The Paris Dakar Rally is without question the most arduous and notorious off road motorsports event on the planet Since its inception in 1979, it has attractedthan 3,000 adventurers from all walks of life The men and women who have taken up the Dakar challenge have at least one thing in common a desire to measure themselves against the desolate sands of the Sahara The rally has drawn entries from the international community of motorsport luminaries, the lofty ranks of European nobility and celebrity, captains of industry, as well as common, everyday people Paris Dakar is considered to be one of the world s top five adventures, in the same league as climbing Mt Everest The human drama that unfolds each January is unparalleled Tales of danger, blinding sandstorms, endless vistas of towering dunes, incredible hardship, perseverance, tenacity, ingenuity, triumph, and tragedy have greatly contributed to the aura and mystique of the rally The Dakar is a metaphor for life a test of common sense, decision making ability, and the ability to accept complete responsibility for both your actions and inaction.In To Dakar and Back, Hacking in collaboration with motorsport journalist Wil De Clercq recounts the three weeks of blood, sweat, and tears that took him on a 10,000 kilometre journey in the heat of competition from the glitzy streets of Paris, through the hinterland of North Western Africa, to the triumph of self realization.

10 thoughts on “To Dakar and Back: 21 Days Across North Africa by Motorcycle

  1. Greg Greg says:

    Since reading Charley Boorman s account of his experiences albeit short lived in the Paris Dakar Rally, I have become intrigued and wanted to hear about it It s unlikely that I will ever be able to attempt it, but that s why I read adventure travel books to hear about places and trips that I will probably never be able to enjoy personally Lawrence Hacking s book, To Dakar and Back was just what I wanted In 2001, at the age of 46, Hacking entered and unlike the unfortunate Boorman completed the Paris Dakar Rally In fact, he was the first Canadian rider to ever complete the rally successfully His writing is vivid and descriptive, and reading his account, I often felt that I was right there with him On a trip overnight to the UK by plane, we hit some turbulence as he was describing traversing a patch of rock strewn desert, and I looked up startled, momentarily wondering how the book had so suddenly come to life During the three week rally, Hacking faced greedy villagers, incredibly dangerous terrain, thirst, hunger, and privations of all sorts He had to be on constant alert against blinding sandstorms, mechanical failure, crazed traffic, and other potentially life ending challenges However, he also encountered friendly and immensely supportive people, memorable landscapes and views of towering sand dunes, made lifelong friendships, and gained a lasting sense of satisfaction and achievement Along the way, the rally called forth from him his deepest reserves of endurance, perseverance, mechanical aptitude, skill, tenacity, creativity, and every quality that has long since become associated with the Paris Dakar Rally I highly recommend his book to anyone who, like me, is fascinated with adventure motorcycling.

  2. Pat Loughery Pat Loughery says:

    What a fascinating, insightful, inspiring story Lawrence Hacking rode a Honda XR650R in the 2001 Dakar Rally, which takes motorcycles, racing trucks, cars, buggies and every other extreme off road race vehicle on a tour from Paris to Dakar I knew something about the Dakar rally before reading this book, but I am a fan for life now Hacking and his writer tell a fantastic story, deeply engaging and emotionally charged If you only know the Dakar from Charlie Boorman of Long Way Round and Long Way Down fame alongside Ewan Macgregor , read this also Hacking is an experienced, pro level off road racer who faced serious challenges in his quest to become the first Canadian to finish the Dakar rally And he did it as a privateer, without big sponsorship.If you like adventure travel gearhead sport trans cultural stories, you ll love this one I ll definitely re read it many times.

  3. Jon Bettcher Jon Bettcher says:

    A fascinating, if perhaps overly detailed account of the first Canadian privateer to finish the Paris Dakar race This is a book written with a lot of heart you can feel Lawrence s emotion in every page There are setbacks, victories, boring stretches and to the author s credit, you feel like you re along for the ride My only criticisms are that the level of detail in the book seemed a bit excessive all of the race reports for the other participants, the searches for showers, etc The author s forte is not writing, but in a way this works for the story The language is short, specific and doesn t mince words, which is probably a bit of what it takes to get through the toughest off road race in the world If you re in to motorcycles, racing or the Paris Dakar specifically, I d recommend.

  4. Erik Hogan Erik Hogan says:

    I enjoyed this book quite a lot If nothing else, it gave me a new appreciation for the emotional stamina required to finish the Dakar It drags you though the day to day challenges and no so glamorous side of competing in this race It really is something special and anybody who has followed it will tell you it s also something beautiful I hope they never stop running it Like the IOM TT, the world needs irrational, life threatening sporting events like this to keep our collective psyche healthy Anybody who makes if far enough to even start this race is a hero in my book The guys who win are so far ahead of the guys who merely finish, they can only be gods.

  5. Kevin Pedersen Kevin Pedersen says:

    I ve been on a run of travelogues and it s refreshing that this book is a really specific kind of travelogue, but it just isn t that well written.It s interesting to cross reference this with Michael Palin s Sahara because this book makes it seem like the locals are enthralled by the Paris Dakar Rally while in Palin s book, in which he was actually staying with the locals, he talks about how they mostly don t give a shit Depends on the village, perhaps The book does feel sort of imperialist but what the hell do I know, I ve never even ridden a motorcycle.