Monday, 19 January 2015

Looking To Dakar 2016

This will be my last entry on this website. The journey to the 2015 Dakar was a story in itself and a journey I will never forget. The Dakar was unlike anything I've ever encountered.

Of course I am bitterly disappointed to of gone out of the competition so early but I can take some solace knowing that my riding and fitness levels were up to scratch, I was gaining between 10-17 places daily, got back to the bivouac at a decent hour every day, met new friends, thoroughly enjoyed myself, had good press coverage, gained some 50 places after day 1, and raised a little for charity.

Here in though lies the problem - I would like to return and finish what I started.

A new site for Dakar 2016 is up and running, and this year I am going to need a little financial help to get me back South America. We hope to raise the rest of the money needed by continuing with our guided trail rides in the South West of England, and finding more sponsors.

Corky Dakar 2016
If you would like to be a sponsor please contact me at: chris@gotrailriding.co.uk

Thank you for everyones support so far.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Thank You

The 2015 Dakar Rally is over and I would like to thank all those who supported me.

Gaz at Adventure Bike Warehouse for the Klim helmet - Amazing lid that kept me cool and was light and comfortable.

Torque Racing, John at Rally-Raid Products, and Memo Tours for the service at Dakar - Martin and John did a top of job of looking after the bike and Bennie and his truck was well organised and offered 1st class service.

All my Dakar team mates. Fantastic bunch of guys.

Donna and Martin at Torque Racing for the support, help with the bike build, rally knowledge, and sourcing parts.

Bennie at Memo Tours for the creation of the rear fuel tank system for my rally bike. The tank worked flawlessly.

Rally-Raid Products for the navigation gear and custom plates.

John for lending me money after I had lost my wallet in Argentina

Midwest Racing all their hard work setting up the suspension, their racing knowledge, and helping me out with the bike and spares package.

James West and all at Moto1 for the dune training in Dubai - James and Sam's tuition was fantastic and turned me from a very nervous sand rider into a competent one. I used to fear the dunes but thanks to their help I really was very comfortable in the sand at Dakar.

MD Restorations for the bash plate and the generous donation to Jacobs cause.

First Response for the much needed sponsorship money at the end of the year and their support.

Gündüz for the rally fairing and helping out with the nav tower.

Huge thanks to my good friend Andy Gayle for stripping his own race bike for me so I could have a spare engine. Amazing generosity.

Phil for the loan of the GPS mount and cap repeater.

Michael Guy and all at MCN for the Dakar coverage.

Melanie Jones for the write up in the Mail On Sunday.

John, Phil and Rich for taking me to the hospital when I broke my wrist last year, their support, and updating my Twitter feed while I was away.

The Children's Hospice South West for their amazing support.

Okehampton Cycles in Devon for helping me with my training.

Bugs and Tracy for joining me on my 1,000 mile cycle ride last year as part of my training.

Everyone at the ATRC for believing in me and getting me into the sport.

My family for putting up with this - The journey to Dakar puts incredible strain on family life - I love you all.

Mel's Mum and Dad for collecting me from the airport for 3 years and feeding me.

All my friends both at home and in the rally world.

And finally to all those who wrote, tweeted, supported, followed, bought t-shirts, and believed in me. Thank you so much

The Dakar is unfinished business and I will be trying to find the funds to return in 2016. Visit: www.gotrailriding.co.uk for more information.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Dakar Rally Continued

Day 5 continued 

Selçuk arrived back 1st but was out. The crash and night spent in the dunes had taken its toll on him. He was done. Herculean effort though. Koray got back after dark and Clayton is spending the night at CP3. His 3rd night sleeping away from the bivouac.

Day 6

Rest day and my last day at the Dakar. Clayton arrived around 2.00pm and said he had a great sleep away from the generators and noise of the  bivouac. Out of the 9 team riders that started, just 5 remain.

Day 7

I flew home as we only had 1 space available on the service vehicles and I was finding it hard to get sleep due to the bruising on my body. It was a long journey back to the UK and I felt extremely low. Found it hard not to get emotional - it was over and I have no idea how I can come back and finish what I started. The Dakar has a hold of me.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Dakar Rally

Dakar Rally

Day 1

1st special of the rally started on a man made course with many spectators. Starting in pairs I was surprised to be able to keep my position and all the fear and apprehension built up during the previous 3 or 4 days soon disappeared as I settled into a good rhythm on the fast fire track roads. All going well until in the later stages of the special I couldn't turn the handlebars to the right. Pulled off the course to find the Iritrak had broken free from its bracket and lodged itself between the forks and the fairing mount. Whilst fixing the problem with zip ties and gentle persuasion the other riders nipped past and I was left near the back of the field battling with the dust from the later riders. I decided against risky overtaking manoeuvres and so the next day I would be starting some 40 places down. Not a good place to be.

Day 2

In the morning battled with the quads on the tight turning course. Very dusty and nearly impossible to overtake. A bike bravely overtook me but later ended up missing the corner in the dust and disappeared off the course. The quads stopped to help and that allowed me to push on with a clear track. Lots of supporters on the course cheering the riders on and then we entered soft, sandy, rutted pistes. Suddenly I heard the sentinel for the 1st time. It was Carl, he'd had an off and couldn't start the bike. I offered a jump start but it was of no help. Remembering everyone's advise to push on if there is no serious injury, I was relieved to see a group of supporters round the corner. They enthusiastically went to see Carl and I didn't feel so bad about leaving him. At the fuel stop I was very happy to find out that I had caught up with many bikes and even happier to see Carl arrive 5 minutes later. When I asked how he got the bike going, he told me that he had forgotten to flip the kill switch. The bike was on the rev limiter for the next 20k. I could see clouds of dust and I was catching up with the next rider. Once a safe overtaking manoeuvre was made Carl whipped past me on the LC4-50. My bike could not match the pace and Carl disappeared into the distance. My nav tower at this point was starting to work itself loose. I stopped to make sure it would survive the rest of the day. It got worse but never gave me any real hassle. Back into the fesh fesh tracks I heard the sentinel for the second time, it was a car. The 3rd or 4th time I heard the siren it was because a rider had been hit by a car. Carl was there on the scene and there was nothing I could do so carried on for the day. Lots of cars came past, and there were a lot of riders crashing and generally looking tired. It was over 40 degrees and I was feeling good and riding relaxed. At CP3 more sentinel activity. The stage had been cancelled due to too many riders getting dehydrated. It was too hot. A long liaison home in the heat was horrible. We stopped many times for water. On arrival at the bivouac I was swarmed with spectators. It was hard to move without fear of hurting someone. The support in South America is overwhelming. Later that I night I learnt that The 1st of our team was out of the rally Ralph had broken his finger and was dehydrated from crashing in the fesh fesh.

Day 3

Day started with a long liaison section and I unfortunately passed a rider lying motionless by the side of the road. A car was further down the road and the rider was surrounded by police. Nothing I could do so continued to the start of the special. It contained 100k of dry river bed, fast tracks of zero visibility with hidden rocks, a complicated navigation/riding section riding in and out of gullies/river beds, and then 20k of soft sand/fesh fesh. The Husky's bash plate/water tanks broke off causing the bike to trip up over itself in the river bed, and Clayton had a nasty crash in the fast section. Met Carl and Mikael later on. Carl's bike kept blowing the fuel pump fuse. Mikael towed him for as long as possible without being timed out himself. Carl unfortunately could not find the fault, even though he changed the fuel pump, and was eventually timed out. 2 riders out in 2 days was upsetting. I got in on good time and felt very good. Later we were told the sad news that a fellow rider had died in an accident earlier on in the special. The mood around the camp was pretty emotional. It had been a distressing day.

Day 4

Up at 3.00am, said goodbye to Carl and Ralph in the morning, tried to forget about the incidents of yesterday, and settled down to a long 600k liaison over the mountains. Many had some effects from the altitude but luckily not me. The bike however was down on power due to the lack of oxygen and it was tough passing the service vehicles in the dusty, cold conditions. Fair to say we were a little tired before the start of the special, and what a special it was. The heat was back and the special started with twisty, rocky, tight tracks, and moved into the faster stuff broken up by slippery hill climbs and river bed crossings. Then there was miles of fast, rocky tracks that had me crash a few times. The usual zero visibility and random big stones/rocks hit the bike hard. Had to go fast as the cars were on their way. The anticipation of the sound of the sentinel was unbearable. The cars came past soon enough, but they all graciously passed giving loads of warning and space and by the end of the section I was no longer bothered by their presence. By the time the dunes arrived the bikes nav tower was all bent up, fairing cracked and it had to be taped down to avoid it hitting the handlebars. Loved the dunes. Total chaos with trucks, cars and bikes struggling to get over the 1st set. Much slingshotting was needed to find the speed to get out and over the bigger dunes. 3rd gear, 2nd, and finally 1st on the climbs as the bike struggled to find the power needed to reach the dunes summits. Steep drops the other side, quick on the power, and quick route planning was needed to make the next. Stopping or being stuck was not an option. It was too hot and there was too much traffic. I was in riding heaven, staying smooth, and thoroughly enjoying myself. The sand was soft and rutted and was great fun (thank you James West for you're teachings). 60k of dunes/sand done and I was confronted with a large bowl of sand and quickly noticed others getting stuck. I decided to ride around the bowl and into a hard packed rocky section and fire myself back into the climb on the other side. All went well but as I dropped out of the rocks I was stopped dead by something hidden beneath the sand. It was all rather quick, but I knew instantly that I had broken something. As I fell to the ground in disbelief that my Dakar was over I was surrounded by spectators and Mikael Berglund (who I was riding with most of the day). A splint was made and ice wrapped round my arm/hand. It was hard to make the call to the emergency services as I was surrounded by the noise of the cars, trucks, and bikes going in all directions trying to make it out of the bowl. The helicopter came and my race was done. Back at the bivouac An X-ray confirmed the broken arm (radius). Mikael came in at a good time but we were missing 2 team riders and our good friend Clayton at Nomad Racing. We watched the lights coming out of the dunes late into the night but they did not arrive. The 3 riders had spent the night in the dunes. Also heard Sunderland was out.

Day 5

Back and ribs hurting. Very rough night. The 3 lost riders arrived back in the morning. The 2 Turkish riders looked terrible and their bikes even worse. Selçuk's helmet was all smashed up. They had all had a rough time. We pinched bits of my bike to fix theirs, found a new helmet, fed/watered them and off they went. I have no idea if they will make it today. If they do it will be a late one battling with the cars and trucks. 

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Dakar Rally is nearly here

Only days to go now before I start my journey to South America and I was very happy to receive my race jacket and a have a new sponsor this week.

My Jacket arrived just a few days ago and I'm very proud to be displaying my support for Children's Hospice South West. Please help make the most of short and precious lives by giving a donation via my Virgin Giving page here.


Many thanks to first-response.co.uk for becoming my latest sponsor in my Dakar challenge. I have spoken with John (a rider himself) at First Response many times and I'm really excited to have them supporting me.


Many thanks to everyones support so far whether in sponsorship, supporting the charity, words of wisdom, or well wishes. Please, please continue to do so as more than ever I will need you're words of encouragement during the rally. I'm a very average rider, certainly not naturally athletic, & not on a purpose built factory machine. I am stubborn though, I will give it my all, and you're messges could just give me that extra push needed to complete this mammoth challenge. You can send messages and follow my progress during the race at twitter.com/carryoncorky. There will be a daily photo update from the official Dakar photographer, and I will try and update when possible. You can also follow the Torque Racing Team and the LC4-50 project via Jenny Morgan on ADV Rider.

Would also like to mention that we have many riders with the Desert Rose Racing team in the Africa Eco Race starting on the 30th of December. I wish them all a safe and enjoyable rally. Both rallies will be shown on Eurosport.

Thanks again everyone, Corky

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Bike finished and on its way to Le Havre

After many long days/nights and a lot of help from others the bike is done and ready for its journey to South America today. Big thanks to Mark at MD Restorations for the brilliant custom bash plate, John at Rally Raid Products for the custom navigation plates, Midwest Racing for the suspension & support, and Torque Racing for fitting the tanks, nav tower, & generally doing what they do.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Merzouga Rally

Merzouga Rally - Another great rally but my run of bad fortune continues.

Arrived the day before and got in some dune training and all felt good. A cautious start due to the recent damaged wrist but was up to full speed in no time.




The next morning was the technical checks and a quick navigation training exercise. There was a lot to take in with the new GPS system but that was the reason for being here. All waypoints hit and I was looking forward to the race.

Took the prologue steady as Edo warned me of broken dunes, and then went riding with fellow Dakar competitor Koray. We took time to watch the shoot-out from the top of a dune for the top ten riders.




Day 1 - All going well in the special until 20k from the end 'the bike ran out of fuel'. There was fuel in the rear tank but it didn't want to take part in the rally! I watched as all the riders I'd passed during the day rode past me to the final check point. A Marshall turned up and we got the bike going again, but I was pretty disheartened. Finished the day early so went for a play in the dunes and did some filming with Keith on his 450RR.

Day 2 - Went well again with some great dune riding but once again the same fuel problem caused me to push the bike uphill to CP2. The navigation was spot on and you really had to have you're wits about you to hit all the way points.


Day 3 - The throttle action was relaxed to gain the distance needed to finish the day with no issues. Any 
chance of a top finish was long gone so decided to put my efforts into getting the navigation dialled in for Dakar. A comfortable 12th place was achieved with no dramas.



Day 4 - I had been up all night with diarrhoea. Thought nothing of it (been here before) and was the 1st of the team to CP2. Nausea and tiredness finally took its toll on my day and the journey to CP3 was painfully slow. Being unwell caused a crash, dehydration, and during the last 8k dune section I had to constantly take rests watching everyone ride past and into the distance. Again pretty gutted, but hit all way points.

This was the end of my race as I then spent the rest of my time in Morocco suffering from fever like symptoms. Big thanks to Martin at Torque Racing for getting me doctors, prescriptions, water, and finally getting me home.


The Merzouga Rally gave me a good taste of the navigation systems used in Dakar and I'm confident with my riding abilities. The heat still causes me concern so I've got an appointment with a sports nutritionalist in the UK to see if a change in diet may help. The Merzouga Rally is a great event with tricky navigation and beautiful desert riding. I hope I can return for another go in the future.