Dakar Is Coming

The world’s gnarliest off-road kicks off next month. Here’s your preview.

Red Bull

Prologue? More like a warning shot. The first official trailer for the Dakar Rally Raid has arrived, and it’s packed with the sweeping panorama shots and slow-mo roostertails you want. But there’s a fantastic sequencing in the edits, these long cuts to the riders and drivers who’ll taking on Dakar in three weeks time. They’re putting on war paint.

Yeah, that’s about right.

For the uninitiated: Dakar is the world’s gnarliest off-road competition. It used to run from Paris to Senegal during the Eighties, but now takes place in South America. The course is broken up into stages, almost like boxing rounds, except each is about 500 miles and the race spans two weeks. Cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs are all welcome. Sometimes people die.

This year’s Dakar Rally Raid starts on Jan. 3 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The route traipses north into the Atacama Desert, across Bolivia, then into the mountains. It concludes Jan. 13 in the town of Rosario, where Ché Guevara was born. If you like motorcycling, travel, engine fires, airborne vehicles, adventure, heroism, diesel fuel, off-roading, adversity, torque, sand dunes, crashes and/or the most beautiful scenery south of the equator, this event should do it for you. If none of the above moves your pulse, have the doctor wake you up from that coma. Dakar is nigh.