Interview with Robby Gordon on Race-dezert.com (RDC)
RDC: Do you think you are going to be competitive for the overall win in the 2013 Dakar Rally?
Robby: If you look at last year we won half of the specials. We had one mechanical that cost us a bunch of time. If you take that mechanical out of the equation there’s no reason we won’t compete for the overall.
RDC: You only have one vehicle this year, why is that? Could it be a disadvantage for this race?
Robby: Well if I am going to base it off of last year I think it will be an advantage because we would have personally won 3 or 4 more specials if I didn’t pull Nasser out of the mud or or pulled him through finishes because he over-reved the engine and popped the alternator belt off of it. You know, if we didn’t help him for the first three days we would have won every special right in the beginning as well. I would like to run two cars, it’s good for business, but as far as the performance side of it I’m going to say last time was a total distraction.
RDC: With last years issues with the ASO do you feel there are any bad vibes with them going into this rally that could cause any issues?
Robby: I don’t foresee any issues, the ASO has been to our facility and we’ve had numerous conversations with them. Obviously last years last year… you know they can still say whatever they want but our stuff was approved prior to the rally starting. We shared our whole installation. The difference between this year and last year is this system doesn’t have a vacuum off the engine. It’s not a big deal. If you look at some of Peterhansel’s comments, and some of these other comments out there, the day we disconnected the system we beat them by 13-14 minutes, so I don’t see the inflation process going into the engine hurting our performance at all. We worked on our normal deflation system that deflates into the air and we’ve got that system working better than the vacuum deflation from last year so we feel we’ve learned from that. We’ve challenged ourselves and we’ve tested it at NORRA, we tested every problem we had. We had zero mechanical issues at the NORRA rally. We tested the parts in Baja, we tested on a sportsman buggy, we have been putting allot of miles on them.
RDC: Speaking of NORRA, do you see the NORRA Mexican 1000 as a similar style event to Dakar with the multiple day format?
Robby: Dakar is so much more difficult than anything we do. I just don’t think you can relate NORRA to it. NORRA was allot of fun, the guys did a great job promoting the rally, nothing against them. With Dakar, in some sections they will just tell you to turn left and go off road into the bushes for 50 miles. The challenge is much more difficult. And I’m sure Mark McMillin or anyone else that’s done the rally would concur with that. And if you’re one of the first cars on the road you are making trail which makes it even harder.
RDC: What advice would you give to other americans who want to race Dakar?
Robby: I welcome the challenge. The biggest thing is the logistics challenge to just be able to do it. People have been all over Race-dezert.com talking about it and they have no idea what it takes to be honest with you. I hear people talking about how a Trophy Truck program at the Baja 1000 is equal to a Dakar, that makes me laugh. Because it would really be three seasons of Baja to equal the distance of one Dakar.
RDC: What is the toughest race in the world, Dakar or the Baja peninsula run?
Robby: The Baja peninsula run is a breeze. It is because you get to work on your car throughout the race. At Dakar you don’t get any pit support during the race. You’re on your own, there’s no pit area you come cruising into where the guys change your tires or give you another spare. You’ve got to cary enough equipment on the car to compete every day without support. So it would be like running the Baja 500 every day with no support, no pit stops, no support at all, and in the sand. You know, I think Damen Jeffries and Nasser are really going to get a wide awakening this year on what it really takes to do Dakar.
RDC: Can you explain the classes or categories that run the Dakar?
Robby: You race for the overall together, the only thing that really matters is the overall. We race against Peterhansel for the overall, we’re racing against Nasser even though it’s a 2wd. But there’s 4 categories, the motorcycles, quads, T1 is a production based car and there’s the unlimited class, like SCORE should be just one big unlimited class and then there is the big truck class. So there isn’t a bunch of different classes at this thing. I don’t see Dakar creating any new classes like they have in off road desert racing. I think we have to many classes here in America. I think it should be simplified like the Dakar.
RDC: What are your long term plans for Dakar beyond this year?
Robby: (Robby laughs…) Well I would like to run an ad on your classifieds because you can buy my whole team. RDC: You can buy your whole team??? Robby: Yeah the team is available. RDC: So I’m guessing you will be focusing on Stadium Super Trucks in the future? Robby: Well we’ve obviously competed in the Dakar. And I think it’s time to shift our focus. We are in a position to win the Dakar, we need to capitalize on all the hard work we put in the last seven years. This will be eight years for me total, one year with VW and seven as a race team. And I think it’s time to look at other stuff.
I told Kevin (Wilson) to put one of the Hummers on race-dezert.com, so one can go up for sale now, and I would be willing to rent that same car as well. The rental for the car and the rally would be 1.5 million dollars, and the price of the car is 1 million dollars. If you want to buy the team, you can write a hefty check for 5 million bucks and you can take everything.
See classified right here
RDC: What do you think it would take to attract more international teams to race in America and Baja?
Robby: I honestly don’t know… I do know but I don’t want to tell you…. When we race for a few bucks we’re kidding ourselves right? Legitimize it. Television, prize money, notoriety, etc… Off Road Racing is awesome and that’s what we’re trying to do with our stadium truck deal. Off Road Racing in America is the best kept secret in motorsports. Our goal with SST is to give people an opportunity to learn about Off Road.
As far as Stadium Super Trucks we are progressing forward rapidly. Chassis number 15 is complete. We’ve pretty much got 15 rollers around the facility here. Tickets are out for sale for the first few events. And we’re working hard on getting all the event tickets up by Christmas, and April 6th in Phoenix is going to be awesome. We’ve not only been testing on off road tracks, but we’ve also been testing out some of our metal jump to asphalt stuff for Long Beach.
You keep hearing stuff like is this really going to happen… It’s on like donkey kong.
I wish it was coming to the North East. In the article he states "Our goal with SST is to give people an opportunity to learn about Off Road" Hey, I'M OVER HERE!!! I want to learn! We have the Meadow Lands Sports Complex in NJ that would be surrounded by 10,000,000 people. We also have Rentschler Field, home of UCONN football. It's new, clean and an hour from NYC. I also would like to see a road coarse (I know STADIUM SUPER TRUCKS key word Stadium) at a place like Lucas Oil Stadium. They have a 2.5 mile road coarse, but that I'm sure would be a stretch. I wish I new who the drivers are. Am I missing something? Did I miss the drivers list? I think without a drivers list the tickets would be slower than if there was a list.
Dakar swan song.
Say it isn't so...!
RG is so freakin cool. I tweeted him about coming to the Meadow Lands, He tweeted back that they tried, but maybe next year!! Hmmm, I'm going to see if Peterhansel’s got an account and see if he answers his fans...And that's why I'm a Robby Gordon Fan!!!
That is cool Dave. I do hope, though, that this isn't his last Dakar.
Me too! I have a way of ruining things for sports teams and drivers! As soon as I'm a fan, KABOOM, they A) quit B) Start to suck or C) Really suck!.Jets, Mets, Earnhardt Sr, Robby's NASCAR program! This is my fault (lol)...I just started following Dakar last year! Sorry about that!
hey, hey, hey... we're going through "rebuilding" year(s). I love my Mets, Jets and RG :-)
Creating buzz BEFORE the rally is smart. I'm sure many interested parties will talk to RG about it in the Bivouac. Maybe RG will build something new :)
not me-I'll be at my day job all Rally long.
Kevin wilson from RGM will be in South America.
I'll be doing the usual 3 computer screens tracking dots & endless updates.
Hey TOG, with all the people down there (just looking at all the people on the vids from YouTube), there's no one with a web cam? I know it's remote, but some places must have connection to the outside world? When you get vids, do they come days, weeks or months later? Just curious.
I may be the last person to find this, but Dakar Rally's official channel on YouTube Dakar Rally Official Channel