38 - Driving really, really fast with Bruce Garlard, 4WD and Dakar Rally Driver

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Offroad rally driving

We look at the number of people who don't finish the Dakar Rally.  It is a very tough course, expensive to compete in and there is some unforgiving terrain, so the failure rate is very high.

The vehicles aren't stock, so they are heavily modified to make them capable of surviving the terrain at speed, whilst trying to keep the weight as low as possible.  There are some fundamental changes to the vehicle, including moving the radiator to behind the cabin.  There is nothing in the car that doesn't need to be there.

Recovery is another issue.  You have to be able to self recover, so vehicle design is done with recovery as a big issue.

Bruce talks about how the change in temperature in the sand dunes can make a big difference in how hard the driving is.

We talk about the mental preparation that you need to be a Dakar Rally driver.  How can you prepare to do some epic Big Dune driving.

We look at the technique required to drive down Big Dunes.  It is not as easy as it looks and getting the technique correct is really important.

Bruce talks about the Australian Safaris, which was a smaller version of the Rally.  It no longer runs because of the cost to run the event, which is sad.

The Redex trials were a precursor to all of this and gave a big boost to the Australian 4 wheel drive industry.

The Rallies are a big bart of 4WD tourism, and in countries like Chile, hundreds of thousands of tourists go to Chile to visit some of the places that are highlighted by the Dakar Rally and the Desert Challenge.

We discuss Bruce's experience as a mechanic and the kinds of things that he learnt that helped him with his Rally driving.

We talk about some of his driving in Asian countries.

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