While most of the country is recovering from the recent holiday, flocking to the malls for returns and sales or simply enjoying the last days of the year with family and loved ones, Robb & Tara Rill and the entire Darkcyd Rally Racing team are busy making final preparations for their flights to Buenos Aires, Argentina. The South American excursion will be the third for the Darkcyd team, but only the first to compete in the legendary Dakar off-road rally race.
While the preparations have been underway for more than six months, and the last three months with busy weekly meetings and conference calls, the race is down to the wire. Tension, apprehension and excitement all can describe the mood hovering over the team. But anxiety is where everyone sits here the day after Christmas 2012.
Where’s The Desert Warrior?
At the end of last month the Desert Warrior, Darkcyd’s entry into The Dakar 2012 edition was delivered to its shipping agent/firm: Bulent in Florida. The cars should’ve arrived in Buenos Aires via ship earlier this month. However, something went wrong on the shipping docks. The Desert Warrior wasn’t loaded on the ship on time. It had to be loaded on a later ship. Anxiety has been high because the shipping company informed the team the ship “should” arrive on the 24th of December.
I don’t know if our ship has arrived… or if our car and assistance vehicle will make it Argentina on time – Allan Karl
This new discovery didn’t bode well for the team. Getting any vehicle in and out of customs in a foreign country is a test of patience, time, logistics and sanity. Top that off with Argentina’s full holiday schedule making the port shut down for the most of the last days of the month. Plus, the Desert Warrior must be in Mar del Plata, several hours southwest of Buenos Aires, by the 29th in order to go through scrutineering and inspection to be qualified to race. If we don’t make our allotted time, we could be turned away at the starting line. And all this preparation and emotion for naught—not to mention the incredible cost and investment the team has expended in getting ready for the race.
As I sit and pen this update, I don’t know if our ship has arrived… or if our car and assistance vehicle will make it Argentina on time. The shipping office is closed. Customs isn’t answering the phone. And locals driving by the port at our request can’t make sense the ships: they all look the same and are very difficult to make out the registration numbers and names. The only way we’ll know, is when we arrive.
Tomorrow is flight day for the six person Darkcyd Racing Team. Robb, Tara, Ben, Raff and Bill will leave from Miami on Tuesday the 27th of Decebmer and arrive in Buenos Aires on Wednesday morning at 7am. Allan will fly from San Diego to Dallas and then switch planes in Dallas and arrive just a couple hours after the rest of the team at 9:15am. We’ve been working closely with an incredible support team on the ground in Buenos Aires, including Darîo Saidman, a photographer Allan met while on his motorcycle in Argentina several years ago. Darîo is procuring supplies and arranging security for the vehicles, while another support person, Pablo Cariddi who has been arranging transportation, talking with the rental car companies and helping with telecommunications logistics.
There’s no question an effort for a private, non sponsored team to compete in Dakar is massive. The coordination and logistics painstakingly detailed. If every tiny issue isn’t handled, checked off the list or attended to, the entire race and success of the team is at stake.
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There will be a way to track the progress of the team and the Desert Warrior with live GPS updates. The Desert Warrior is fitted with a custom Iritrack GPS system that ties in with The Dakar race organizers. This is transmitted to the website so actual vehicle positions can be tracked in near realtime. We will post links to the tracking system once we can get it configured for our team and website.
Stay tuned. We’re hoping our ship has come in.
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