The Dakar Rally is the world toughest race by a fair margin. Most events since the inception in 1978 were from Paris, France, to Dakar, Senegal, but due to security threats in Mauritania, which led to the cancellation of the 2008 rally, the 2009 Dakar Rally was run in South America (Argentina and Chile). It has been held in South America each year since 2009. The race is open to amateur and professional entries, amateurs typically making up about eighty percent of the participants. As the year draws closer to it send, The start of the 2015 Dakar Rally is just about a week away now, and already we have news of a retirement: favourite from the US of A, Francisco “Chaleco” López.
The Chilean rider has been one of the top contenders at The Dakar, but he has clarified his intentions to switch from two-wheels to four, after his name was found missing from the 2015 entry list. As such, Chaleco plans on returning to the Dakar rally-raid come 2016, though he will be with the Rally Mobile car team, which he will race with the rest of this season as well.
The move by Chaleco is not without precedent, as many top riders have gone on to continue their rally-raid careers behind a steering wheel. The last rider to do just that is the Frenchman Cyril Despres, who left KTM for a season with Yamaha, before hanging up his saddle and take a chair with Peugoet for this edition of The Dakar.