Heroes Legend Prolog

The prolog of the Heroes Legend Rally took place this morning under cloudy skies at Birac, a few kilometers northeast of Montauban.

The liaison stage to Almería is now underway. Participants will take the ferry to Nador tomorrow, and the stage in Morocco begins on Monday.


We had a wonderful time, but unfortunately we’re not taking part so our time with the rally is over now. We should be home on Sunday though, and we have some surprise footage in store. Posts coming as soon as we get the material transferred from the camera and edited for publication.


Scrutineering At The Heroes Legend Rally

We’re in Montauban today where participants are arriving for the Heroes Legend Paris-Dakar Rally.


We’ll stay around to watch the Prolog tomorrow. More pictures when we get home.

Photo Album: 24 Hours Offroad France

Last weekend we had a chance to hang out in the paddocks at the 20th edition of the 24 Hours Offroad France (link to the 24 Heures Tout Terrain site in French) in Chevannes about 40 kilometers south of Paris. This event is a little different than those we usually cover on the blog. There was no truck category, but many of the people there also participate in desert rally-raid so we thought it might also be of interest to our readers who share that passion too.

The highlight for us was having a chance to meet René Metge, three-time winner and director of the original Paris-Dakar Rally and currently organizer of the Africa Eco Race. Despite his legendary status in the rally world, we were impressed by his down-to-earth demeanor and approachability.

Read the rest of this post and see more photos

Introducing The Erg Racing Team

Regular readers of the blog may have noticed that we have a new URL, ergracing.com.

For those wondering what this is all about, after two years of desert offroading and providing assistance for the Breslau and Tuareg rallies, we’ve decided to create the Erg Racing Team to compete in offroad rallies having a truck category (>3.5 tons).

Our Tatra 815-2 already has an FIA passport and was used in the Paris-Dakar for many years as a rapid assistance truck (T4 competition class) for the official Honda motorcycle team in the original version of the rally. We’re planning several upgrades to improve its performance in the race category. Among other improvements we’ll be overhauling the suspension and installing a central tire inflation system.

If everything goes according to schedule, our first racing season will be in the spring of 2013. We’ll be publishing an event calendar in the coming weeks.

We’ve created a dedicated page for the racing team and will use this blog both for racing and overland updates. All the related posts will be tagged Erg Racing and will be available under a new tab on the navigation bar at the bottom of the page header.

Follow ErgRacing on Twitter.

The World As Passenger

Most of the stands at Valloire were vendors of 4×4 accessories, and a good number of tour operators were exhibiting as well. Most of these offered organized rally-raid adventures, both for travelers who have their own vehicles as well as those needing to rent one.

One exception was a small stand just off the main alley. Actually, it was just a Toyota 4×4 with a camper and a small table of books set up beside it. This was the stand of photojournalist Marc Mellet. In 2006, he set out alone to document a voyage overland from Paris to Kamchatka in a Toyota BJ75. This wasn’t just to be the story of a solitary traveler, he intended to offer the passenger seat to people he met along the way, giving them the chance to see more of their country and creating an opportunity for a more meaningful encounter and cultural exchange.

At the fair, he was selling signed copies of his book about the trip, Le Monde Comme Passager (The World As Passenger). The book is a beautiful hard copy with a selection of magnificent photos. The accompanying bilingual narrative (French and English) recounts the story and many of the unexpected surprises along the way. Although mainly a travelogue, there’s a section at the end describing Marc’s preparation of the BJ75 and presenting some general advice for readers interested in making a similar trip.

We bought a copy to offer as a gift for someone with an interest in traveling to Mongolia and thought it worth mentioning as many readers of the blog may also enjoy learning about it. Proceeds from the sale of the book may already have been spent on gas since Marc and his companion were planning to leave on a new voyage a few days after the fair, this time equipped with a UAV and video camera to film the adventure.

Their website (in French) seems to have been updated to include a section for news about the latest trip. There aren’t any posts yet, but it looks like they’ll be sharing photos, audio and video along the way.

A Weekend At The 2012 Valloire 4×4 Fair

We spent the weekend in Valloire at the 4×4 fair at the end of August.

It was a bit cool, but the weather was sunny and other than a thunderstorm on Saturday night, it was a perfect weekend to visit the stands with 4×4 vehicles, accessories, tents, and camping cabins, lingering to talk and exchange information and stories about offroad travel with other passionate fans. We ran into many old acquaintances from the Breslau and Tuareg rallies, in addition to making lots of new ones.

Many of the exhibitors were showing campers, from simple sleeper modules for 4×4 cars and trucks to fully-equipped cabins with convertible kitchen and sleeping areas, including shower and WC. We were impressed by the Globe Camper offroad cabins. We spent a good deal of time talking to the owners and had a chance to speak with some of their clients who had come to the fair and were willing to share their experiences with the product.

There were also several rally assistance trucks at the show, including the Breslau Rallye Organisation’s Renault Kerax 440:

This truck was not designed to have an integrated Central Tire Inflation System, but one has been retrofitted.

QTS Rallye Raid Assistance was also there with their Tatra 6×6 assistance truck.