A Taste Of Dakar 2014


Feature Story

A Taste Of Dakar 2014

The nationally recognized third installment of “The Ride Of My Life” series, 50-minute video explores the world of adventure motorcycle riding featuring Jimmy Lewis’s off-road riding school and the Altrider “Taste of Dakar 2014”.

This epic Death Valley adventure video showcases some of the biggest names in ADV motorcycle riding, including: Jimmy Lewis, Chris Story, Kurt Forget, Jeremy Lebreton, Kurt Caselli, Chris Blais, and moto journalist “Fonzie.”

Brad Barker, of The Ride of My Life is a die hard Rigid Evangelist. You’ll see for yourself that weekend rides in the adventure motorcycle world aren’t exactly a walk in the park. It is your turn to join Brad and his award-winning team of videographers as they document the heart and soul behind the sport of adventure motorcycle riding.

The “Taste of Dakar 2014” adventure begins by asking one simple question: “Where is all the good news?” Brad Barker, founder of The HALO Corporation, dedicated over a decade to supporting emergency and crisis events globally and in the making of documentaries for Discovery and History Channels. Now, he and his team are focused on adventures that offer a positive message…on motorcycles!

“For some reason we are fascinated by the thought of the biggest and most dangerous situations, adventures and obstacles on this planet. For most, this means to test the measure of the extreme in already extraordinary circumstances,” Barker said. “ The Dakar Rally is without a doubt the most dangerous race in the world and since its existence over 30 years ago, 27 people have found their fate at the Dakar.”

Since the early 2000’s the route and location of the Dakar Rally has changed for numerous reasons. One reason that stood out from the rest took place in 2008, when the Dakar Rally was cancelled due to the threat of Al Qaeda. Currently, the Dakar Rally takes place in South America, but that doesn’t mean it’s still not dangerous and life threatening.

In the last year, Brad has led adventures all across the world, from Big Sur, Yosemite all the way to the Himalaya mountains and the Amazon jungle. It was time for Brad’s next adventure and he was ready to take his riding skills to the next level.

He took an off-road motorcycle skills class to improve his riding skills and set out for his next adventure, Expedition CV. While on this adventure, Brad met a very important person who would change his off-road motorcycle adventures forever. Jeremy Lebreton was the first person that introduced Brad to the almighty “Taste of Dakar 2014.” Brad was super excited and wanted to take part of this adventure, and film it.

Lighting is an extremely important tool when traveling at night and through dust, sand and other elements. Rigid Industries LED Lighting is the primary source of lighting for the “Taste of Dakar 2014.” Barker explains “ Its amazing how confident you get, when you can actually SEE. Rigid turns night into day”

The “Taste of Dakar 2014” is a three-day event with a two day training opportunity session centered on a Dakar style rally. Jeremy teamed up with Dakar legend Jimmy Lewis, the only American to ever podium at the Dakar Rally, while the race was in Senegal, Africa.

Day One and Two

“We wake up Friday morning, day one of the “Taste of Dakar 2014” and it’s like Christmas morning,” Barker explained. “Day one consisted of the first training session and the range of expertise on this trip was insane. Riders from beginner to professional participated on this adventure.”

“The most critical thing Jimmy taught during the day one training session was “balance”. Balancing on the bike is the most important tool any adventurer can own because if you can’t balance on the bike, you don’t have control of the bike,” Barker explained.

Lewis took the balancing fundamentals he taught Barker and the other rides and put them into action. He took his pupils to a big dry lakebed in Nevada and they started to practice these techniques. Right when everyone was having a great learning experience, Mother Nature took over.

“Imagine riding your motorcycle on the icing of a birthday cake, that is what we were dealing with,” Barker explained. Now that the lakebed is out of the question, we learned that we must improvise, adapt and overcome whatever faces us on an adventure.

Lewis and his pupils finished up the second day of the training session and it’s on to day three, the Dakar Rally.


Day Three

At the beginning of day three Jeremy LeBreton President of Altrider and creator of this event, explains to the riders that there are three courses for “Taste of Dakar 2014”: Beginner, Intermediate and Expert.

Barker and his crew were planning on taking the beginner route to make the most out of the filming opportunity, but LeBreton insisted since Barker had a camera crew with him, they take the expert route. “If you look at my off-roading motorcycle resume, you could say I wasn’t fit for the expert route,” Barker said.

Barker and his crew decided to go on the expert route and everyone sets off on the “Taste of Dakar 2014.” Due to timing the beginner and intermediate route riders were a good hour ahead of LeBreton and the expert crew, so they had some catching up to do.

Things didn’t go as planned and the wheels to this off-road motorcycle adventure started to fall off. Accidents happened and the light at the end of the tunnel started to seem dim. “Fonzie, my camera guy, ended up going over his motorcycle bars and no lie, went 30 feet in the air. This was the worst off-road motorcycle crash I have ever seen,” Barker explained.

Since the bike was totally demolished, some of the crew had to take the bike back to the starting point, which delayed time even more. Jeremy had an obligation to his other clients for the “Taste of Dakar 2014” which was to continue and finish the rally, which never happened.

Somewhere on one of the other routes, the riders were trying to find LeBreton and Barker’s team when the most bizarre thing occurred. The riders saw a life-sized dummy hanging from a noose in someone’s front yard.

After the dummy freaked out the other riders, they went on to the next location. “Another bizarre thing happened to the other riders, they ran across an automobile on fire. Apparently an elderly couple standing a good distance away from the automobile, had been in an accident,” Barker explained. “The elderly couple warned the other riders not to go near the automobile because it was packed full of ammunition. Well that was a recipe for disaster. Imagine live bullets being set off from a fire!”

After all the excitement, the other crew was on to the next location. LeBreton, Barker and the other crew finally set out towards the finish line before yet another rider crashed into a boulder and badly injured his back. Of to the hospital they went.

Barker and his crew end up rolling into the Dakar Rally banquet late and answer the question everyone was dying to ask: “Where have you been?” Barker ends up settling in to listen to the keynote speaker, Chris Blais, who is a Baja and Dakar veteran who was paralyzed from the waist down due to an off-road motorcycle race injury.

“Chris was a huge motivation and a great speaker at the Dakar Rally banquet. The things I learned over the last three days have been life changing,” Barker explained. “You have to learn from the mistakes from others and learn how to roll with the punches.”

Needless to say, Barker and his crew learned a very important lesson from “Taste of Dakar 2014”: Safety. Safety is very important and Brad will be the first one to tell you, safety is the most important thing when it comes to off-road motorcycle adventuring.

Be sure to follow the Ride of My Life’s Facebook page and Youtube channel as they embark on their next adventure.

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For more information, visit: www.therideofmylife.net.

About Brad Barker: The Ride of My Life is the autobiographical account, of Brad Barker’s passion for exploring the world from the back of a motorbike. As the founder of The HALO Corporation, a private security consultancy, Brad found him-self traveling the world’s disaster areas while witnessing some of the most difficult and darkest realities our planet currently faces. One day he pondered the question “Where’s all the good news?” and began taking the steps to seek out positive and intriguing experiences on his “life ride”.

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