January 4, Dakar Stage 3
‘They had to give me oxygen’
I am awoken by the sound of a baffle-free Husqvarna engine, no more than 30 microns from my inner ear. It is 4am and for the riders a new day is dawning. Lyndon is optimistic. “I’m excited now, although last night was rough. It took me ages to get to sleep. My hands and feet were tingling from altitude medication. Also my bike fell on my tent in the night and burst my water bladder.”
The riders are nervous. Stage 3 is widely believed to be one of the hardest stages, chiefly due to the altitude. The Special Stage takes the riders over a 5000-metre high pass, which should be so cold and difficult that it is mandatory for riders to take cold weather gear with them. Barreda rolls in at 3.30pm and then a few more riders arrive in dribs and drabs.
Lyndon appears around 5.30pm with a face like a chimney sweep. 9pm rolls around and David arrives with a remarkable amount of vigour for a man who’s just spent 16 hours in the saddle.
We see Kurt arrive. David breathes a sigh of relief. “God, the altitude really got to me,” says Kurt. “My head was all over the place. I fell off a couple of times. I didn’t realise how bad I was, but when we got to the finish I went to get off the bike and nearly fell over. They sat me down and gave me oxygen. I wanted to go straight away but they wouldn’t let me. It was like someone was squeezing my head.”
Lyndon Poskitt finishes bleeding his rear brake during the Dakar Rally
Max Hunt with roadbook homework
Poskitt hides wine in a Malle Moto box