“Riding too slowly could be as bad as riding too fast”
Dakar motorcycle entrants can very roughly be divided into two categories. Older riders who've been riding all their lives, probably started racing moto-x, graduated to enduro and then, once they established themselves, set their sights on the ultimate challenge. The other group are younger riders who've come to the end of their enduro racing career and who have a Dakar win in their sights. Max Hunt falls into neither category. For sure he started riding at an early age on a Yamaha PW80 but then, instead of racing moto-x, he veered off into road racing. In 2008 he won the UK 600 Rookie championship before racing in Supersport in 2009, finally graduating to the prestigious BSB British Superbike Championship in 2010. His results were promising but in 2011 a huge crash effectively ended his road racing career. After that he went back to his first love of skydiving, got into base-jumping and did some travelling. It didn't take long for his enthusiasm for travel and adventure and his love of adrenaline sports to combine into a burning desire to race the Dakar. Last year his brother finished 10th in the car class and they were looking forward to meeting up in the bivouac every night and telling tales. Unfortunately Harry Hunt had a big crash in his Peugeot while racing in Morocco in October and has had to pull out of the 2017 Dakar with a broken vertebrae.
“It didn't take me long to realise that if I wanted to do the Dakar I needed to get a couple of shorter rallies under my belt. It makes sense and the organisers won't let you in without a minimum of experience. The first one I did was the Libya Rally and much to my surprise I finished on the podium. Next up was the Merzouga, which I rode steadily, as I needed to finish it to be accepted onto the 2017 Dakar. Then I rounded that off with the Atacama this August where I finished 13th – not too bad when you consider that the first 10 riders were all professionals… All of which leaves me a little bit undecided about how I should approach this Dakar. On the one hand everybody is telling me to take it easy, not put any pressure on myself and get to the finish. And that makes total sense, as it is a very long race and will be a steep learning curve. I also can't forget what happened to my brother and he had a big roll cage around him! On the other hand everybody has their own pace, which allows them to maintain the necessary concentration for hours on end and riding too slowly could be as bad as riding too fast. Hopefully, once I start racing I'll find the right compromise that allows me to get safely to the finish in Buenos Aires.”