The 1000 km of Dakar. Part two.

Look outside: what do you see?
Around your kitchen: what do you see?
Look at your desk: what do you see now?
And when you look into your fridge?
And when you think about Christmas presents? Finished? Nicely wrapped with lovin labels?
The larder? Stacked with home made delicacies for the holiest of holy nights?
Anybody out there who sees: falling white Snow, sweet smelling full fridge, clutter free desk, nicely stacked larder, shiny, clean kitchen and beautifully wrapped christmas presents for those dear to the heart?
I´m sorry,
Anybody else: let‘s go back to warm sunny Africa. Escapism, please.
The hot, sunday part of the race.
The second half.
Oh dear. This threw Marc and Bertrand out of the race on Saturday. But they could still start again Sunday.
Open air bathrooms
Sunday morning half of the team Schtroumphette felt like I do right now: hangover.(grump), because we had celebrated Sarah‘s (Jeff‘s Girlfriend) Birthday and La Schtroumphette‘s temporary third place at night.
When we left the hotel in the morning after breakfast the thermometer was already showing 29 Degrees centigrade, promising a day even hotter than the previous.
Eat before you race. Otherwise the race eats you.
Enrique and I are discussing how to avoid running out of fuel, and how much difference in consumption my pace car laps yesterday made and how many laps we think we can do without dying of heat. Do I look worried? You bet! These matters decide a race more often than they should.
With our starting order being the same as the day before and the start of the of the race this day at eleven, my turn would be at around 1.30, in the full blaring heat of the day. I‘m not particularly heat proof, so I was worried. In fact Jeff, having taken the start again was significantly slower that the day before and not only because he was tired but the heat also made it much harder for the cars to go fast.
In fact quite a few cars didn‘t make it through to the end.
Suddenly: Bushfire!
This is to call in Enrique after 66 Laps. Long. Hot. Tiring. Not surprising he’s on the limit when he gets out of the car.
Drivers change, my turn.
An amazing car. She’s running and running.
Unlike this car, which is not running anymore.
This quick Lotus is perhaps the coolest car, as long as it runs…
They are back in the race, Bertrand and Marc
and catching up, lap by lap, moving closer and closer to …us. Our third place, and I have no idea of the danger!
When I get into the car and start to drive, she feels incredibly fresh. No sign of wear, no fading of breaks, she´s in the flow, this african queen we immediately flow together. I fact I manage to repeat our fastest lap from the day before twice! Then the pace car comes out again and it’s a good opportunity to drink which is difficult with my closed helmet, I usually loose time fiddling with the tubes on normal laps. Here I gulp down 2 litres in minutes! When the pace car leaves it takes only two laps to find concentration again, but the heat is soon really getting to me, I feel the blood thickening.Talking to myself,wondering how it is possible to endure such tremendous heat.Perhaps that’s a sign of cracking, maybe it´s a sign of feminine stress management, yet when the concentration is noticebly fading the flag comes on and the race is OVER.
I’m super super happy not only for having been very regular and as quick as the day before but also about having been level headed about my heat racing capability. (Poor Enrique had to do three more laps, so I could three less..).
When I come into the box my adorable team mates inform me that Marc and Bertrand in their quick catch up chase have taken the third place from US. The impertinence!
Grrrrr… and some expressions impossible to put down here. Enrique and I go back to the workshops to change, when suddenly Bertrand comes running: We´re called up onto the Podium!
Jeff on his own on the podium… yet.

With the oldest car in the race too! We are heroes. We are victorious racers! We have fought, we have suffered, we have endured. Third Place. World hear!
Thank you Jeff, for letting me participate in this race yet again, with YOUR beautiful Stroumphette, it not only soo much fun to be in a team with you and Enrique, it has also given me the moment up there. It makes a difference! It really does! Really really really.
Here is a bit of Sarah, who took all these beautiful photographs during the race:
this one two. Merci beaucoup, Sarah!
Hey, did YOU think we could do it?
What a wonderful ending of 2011. This race has proven I can do it, even my foul “Schweinehund” has to give in. (Here in Germany you will encounter the weirdest of superstition: people believe they have a “pigdog” sitting on their shoulder, preventing them from doing basically anything which does them good. Just weird.) A great note to finish 2011 and a very promising one for the next season!
Writing this, remembering these moments has given me strength to face kitchen,wrapping, tidying, pre-x-mas duties.
Thank you.


  1. Arneyb says:

    Congrats Gaby. I hope you judge it as a complement when I say: You got bigger balls than most of the guys out there!

    At the moment I am already planning my race season 2012. Scuderia, Supertwins, Bördesprint, Schleizzzz (!), …
    … is it alredy spring yet ?

  2. jj says:

    Ausspreche Lob und Anerkennung – sowie blanken Neid.


  3. @Arneyb: no spring’s a long time away…lots of time for planning next season. I take it as a huge compliment!!Thank you!

    @JJ:Perhaps we have to integrate you into our planning too?

  4. Deddi says:

    Wer so was tolles erlebt und schafft, und bei Dir gibt’s ja jede Jahr einige dieser Highlights, “kloppt” sich natürlich nicht mit langweiligen Barchettas auf österreichischen Passstraßen darum herum, wer als erter im Kaffeehaus in Meran sitzt.

    Klasse Gabi.

  5. Also, Deddi, abgesehen gavon dass ich mich auf Landstrassen nicht kloppe (dazu gibts die Rennstrecken, hat ja auch eine Barchetta einen Grenzbereich und die Kurven nach Meran Scheitelpunkte.Du wärst wahrscheinlich überrascht wie ich auch mit meinem Alltagsauto, einem Fiat 500 Normalo immer auch der Suche nach der Ideallinie bin und Zuhause Handbremsparke..

  6. Anonymous says:

    hell yeah mutter. it seems as if she had even more balls than a bingo caller. awesome coolness. thanks, ben.

  7. Great story! Love to read it, what a wonderful life you have!

    ps: the pictures in your blog aren’t working very well, they are reduced in a wrong ratio.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Properly done!

    Regards Garfield

  9. Yoh, Ben: not sure what a bingo caller is, actually…

    Dear Karsten:above all I have wonderful friends..
    Thank you for letting me know about the pictures!

    @Garfield: thanx

  10. Anonymous says:

    coz u 2 fresh dear.
    ask mom.

  11. Well done on third and on a well good blog.

    Re the snow…there won’t be any in Africa this Christmastime. Apparently!

  12. jj says:

    “@JJ:Perhaps we have to integrate you into our planning too?”

    Gaby, laß mal lieber stecken, ich krieg sowas vielleicht auf der Carrerabahn hin aber bestimmt nicht auf der echten Strecke. Man sollte seine Grenzen kennen. Trotzdem bin ich neiderfüllt :)

    Aber was mir besonders gefällt ist die Ausrüstung der Boxencrew: Sicherheitsadiletten, feuerfeste Shorts und Hi-Tech Reinigungsequipment für die Scheibe. Das kriegt nicht mal die F1 hin. Sprengt das auf Dauer nicht das Budget?

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