At the start of the 2014 Dakar rally raid, there were 9 female racers competing across all classes. While several have withdrawn for various reasons, there are still a few left as the grueling race draws to a close. Among those is Susan Jones, navigator for her husband, Mike Jones. While not diminishing the role of co-driver or navigator in other races and rallies, in Dakar, the role is one of vital importance. With stages that can be over 600 km in length through a seemingly endless desert, the navigator’s role equals the drivers. Aside from the physical danger associated with getting lost, there are way points and check ins. Miss a way point, and the penalty is severe. An additional hour added to your time is not uncommon for a Dakar penalty.
Luckily, this real life team of 30 years has experience. In 2010, Susan became the first British woman to successfully start and complete Dakar competing in truck class as the navigator for Pavel Fasko’s MAN team. In 2006, Mike completed 11 stages of the event before withdrawing.
Mike is also the founder and owner of Rally Raid UK, a team that has 4 cars and 3 bikes competing in the 2014 Dakar. Part of the reason for him competing with Susan is so they can keep an eye on their customers. Mike has said besides it being fantastic to compete with his wife, it is absolutely crucial that they get to the finish. They are currently in 51st place. With over half the field dropping out, they are doing very well. We wish this inspiring team the best and cheer them on to a successful finish in Argentina.
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