Charley Boorman – Race to Dakar (DVD)

I saved buying this DVD (I see I bought it back in 2010) till the evenings had got darker and my son finally left home leaving me to the guilty pleasures of watching motorcycle vids in the empty house. Overall, this is a powerful documentary. The Dakar is not for the faint hearted and you have to take your hat off to anyone who dares enter it, Charley Boorman included. The characters are nearly all men in this and they pretty much conform to a stereotype of driven, inarticulate (there is a huge amount of effing and blinding), self-obsessed and in the early episodes this gets annoying; for example how they seem ready to blame eachother when things don’t go to plan. But when they are in their element – actually roughing it on the race – they become more likable and admirable. The series is well edited, it keeps up the tension (without the stupid staged ‘fallings out’ of the Long Way documentaries) and the end is very moving. If you like this kind of stuff, you will love it. (I’ve recently copied it to my iPhone for those late evening winter train journies home after work).

If you don’t have it already its still available from Amazon here.

As a note from 10 years later, the Dakar moved to South America in 2009 after being cancelled the previous year because of an apparent security threat. From 2020 it moved, controversially, to Saudi Arabia.

The Africa Eco Race started in 2009 as a rally designed to return to the return to the spirit of the original race. Lyndon Poskitt has put a range of impressively produced videos of this race on line.