By Wade Thiel
Spurred by the Deaths of Paulo Goncalves and Edwin Straver
ASO organizers and the FIM will be changing the format of the Dakar Rally to help ensure the safety of the riders. This has garnered ire from some riders, but it is well-intentioned. A meeting was held to identify several factors that often lead to rider accidents. They included fatigue, dehydration, speeding, hyperthermic, navigational error, distraction, obstacle visibility, and roadbook accuracy, according to ADV Pulse.
The new safety measures will include things that address all of these points. As for the course, all future events will be designed with a former motorcycle rider’s guidance. In terms of the road book, a course inspector team will be appointed to develop a book for all rounds and ensure all teams have the same info. Different terrain will be included to bring speeds down. Air intake restrictors will be installed to keep the power down. Airbag gear adoption will become a priority and likely mandatory. An updated navigation system is being developed.
FIM President Jorge Viegas said the following about these measures: “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.”
It will be interesting to see how these new safety measures work out. I think they could be good for the riders, but too many restrictions could be bad for the competition.
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