM championship events will be designed with the collaboration of a former motorcycle rider.
  • Road Book: A ‘course inspector’ team will be appointed – to develop the Road Book for all rounds so that all riders / teams have the same level of information and a truer interpretation of the actual level of difficulty of the course.
  • Speed reduction: More variation of the styles of course in order to have lower average speeds.
  • Power reduction: The installation of air intake restrictors, as per FIM 300 WSBK – in order to reduce engine power and also reduce speed. A test period will apply until June.
  • Rider protection equipment: Adopt airbags as soon as possible. Imminent meeting planned with relevant manufacturers, with 2020 being used for development in order to implement fully in 2021.
  •  Navigation: A new instrumentation tower is being developed, with more visual and audio signals, and a more- compact / less- obtrusive design to avoid injuries.
Laia Sanz Dakar Rally
Photo Flavien Duhamel

Speaking after the meeting, FIM President Jorge Viegas said: “Reducing  the number of accidents in Rally is a priority for the FIM, especially in the Dakar Rally. We will test solutions from the start of this season and we will make a plan at the end of the season to adjust as necessary. The participation of ASO, KTM, Husqvarna, Hero, Honda, Yamaha and also the riders Sam Sunderland and Adrien Van Beveren allowed us to work hand in hand to take up this challenge to ensure the sustainability of this spectacular and unique championship.”

Brabec Dakar Rally
Photo ASP/Charly Lopez

We’ll see how these new measures work out in the coming months. Hopefully, the FIM will find a way to reduce the number of accidents at the race while keeping the action and competition exciting for the fans.

Author: ADV Pulse Staff

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  1. Pingback: Dakar Rally Plans New Safety Measures to Reduce Fatalities – Robert's Adventure

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  3. Pingback: Dakar Rally Plans New Safety Measures to Reduce Fatalities | Motorcycle News


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