A Taste of Dakar

Epic Nomad brings you A Taste of Dakar

…. Jimmy Lewis trains people for the REAL Dakar experience.

 I'm thrilled to bring you the third installment of this documentary series,  The Ride of My Life -Taste of DAKAR.  This episode showcases Jimmy Lewis’ Off-road Riding School as we feature some of the biggest names in ADV motorcycle riding: Chris Story, Kurt Forget, Jeremy LeBreton, Fonzie, Kurt Caselli, Chris Blais and of course, Jimmy Lewis.

We made the "Best of the Web" with this video!  Taste of Dakar caught the attention of Nick Calderone, one of the video hosts on the national show Right This Minute TV.

This epic Death Valley adventure video showcases some of the biggest names in ADV motorcycle riding, including: Jimmy Lewis, Chris Story, Kurt Forget, Jeremy Lebreton, Kurt Caselli, Chris Blais, and moto journalist “Fonzie.”

This video will show you first-hand that weekend rides in the adventure motorcycle world aren’t exactly a walk in the park. Join me and my award-winning team of videographers as we document the heart and soul behind the sport of adventure motorcycle riding.

For some reason we are fascinated by the thought of the biggest and most dangerous situations, adventures and obstacles on this planet. For most, this means to test the measure of the extreme in already extraordinary circumstances.  The Dakar Rally is without a doubt the most dangerous race in the world and since its existence over 30 years ago, 27 people have found their fate at the Dakar.

Events since the early 2000’s have caused the route and location of the Dakar Rally to change.  In 2008 the Dakar Rally was cancelled due to the threat of Al Qaede.  These days the rally takes place in South America, but that doesn’t mean it’s still not dangerous and life threatening.

I have led adventures all around the world, from Big Sur and Yosemite all the way to the Himalayan mountains and the Amazon jungle. It was definitely time for my next adventure and I needed to take my riding skills to the next level.

I took an off-road motorcycle skills class to improve my skills and it was time for my next adventure: Expedition CV. This is when I met Jeremy Lebreton.  He introduced me to the  “Taste of Dakar 2014” and I knew I wanted to take part and film this adventure.

The first training session was held on Day 1.  Riders from beginner to professional were there; the range of expertise was amazing.  This training session was all about balance. If you can't balance on the bike, you don’t have control of the bike. Once we covered the fundamentals of balance, Jimmy Lewis led us to a big dry lakebed in Nevada to practice.

It was a fantastic learning experience and just when we were all getting into it, Mother Nature took over.
Imagine riding your motorcycle on the icing of a birthday cake.  Now that the lake bed is out of the picture, our next lesson was that we must improvise, adapt and overcome whatever faces us on an adventure.

On Day 3 Jeremy LeBreton, President of Altrider and creator of this event, explained to us that there are three courses for “Taste of Dakar 2014”: Beginner, Intermediate and Expert.

The crew and I had decided to take the beginner route so we could make the most out of the filming opportunity.  However, LeBreton overruled this decision and insisted I bring the camera crew and take the EXPERT route. My off-roading motorcycle resume clearly shows that I wasn’t fit for the expert route, but off we went!

Of course, things didn’t go as planned. My camera guy, Fonzie, ended up going over his motorcycle bars and no lie, went 30 feet in the air. This was the worst off-road motorcycle crash I have ever seen.  The bike was totally demolished.

Somewhere on one of the other routes, the other crew of riders came across a life-sized dummy hanging from a noose in someone’s front yard. This kinda freaked out some of the riders, and they went on to the next location. Along the way, yet another bizarre thing happened.  They ran across an automobile on fire. There had been an accident and an elderly couple was standing a good distance away from the automobile.  As we approached they warned us not to go too close, 'cause the car was packed FULL of ammunition!

After all this excitement, that crew headed to the next location while LeBreton, Barker and their crew finally set out towards the finish line.  Soon another rider crashed into a boulder and badly injured his back. Of to the hospital they went.

Of course, we were late rolling up to the Dakar Rally banquet, and the question on everyone's mind was: “Where have you been?”.

We had arrived in time to hear the keynote speaker, Chris Blais, who is a Baja and Dakar veteran paralyzed from the waist down due to an off-road motorcycle race injury.
Chris was a huge motivation and a great speaker at the Dakar Rally banquet. The things I learned over the three day event have been life changing. You have to learn from the mistakes from others and learn how to roll with the punches.

Needless to say, we learned a very important lesson from “Taste of Dakar 2014”: Safety. Safety is the most important thing when it comes to off-road motorcycle adventuring.