Last night, or should I say early this morning, I watched the first 2012 Dakar TV show on the NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus TV). From a racing perspective it was an improvement over the 2011 TV show. In my post about the 2011 Dakar TV show last year, I complained about including a travelogue portion in the show. The show was cramped enough trying to present the results for a full day in all of the classes, that there was not enough time to include a travel portion. This year the travelogue portion is gone and as you might expect from me, I see this as a major improvement in the 2012 Dakar TV show.
Along the same line, the Dakar TV host this year is Jon Beekus, a former racer who usually broadcasts from road racing events, is heard, but not seen. Again, I prefer this as the show gets right to the actual footage from the event rather than including a host/hostess on camera telling us what we are going to see. I think that it all works about as well as you could expect from a show trying to get a full day’s racing/rally summary boiled down to a half-hour show. It seems that the broadcast is a generic English-language video feed and I recognize the voice of Toby Moody (who I always associate as the “Voice of Dakar”) doing some voice-over interpretation from the non-English speaking competitors while the NBC Sports Network announcer, Jon Beekus, ably handles the rest of the commentary.
I won’t go into the results from the first day of the 2012 Dakar in any detail as the single competitive stage was quite short and the remainder of the rally is so long. However, it looks like the Robby Gordon Hummer has the speed to win Dakar in 2012, but as Dakar fans know speed is only one of the necessary characteristics needed to win this event. It also looks like the MINI team will be very competitive.
For the bikes, the American, Quinn Cody, showed some speed by finishing 4th on yesterday’s stage. Hopefully he will do well, but the bike competition at Dakar is very difficult in all aspects.
Dakar 2012 has already claimed its first victim. One of the motorcycle riders, Jorge Boero, fell during the first stage. He was being looked after by the event medical staff shortly after his fall, but he subsequently went into cardiac arrest and passed away. This was the 38-year old rider’s second Dakar. My sympathies go out to his family and friends. Once again this demonstrates that the Dakar rally is perhaps the toughness, most challenging motorsports event in the world!