- Charan Moore says his success at this year's Dakar Rally can be attributed to his South African mentality of always persevering.
- Moore says this year's Dakar was more difficult than last, but that he'd have it no other way.
- Moore's love for bikes and endurance racing was instilled by his father.
"This year's race was so tough. It was physically one of the toughest things I've done."
This is how South Africa's Charan Moore described the 2023 Dakar Rally, having endured one of the most challenging Dakars to date. And it wasn't just Moore who felt the impact. Every competitor from every class and category said the same thing: this year's race was really difficult.
However, while it was the case, no one complained about it. In fact, from start to finish, riders and drivers revelled in the experience, with Moore, especially, saying that he'd have it no other way.
"The weather, the length of the stages, the difficulty of the stages... it was so brutal. But it's also what you want out of it. I wanted it to be tough," Moore said from Saudi Arabia before boarding a flight back home.
It's the Dakar life
Moore opted to participate in one of the toughest classes in the race, the 'Original by Motul', better known as Malle Moto, and did exceptionally well. Yet, while he came out on top, he was never guaranteed the class win, thanks to Spain's Jari Vega.
Vega was a thorn in Moore's side from start to finish, with the two riders pushing to the limit as they tried to extract the slightest advantage over the other. In addition to duelling Vega, Moore also had to contend with the elements and take care of his #40 Husqvarna motorbike himself.
"I set myself a goal ahead of the race, and that was to ride and do my best every single day," he explained.
"The competition with Jari was never an issue. My focus was to do my best every single day. Win or lose, as long as I put my 100% in, I would have been happy with where I finished."
Every day's a challenge
Troubles and technical gremlins were never far behind, and it almost cost Moore a shot at winning the Malle Moto.
At the end of Stage 11, Moore conceded the Malle Moto lead to Vega, but exceptional riding saw him close the gap and retake the lead at the end of Stage 13. On Stage 14, the final one, he extended his advantage, winning with a commanding 21 minutes in the pocket.
"What kept me back were bike issues. An issue with the fuel pump cost me 25 minutes the one day, then a gearbox issue a couple of days later having built up a lead, and I had to change the motor by myself. Then the next day, a radiator issue!"
Moore explains how, as part of Malle Moto, every issue or gremlin had to be fixed, be it during a stage or at night in the bivouac. And when spare parts or resources were limited, he'd have to MacGyver the situation.
"My father took pride in teaching me how to work on a bike - the mechanical side of things - and without that, I would have been dead in the water," Moore explains, before attributing his success this year to the South African attitude.
"Combining this year with all the years of racing in rocks and mud, and the '*vasbyt' attitude of us South Africans, that's what's really brought it home."