2011 Dakar Rally on Versus – Extended Coverage Request

2011 Dakar Rally | American, Jonah Street

American, Jonah Street and GYTR team up to tackle 2011 Dakar Rally

 

It is that time of year again for the one thing I really look forward to watching on the boob tube in the New Year, the Dakar Rally (formally known as the Paris-Dakar Rally) which is the world’s most grueling rally. The 2011 Dakar Rally is the 32nd running of the event. It is being held in Argentina and Chile for the third successive time, and runs from 1st to 16th of January 2011. The extreme race pits 600 teams, consisting of both amateurs and professionals, against not only each other but the elements, including those of the Andes Mountains and Atacama Desert. 2011’s Rally will mark only the third time the race will be held in the western hemisphere and without a stage that will not originate in the continent of Africa. Covering nearly 6,000 kilometers.

2011 Dakar Rally | American, Jonah Street

American, Jonah Street and GYTR team up to tackle 2011 Dakar Rally

 

With that said, I am disappointed of the extremely short half an hour coverage by the Versus network in the past years. I lobbied hard to get the Versus network, channel 408 here on Cablevision in the greater New York area, to finally get to watch the incredible live coverage of Tour De France. I have to say Versus (originally know as O.L.N., Outdoor Life Network) does an amazing job with the overall coverage of the Tour De France and their use of the phenomenally shot international live feed; best sports coverage ever! However, I wish that was the case for the equally cool Dakar Rally, but I can’t.

First off, their is actually a two hour international live feed, but Versus has limited their highlight coverage to a brief half-hour broadcast, which if you edit out all the commercials during the broadcast, it probably only adds up to about 15 minutes of actual recap coverage. Also, Versus seems to only focus on the top five corporate front-runners of the rally. This is an amazing endurance motor sport rally with the blend of man and machine working in unison, and there are privateers that go to extreme lengths just to participate; these stories need to be told. It is compelling to just watch what goes on behind the scenes of the rally and the crazy logistics needed to just keep it up and running. This race to me is not just about winning, but about doing your absolute best while relying on your ride and team of mechanics to keep you going. These participants go all out during this endurance race with lack of sleep, risk of possible injury and not having a proper bath for two weeks. There is a lot of behind the scenes stuff, interesting teams and individuals that are not covered at all, and I find that disappointing. It is a disservice to the participants and down plays the unique hard-core stuff that takes place during the rally.

I am suggesting and requesting a full hour of daily rally coverage by the Versus network here in the States. I and other adventure enthusiasts would like to see more in depth coverage, and not just American football style highlights with play-by-play in studio coverage. But more like a live broadcast with more freestyle coverage with boots on the ground and with more on-board rider/driver perspectives camera shots, so you can feel the grit and the dust of the international rally. If you would like to see the actual live broadcast of the Dakar Rally or at least have it extended to a full hour and to include more in-depth coverage, please feel free to leave viewer feedback and programming suggestions by contacting Versus.

If you want to see what it takes just to get to the Dakar Rally and to actually race in this endurance event via motorbike, check out Charley ‘Bomber’ Boorman’s Race to Dakar in-depth entertaining DVD. I give it, two thumbs up!

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