‘Finishing Dakar has been my long-standing dream’

K. P. Aravind, Sherco TVS Factory Rally Team, is gearing up in earnest for the 2019 Dakar Rally.

K. P. Aravind: ‘I set my sights on the finish line at Dakar 2019.’   -  PAUL NORONHA

It is that time of the year again, for the ultimate test of man and machine — the Dakar Rally — to commence.

Touted as the biggest event of the International Rally Raid calendar, finishing Dakar has been my long-standing dream. But it has eluded me so far. I am gearing up for the challenge, once again, as part of the Sherco TVS Factory Rally Team.

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The team has showcased tremendous performance in the 2018 international racing calendar this year with crucial wins to our credit. With a little over a month to go for Dakar 2019, there is anticipation and excitement lingering in the air.

Learning experience

Dakar 2018 was a great learning experience for me; it was cut short, unfortunately, by an injury. Over the past year, I have been augmenting my recovery with physical and motorcycle training in India and France.

K.P. Aravind is determined to complete the rally this time around.   -  Special Arrangement

 

The PanAfrica Rally 2018 was an exciting platform to make a comeback, but I could not finish the Rally due to unfortunate circumstances. This was a reality check of my readiness for the Rally, and helped double my determination. With the support of the team and my mentors at TVS Racing, I have been able to enhance my fitness levels and focus on my training while being monitored regularly to ensure speedy recovery.

Single-minded focus

With a single-minded focus, I set my sights on the finish line at Dakar 2019.

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This year, I intend to challenge my inhibitions to race towards the finish line. The support and faith of my team has been a motivating factor. Over the past two months, I have focused on developing mental strength and channelling all my learning of over 13 years into giving the best for Dakar. I am training hard to build physical endurance and packing more time on my Dakar machine. My fitness regime is a mix of gym, swimming, running and cycling.

Ultimate test

Dakar 2019 will be different than the previous Rallies, as it will be held in a single country — Peru.

It will run a course of 5,000 km across 10 stages, 70 percent of which will be sand dunes, increasing the dependence on the road book manifold. This is a challenge the team has been looking forward to and preparing hard for all through the year.

It will be my ultimate test and I am determined to make it memorable.