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  • In the last episode: Chile out, Argentina without money and 2019's route presentation postponed.
  • In today's episode: Bolivia follows Chile and leaves Dakar.

Continuing with our series of blog posts about the turbulent times Dakar Rally is living,  here we publish our particular view of the crisis in another episode of the "telenovela". Again, we leave you with the warning, that this is in the blog due to the type of events and news that are coming and that need some distant view that the news section can't provide. The final word is always from ASO, the one and only able to confirm or not all these news, comments and rumors.

The life of our main protagonist (the Dakar Rally) is becoming harder every single day.  After yesterday's surprise decision from Chile's government to pull out of next year's edition of the hardest rally of the world, today Bolivia followed the steps of their western neighbour.

Just a few days ago, Wilma Alanoca, Bolivia's Minister of Culture and Sport said publicly that her country will be part of next year's edition of the rally. But looks like the wind in the Andes is now blowing in a different direction, and a new decision came in the exact opposite direction of what was said before:

"The last five editions of Dakar were extremely favourable both in economics and for touristic promotion of Bolivia at a global level, but we need also to promote other regions of our multinational country" said Wilma Alanoca in an official text today.

It's not easy to understand what this means, but much likely Bolivia was unhappy with the proposed route for next year edition, wanting new places to be visited, more stages or a nice "fee reduction".  And does this really means Bolivia is out? 

In one of our previous texts, we said that the danger of some backstabbing of the rally was there, and it looks like we were right. Rally organisers are now in a very weak position, due to the departure of Chile and also for the lost time in negotiations that delayed too much the rally presentation, now looks like Bolivia was trying to get something more out of the organisation, and since it was not successful, they pressed the "Nuke Button" and quite possibly they definitively killed the rally, or at least caused serious of damage. But, let's not forget, Bolivia has some issues that not all enjoyed much: the altitude, the weather and even some political problems.

In our "telenovela view" of this mess, the "protagonist" Dakar saw his former partner Chile almost returning, but in a surprise move, it flew away once more. Now his long time and reliable partner Bolivia also left him. Peru remains waiting and as for Ecuador, we don't know exactly if it is in or out.

But to make sense of this, the root of the problem is just one single item: money. A lot of money, to be precise. It's known that ASO demands quite big sums of money from the host countries to be allowed to receive the rally. But South America's countries are low on "green ones" and can't afford to pay it all, even if they wish to have the rally. Moreover, they all have been facing various problems from economic crisis to natural disasters, so it becomes harder and harder to justify those sums to the people hit by all those problems, even if they really like Dakar Rally. Obviously, without eggs no one can make an omelette, and a solution will not be easy to find.

Africa comes always on topic. The mother land is opening her arms even more... Some people are against this, some are in favour. Some are scared, some are happy. To where, we can only guess, maybe Algeria as we reported or South Africa as others are saying... or maybe to somewhere unexpected? Who knows. The "loud" Sahara silence reveals that something is happening.

The South American countries should come up with something fast ("green ones" will be very welcome by the organization ) or they lose their "chicken of golden eggs of tourism and promotion".   But the organization should move fast also to find a solution, whatever it may be, in South America or some where else, otherwise the Dakar Rally as we know it will be in real danger finally come to an end.

Obviously, we are quite anxious for the next chapters of this amazing saga, the rally and the countries in it. But what worries us the must is the damage and shockwaves this can do to the sport. Cross-country rally is experiencing a tough time, and this is just one more nail (or a bag of them) into the coffin. The ones enjoying and having fun about Dakar's problem should stop for a moment and think that is just because one day, a great man called Thierry Sabine dreamed of an adventure and had the courage to turn it something real,  and that their races and teams exist exactly because of this dream.  The same Sabine's dream allowed many more to also had the chance to live their own dream of adventure. Of course, we are very far from Sabine's dream in many aspects, but if his legacy disappears, more will follow. 
  • The next episode: The mysterious shrinkage of a large continent, or how South America become small.

Rally-Raid Network


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