Hardship and Success - Lyndon brings home the metal from South America!
After what has been described as the toughest Dakar on the South American continent, Attwater supported rider, Lyndon Poskitt from St Michaels on Wyre has successfully become the first rider to ride to the start of the race and finish. Not just a finish though, Lyndon managed to bring home 2nd position in the Malle Moto, unsupported class which is known as being the hardest way to compete in the race. With no support crew or mechanics to service his bike on an evening, Lyndon had a busy 2 weeks.
After 12 Days of competitive racing covering 9000km through some of the harshest environments, we caught up with Lyndon to see what it was really like.
So, last time you explained to us why you wanted to go back and race the longest and most arduous race in the world to achieve it solo / unsupported, how do you feel about it now.?
“Honestly, it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life and was really gruelling. Many things played a part in that but the biggest was probably exhaustion and the lack of sleep which limited any opportunity for me to recover. Having to do everything myself there was just not enough hours in the day to do everything that needed to be done. I literally got between 1 and 4 hours sleep a night and spent up to 20 hours a day on the bike, the longest day being 1150km. It was a significantly harder race than 2013 and I was alone to make it even harder. Looking back, I would question what I was thinking to do it this way but it made the achievement all the more rewarding.”
So what was it particularly that made it a harder race?
“Well the route covered altitude ranges of between 0 and 16000ft, temperature changes from freezing to 48ºC, rain and even snow and sleet to make things all the more difficult this year. What was previously known as a desert race in typically hot conditions switched into what could only be described as ‘survival’ and at times it was really miserable. Never before have I questioned why I am racing but there were times when I did this year”
Did the race go smoothly for you other than the climatic conditions?
“No, not at all, I crashed twice on Day 4 (it was particularly rough and I was trying to make up time to move my way up the standings) and although I got away without serious injury, it left me hurting for the rest of the race. Then in the second half of the race I got lost twice, probably fuelled by lack of time to prepare my navigation properly and also lack of sleep hindering judgement. Getting lost in vast open spaces like the desert is never a good feeling but I managed to work it out, pull myself together and ultimately make it to the points required. Thankfully I collected all the required waypoints and received zero penalties throughout the race, a clean run in that respect”
You made a lot of changes to the bike for 2017; how did they work out?
“The bike was far better than me (Lyndon laughs), it really never missed a beat other than when I broke it. It was reliable, handled superbly and was easy to work on, everything I needed from a bike. The lighter weight really did help a lot, thanks to lightweight composites and materials.”
Could you summarise the experience as a whole and are you happy with your result overall?
“As with everything in life, the most challenging things are often the most rewarding when complete. I had to dig deep into the bottom of the reserves to make it to the finish but I’m glad I was able to do it. There were times when I was really feeling low and it was physically, mentally and emotionally challenging but I did it, and that’s what I went to do. I finished 39th overall from 167 starters and 2nd in the unsupported class which I had to fight for. I only won second by a few minutes after over 40 hours of competitive timed stages. The emotions when I came over the finish line were massive but I didn’t have much time to relax as the bike had to be at the port the next day to get shipped back to Europe.”
“All the preparation and training I did really paid off and the modifications we made to the bike to make it lighter were a significant factor contributing to the success. Thanks again for all the support, I was ecstatic to take the Attwater logo onto the Dakar podium again, this time bringing home an even bigger medal!”