Today was the last logistical day for the #7 Yamaha GYTR team of Jonah Street and mechanic Niles Follin. The duo started the day with the promise of tire delivery, a few more things to button up on the racebike and a long line of administration checks to overcome. Here’s how it went, straight from Street:
“We’re doing great today. We just left the bike in parc fermé (inpound). We passed inspection, the tires are on the truck and everything has gone super smoothly.
“We worked on the bike this morning, went to scrutineering around noon, then inspection and right into parc fermé. Immediately after we parked the bike, someone walked up and said, ‘Your tires are here.’ Our truck was right there, so we loaded the tires on the spot. What a relief!
“Tonight, I’m organizing my gearbag, food supply and hydration and energy-drink setups. I’ll probably prep a set of goggles, too, and then I’ll be good to go. The weather tomorrow should be in the mid-to-high 80s, so there isn’t much to worry about on that front.
“Tomorrow is totally a day to just get the rally out of town and on the race course. It should be pretty laid back with plenty of time to reach the checkpoint at the end on the day. My game plan is to cruise through the transfer section, pick up my road book and spend all night getting that situated for the next day. I need to make sure that I know it well so there won’t be any surprises.
“Funny story: The photo below shows how many administration checks that we had to go through just to verify our paperwork. I spent more than eight hours during the past month or so arranging, paying for and setting up insurance specifically for Argentina. I was in line for hours today getting all of the required stamps, and they didn’t even ask if I had the $107 insurance policy! Maybe they’ll ask for it at the end of the rally…
“The metal seal on my motor is hugely important. The FIM has to verify that the seal is present throughout the race. This addresses a longtime complaint from privateers that some teams use more motors than the rules allow. Until this year, they’ve never had a good way (like this seal) to ensure that only the allotted number of motors is used during the race. They used to paint the cases, but over the course of a race like this, it’s easy to round up the same color paint and mark a brand-new motor. They’ve also registered serial numbers. But if you have an unlimited budget, as do some teams, it’s no problem to build multiple motors with the same serial number. So, there was essentially no way to track how many motors were going into the bikes. Now, with the seal, it’s awesome for guys like me who can’t bend rules with unlimited resources.
“Every bike is allowed three motors. That means we’re allowed to break this seal twice. The rules say that as long as the bottom end of the motor stays in the frame, you can rebuild the top end as frequently as you want. Some bikes could have a really big problem finishing the race under this rule; there have been some midnight motor and even full bike swaps during the Dakar. I don’t think that can happen now. This really levels the playing field.
“Honestly, getting all the pre-race stuff done and the bike into impound was half the battle; other teams have five or more guys to do what Niles and I did by ourselves. So, we’re very happy with the way this race is going for us.
“More tomorrow after I finally get to ride my bike!”
Stay tuned for more daily updates, photos and videos from Jonah Street straight from the streets, bivouacs and tracks of the 2011 Dakar.
Jonah Street is proudly supported by: Yamaha, GYTR, Top1 Oil, PAI, KLIM Technical Riding Gear, Touratech USA, CycoActive, Iridium satellite phones, Rally Management Services, Baja Bound, JVO Racing, Fasst Co., Baja Designs, Motion Pro, Hammer Nutrition, Scott goggles and The Riff Raff.