Dakar 2020 Saudi Arabia not only proved a huge adventure for Red-Lined’s two South African-developed, built and run Nismo V8-powered Nissan Navara VK56 race cars, both of which carried their businessman crews to finish among the pros, but the race also continued to build on the team’s incredible run of Dakar and rally raid race finishes at the Dakar and around the world.
South African TreasuryOne duo Hennie de Klerk and Johann Smalberger ended up 34th overall in spite of a last stage disaster, while Dubai-based British pair Thomas Bell and Patrick McMurren similarly overcame a challenging final day to bring their Sabertooth Navara home 36th of the 83 cars that started the epic fortnight race across the Saudi Arabian Desert.
“So that’s the 2020 Dakar Rally done and dusted and what an adventure it was!” Red-Lined Motoring Adventures team boss Terence Marsh confirmed. “Our two proudly South African built Red-Lined Nissan Navaras conquered twelve stages and 7 568km of the toughest cross country racing imaginable across the most challenging Saudi Arabian desert to once again finish the toughest motorsport event on the planet and build on our growing record of Dakar success over the years.
“We are exceptionally proud of our crews — our drivers and navigators who delivered the goods in spite of the most arduous and testing of conditions, and our team of technicians who worked late into every night to keep the cars in tip-top condition throughout. “Dakar is never without its challenges and curve balls, we made mistakes too and overcame them, but we hung in there, we took what the Dakar threw at us and fought on to the finish.
“Both Thomas and Patrick as well as Hennie and Johann did an incredible job to deliver calculated and composed drives throughout the two weeks of racing to bring our Red-Lined Dakar record up to a total of eight Dakar finishers from ten starts with ten businessman crews over five Dakars since our debut in 2015. “That’s an 80% finishing rate versus an average Dakar finishing rate of about 50% and 123 Dakar stage finishers from 128 starts — something we are so proud of as a small privately owned business run out of Kyalami and playing on the world stage against the best factory teams and professional crews out there.
“What’s more, over the past year, Thomas and Patrick have raced a Red-Lined Nissan Navara across the world and have finished every stage that they have started from Dakar 2019, through World Cup races in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Morocco and a handful of South African Cross Country rounds and then back to a second Dakar on the trot — a total of 22 Dakar stages — and that is a remarkable story all on its own.
“Hennie and Johan moved over to a Red-Lined Navara for Dakar this year and they overcame almost incredible odds through the first week to power into the top thirty as the race progressed, only to be thwarted by a classic Dakar sting in the tail. “Both crews adapted to everything the Arabian Desert could toss at them, they drove to a strategy and won their finishes in every sense of the word.
“So yes, Dakar 2020 was by no means easy and there were plenty of lessons we all learned along the way, but it was once again a great team effort to get both cars across the finish line. “We are blessed and extremely grateful to be surrounded by a team of such talented people and would also like to offer a huge word of thanks to everyone around the world who showed incredible support for our efforts over the past couple of weeks — it is greatly appreciated!
“Now it’s time to get back home and start planning the next great Red-Lined Adventure — bring it on!”