SA privateers on threshold of Dakar dream

South African TreasuryOne Motorsport Amarok duo Hennie de Klerk, Gerhard Schutte and their team are revelling in the build-up and excitement as Dakar 2018 prepares for the start this Saturday, 6 January in Peru. The team is busy with final preparations in Lima and will scruitineer today (Thursday) before settling down to deal with the butterflies as their spot on that famous starting ramp approaches.

“There’s a calm atmosphere between the crews and teams in Lima and all are eager to help,” Brits businessman de Klerk reported as the team carried on with final preparation on the TreasuryOne Amarok. “Our advance team was here early to clear our vehicles at the port and set up in dusty, very hot and humid conditions and yesterday we all worked fettling the Amarok and getting everything in place in our service vehicle and on the race truck that will carry our spares and parts along the route.

“Today we go through documentation and scruitineering — it should be quite exciting — and then it is final preparation and dealing with the nerves before the start on Saturday!”

Racing the Dakar realises a lifelong dream for Hennie, Gerhard and the team in the culmination of five years of meticulous preparation. De Klerk, who went Cross Country racing back home in South Africa to learn the sport, leading up to the TreasuryOne Motorsport team and WCT Engineering building its 5-litre V8-powered 4×4 Class T1.1 Amarok earlier this season. Hennie then won his entry and transport to Dakar 2018 by taking the Dakar Challenge on the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race in June.

Now all that remains are today’s Dakar technical checks, before the duo sets off on a two week and 10 000 epic kilometer adventure of extreme desert, altitude and weather starting on the Pacific coast, heading over the dunes into the Bolivian Andes mountains for over a week at 4000m altitudes, before a midway rest day in La Paz. Then it’s more mountains, fez-fez and sand down to the finish in Córdoba, Argentina where Hennie, Gerhard and the team hope to park the TreasuryOne Amarok on the Dakar 2018 finishing podium come Saturday 20 January.…

“I’d say we are now ready to race,” Hennie de Klerk concluded. “Now it’s just a matter of living our dream of racing the Dakar – bring it on!”