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Robby Gordon turned up in the Dakar Rally in the "African times" of the race. His very different approach to the rally, in a car coming almost straight from the American Bajas to the extremely different and much longer "hardest race on the world" looked in the eyes of many people more like a crazy attempt than a serious effort.
 
Gordon arrived as a dark horse, raising much of interest, but during all those years, the American daredevil was never able to beat the "big boys" of this sport, even if he showed the speed and the immense will to really put on a serious fight. His Hummer evolved, as he was learning some Dakar lessons in the hardest way possible, sometimes by accident, sometimes by the regulations.
 
But if Gordon was successful in something it was becoming the favourite of the crowd. Year after year, Robby Gordon saw his fan base increasing, people were excited from the start of the race to the finish to see Gordon passing (the lucky ones that could watch the race on site) or to read news, see some pictures or watch videos with stunts of the American, like the famous jumps over the starting podium. We are sure that some people will say this is a bit too much, that Nasser Al-Attiyah, Stephane Peterhansel, Carlos Sainz or more recently Sebastien Loeb are also crowd favourites - well, they are, they catch a lot of attention, but none of them has come even close to the hype around Robby Gordon, and we say this based on the real data from our Rally-Raid Network portal, where we see the effect that some news - or this blog text - have in visitors numbers. ( A fun fact: the second most clicked article in the history of Rally-Raid Network was about the American, too…)
 
Last year Gordon wasn't able to start in the Dakar Rally and his car - the Gordini - even appeared to be available for sale. This year Gordon is racing the Dakar Rally, but with a Trexton in the SxS (SSV) category and being there he fell victim of the regulations that limit his speed to 130 km per hour.  Maybe he was not aware of this but suddently he became from the most famous and spectacular to "one of a dozen". The Trexton obviously doesn’t have either the speed or spectacularity of the Hummer or the Gordini, and the regulations don’t allow it to have them either.  
 
At the beginning of the race many expected Gordon to be once more the "outsider" who comes from the USA to challenge all the others. But in fact, he wasn’t even able to be a real threat to the more experienced drivers even in his own category.  After the initial stages the American showed his frustration, specially about the speed limit that doesn’t allow him to show the full potential of his SxS.
 
We are sure that like time and time again, Gordon Is again having a painful learning process, especially on how to lose the "image power" and how do the ones in the midfield feel in this race.  Gordon lost one year more, lost a great deal of his aura, but also the race lost quite a bit, and losing is something Dakar can't afford right now. Altogether, this is really sad, since like – maybe – all Dakar fans we were looking forward to some nice stir caused by the American – this didn’t happen at all. Even the much awaited performance at the ceremonial start turned into something really awkward since neither the Trexton, not the construction of the podium allowed him to show off his skills as in the previous years.
 
We are publishing this text before the start of the 6th stage of 2019 Dakar Rally, and almost unnoticed, in the 64th place overall there’s the orange Trexton driven by Robby Gordon. His team mate Cole Potts is even further behind on the 73rd spot…
 
The Rally-Raid Network
Photos:  Team Speed -  2019 Race report

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