DAKAR 2004

I am looking for some CONSTRUCTIVE input on running a WR450 in this event.Thank you.

You should hook up with SunnyMex TT member he is in the same boat trying to figure out how to make the WR450F Dakar worthy. Besides the obvious changes that you are surely going to consider I would look at adding an auxiliary 1.5 litre oil sump tank with an oil cooler. The stock oil capacity is too small and if you lose oil or hole a case and repair you should be able to transer the aux oil to the engine and re-route and bypass the aux sump tank and keep racing. The WR can't handle a 17 tooth sprocket so 16/42 gearing (120mph approx) may not be enough to cut it without gearbox gearing changes. That about all I can suggest. Good luck! Hope to see a Yamaha win it one of these times. :)

Sunny and I are riding together.


You really think that it will pull that kind of gearing with good power? And also reach 120 mph. That would surely be fun. Now with that kind of speed we would be in good shape for Dakar. Now just need to figure out how to strap 10 gallons of fuel on the blue rocket. :)

I think only someone that's ridden it or worked on a crew could really tell you... however it's not so much prepping the bike as everything else.

Most needed item for Dakar:


To be more specific (if you want to finish and not just participate):

Tires, tubes, misc spare parts, spare ignition, wheels, wires, gears, pistons, rings, sprockets, brakes (pads n disks), fluids, navigation aids (GPS and then some... you should see the factory KTM setup... yikes!), larger gas tank, larger radiators, replacement suspension...

Your best bet would be to have at least an aditional bike's worth of parts and add extended desert race mods. Wheels, tires and stuff like that you would need more of.

You also need:

Support crew, support vehicles, tools, communications equipment, visas, shots(?), entry fees, sponsors, places to sleep, transport of people and vehicles from Europe to Africa (probably arranged by promoters)... and on and on!

The logistics for this race are a nightmare even for people that have experience.

Oh, and *you* need to be able to carry enough for quick repairs and a day's food/water while riding at over 100MPH all day.

And I'm sure that's not even half of what's involved.

You can find some info on the official dakar page:





First of all you'll need a lot of money -> you can probably buy 4 new wr450's with the money you are going to spend for the entry fees, insurance, GPS renthal, ...

Try to apply as soon as possible since you get some discount if you are early.

The stock WR450 should do just fine (don't expect to win - you will probably be glad if you just finish the event), you only need bigger tanks + water tanks + mounts for the roadbook&GPS

The best advice I can give you is to ask someone that has already partecipated to the event. There are a lot of guys who have their own web pages (one from my country -> www.stanovnik.com)

Try contacting the guys at rally connex . Ask for Mike or Warren.

They have a lot of experience with the event and can help you plan effectively.

Good luck!

Oh yeah... a few more things.

Physical training. You'll be riding non stop (for the most part) for days. You'll be dodging rocks, dips, and riding through sand as fast as the bike can go. You need to be in the best possible shape.

You'll want better lighting. At the very least a rewound stator and better headlights. Odds are you'll get to checkpoints late and need em.

Spend some time riding in sand. There is a lot of sand in a couple of these countries and you'll have to be able to do it in an exhausted state.

You might make up a plan on how your remains will be returned in the event of your death. People die in this race *every* year. The last thing I'd want to do is make my family have to figure out the details. Race sponsors may have this covered but if not you'll have to do it. Sounds morbid but things happen pretty fast when you're tired and running at over 100 mph in terrain you don't know.

Frankly, I'd run some of the more exhausting domestic races like the Baja 1000 first. It's cheaper, you'll learn a few things and if you can't handle that there's no way you'll finish Dakar. I think if I were going to spend that kind of money I'd want to finish.

I read a book called "Beyond Gravity" (can't remember the authors name) but that race has got to be one of the biggest endeavors that a moto-head can take on. He talked about the massive vehicle prep that is required. I think that he was in a Mercedes Gwendalwagon. (Don't know how to spell it, but if you are familiar, you know what I am talking about. If you are not, it is a big SUV that looks much like a Range Rover, but it is capable of really being built up).

He also talked about the physical stamina that is required, and he was in a rig, so I guess his preparation would have to be multiplied by 100 or so.

He also stated that his co-pilot (navigator) was his model girlfriend, and by the end of the race they parted ways. Tough race on cars, people, but even tougher on relationships, I guess.

I would love to see that event. Good luck, and please keep us informed if you choose to participate.

This guys make lighting systems, gps mounts, roadbook readers for dakar and even have mounting solution ready for wr400.


I looked into a company out of England that helps people get setup to go to Dakar. They will even rent you a motorcycle, prep it, transport it, carry spares, have mechanics available, etc, etc. The cost for this method was about $25,000 I think. All you had to do was show up, and pay for meals I think. They used XR650's this year.

Talk to Jimmy Lewis over at Cycle World. He used to post here on TT. He's got some real experience at this, and I'd bet he would be willing to give you a few pointers.

I agree with JD. You won't win on a 450, but can finish with proper preparation and a good crew. You just give up too much to the big KTM, BMW, and even Campbell's big XR. Not to mention that the guys who ride them are all lightning fast in long events.

This is no cakewalk event, it takes huge brass just to take on the project in a serious effort. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress and preparation.


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