Dakar motorcycle rally race takes its toll on Hatton again

Dakar Rally competitor and motorcycle enthusiast Don Hatton with movie star, author and adventurer Charley Boorman during his visit to Duncan. - Andrew Leong/file
Dakar Rally competitor and motorcycle enthusiast Don Hatton with movie star, author and adventurer Charley Boorman during his visit to Duncan.
— image credit: Andrew Leong/file

Don Hatton is out of the Dakar Race again.

The most difficult motorcycle rally race in the world to complete took its toll on Hatton again, as he was forced to withdraw during the third stage.

This year’s 35th edition of the Dakar and the fifth to take place in South America started on Jan. 5. The route began in Lima, Peru and finishes Jan. 20 in Santiago, Chile with only one day of rest in between.

But Hatton’s fourth attempt at completing the Dakar ended early on Jan. 7.

Late in Stage 3, he was involved in a collision with one of the large trucks in the race. Hatton wasn’t seriously hurt.

He made a valiant attempt to keep his bike running with no navigation equipment or driving lights, but it failed to restart 41 kilometres from the end of the stage.

Everything started out OK for Hatton, who hoped legendary racer Simon Pavey would help keep him on track. Hatton has become good friends with Pavey, who has even visited the valley, through the Dakar process.

But Dakar can be a cruel experience even for the most hardened athlete and the 54-year-old Hatton is still trying to conquer it.

His first Dakar entry ended before it started, cancelled due to terrorist threats.

He suffered a huge crash the second time around and his first time actually racing Dakar that forced him to quit with serious injuries after the fourth stage.

Hatton returned a year later and suffered a bout of food poisoning before the start. He was then forced to retire after four days due to bad gasoline in his tanks.

The event has been hard on Hatton, but motorcycles are his passion and the goal of being the first 100 % Canadian team to finish fuels his ambitions.

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