JUST DESERTS

The leg­endary Paris-dakar rally in­spired a gen­er­a­tion of stun­ning pro­duc­tion repli­cas. This is one man’s ob­ses­sion laid bare

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Comment - By Jon Urry MCN CON­TRIB­U­TOR

When most of us hear the term ‘race replica’ our thoughts nat­u­rally turn to sports­bikes. How­ever there is a whole sub­cul­ture of com­pe­ti­tion-in­spired ma­chines that owe their ex­is­tence to a to­tally dif­fer­ent kind of rac­ing ac­tiv­ity – the leg­endary Paris-dakar rally.

The pop­u­lar­ity of this gru­elling of­froad event – es­pe­cially in Europe – means man­u­fac­tur­ers have been build­ing race reps of their Dakar-win­ning bikes ever since the in­au­gu­ral rally in 1979. The fact that so many of the win­ners were closely re­lated to pro­duc­tion bikes cer­tainly helped in­spire this de­ci­sion, but through­out the 1980s and 1990s, win­ning the Dakar car­ried huge pres­tige and helped to ce­ment the off-road rep­u­ta­tion and world-beat­ing cred­i­bil­ity of bikes such as the Yamaha XT500 and BMW R80G/S. These bikes

seeded the UK’S mod­ern ob­ses­sion with ad­ven­ture ma­chines.

How­ever, af­ter the event or­gan­is­ers changed the rules and lim­ited the bikes to 450cc, the Dakar replica started to fade out of ex­is­tence. But a few en­thu­si­asts still re­mem­ber these bikes with real love. And one such fan is Harry Met­calfe – who in­vited MCN into his garage to see his col­lec­tion of Dakar repli­cas and re­live the glory days of the repli­cas in­spired by tough­est race in the world. These are his bikes, in his own words.

WHO IS HARRY?

Grow­ing up on a farm, Harry has been rid­ing of­froad since the age of 11 and to date his fur­thest road trip is only “about 100 miles”! In 1998 he founded EVO mag­a­zine, and cur­rently hosts the Youtube chan­nel ‘Harry’s Garage’.

Bug-eyed Africa Twin is one of the most recog­nis­able faces in Dakar Rally his­tory Al­though a race replica, Harry’s RD03 has ac­tu­ally been to the Dakar as a demo bike

Foam clock sur­round is pure race bike class Out­stand­ing in their field. Harry Met­calfe’s Dakar col­lec­tion are all win­ners No so much a bash­plate more suit of ar­mour Save for a head­lamp guard, Dakar rac­ers of this era had very few mod­i­fi­ca­tions Yamaha XTS

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