DHP & former BMW Rallye Pilots meet in Barcelona

While I don't really know if these photos or this story goes at the end of the Touratech Orange event I really don't have any other logical place to put it so I've decided to put it here (for the moment).

You may (or may not) know that from Feb 2001, that I have been working to save the BMW factory rallye racing effort. I took a good deal of time and my own money to get this process started so that Jimmy Lewis would have a ride for the 2002 Dakar and so that I would keep my favorite brand, BMW in rallye racing.

While I'm not going to go into all of the details here (too numerous and some confidential to mention), I will say that as of right now the BMW team is officially kaput. Two of the bikes have been sold to privateer PJ Lundmark of Sweden, one was being race by John Deacon who very unfortunately was killed when racing in the Master Rallye, and the other bikes were either as spare or on occasional loan to Cyril Despres.

I started out this European trip by meeting with Hubert Auriol in Paris, then Jutta Kleinschmidt in Kassel, Germany. A long overnight drive from Kassel to Orange put me at the Tourtech Rallye, then up through the Ardeche Gorge region of France (amazingly beautiful) to Clermont-Ferrand for more meetings regarding the Dakar. Through blinding rainstorms and narrow country roads to Cognac to have a drink with my good friend Cyril Camus (of the Camus Cognac family) on the same day that I left Orange (in the way south of France), then back to Clermont-Ferrand to have more meetings over lunch with different people regarding the Dakar. Same day cancel the flight to Barcelona, keep the rental car and blast back down south all the way to Barcelona.

Whew! Still with me. This was a lot of long and high speed driving. Vehicle was a Lexus ES250 which was pinned to the redline in 6th most of the time. I had many great meetings which hopefully will set up a future Dakar effort featuring Jimmy Lewis as the main rider. I did get the chance to meet Juan 'Nani' Roma and Cyril Despres both of who were very congenial and both of whom would have made excellent teammates (again) with Jimmy.

As far as 2002 Dakar goes, there will be no US based team, but hopefully that will change soon... I continue to spend a significant amount of my time and money to put a new team together. So far I've met all of the right people that I need to do so and am just on the sponsorship/fundraising path right now. These things are complex though and take time, but if you know me, I'm patient and persistent so I know that I'll succeed on my own terms eventually.

Photo - DHP & BMW Rallye Pilots

See how big Nani Roma is? I was told by people that he was super big and strong. They were right!

It was important for me to take the time to meet every possible participant (and for them to get to know me).
Team chemistry and loyalty is very important. From left to right is Nani Roma, his manager, myself, and Cyril Despres.

As far as I know, this year Nani has gone back to KTM and will race the new LC8 twin and I don't know what Cyril is doing.
If you're interested in the Dakar and how you can help out in the formation of the new BMW team please drop me a line.

BTW - I think that this is the only picture on the whole site of me in non-motorcycle or adventure travel gear!
I was in business casual mode but see how relaxed (i.e. casual) the pilots are (in their attire). For them it's all about riding!

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