The butterflies are taking flight for Dakar rookies Shameer Variawa and Zaheer Bodhanya, who are in Peru and busy with final preparations for the epic race through the South American dunes in their proudly South African built SVR Red Lined T1 Nissan Navara. The team tests its race car today before collecting assistance vehicles later and then documentation and scrutineering Friday; the ceremonial podium start on Sunday before racing starts Monday, but the nerves are already well set in before the biggest race in both men’s lives.
“We are counting down the last few sleeps before the biggest adventure of our lives!" Shameer Variawa confirmed. The important thing is to remember that while we have an experienced technical team behind us, Zaheer and I are racing our first Dakar in a newly developed car in a race that is run 70% in the dunes — an area where we are least experienced, so we have some real challenges and need to temper our expectations. “Still, I want to prove to my kids that if you dream it, you can do it!”
“We are South Africa’s first crew of colour to tackle the Dakar and our goal is to finish our first Dakar,” Zaheer Bodhanya added. “We have a few challenges - we are dune racing rookies and the Dakar is completely different to how we are used to navigating, but we’ve been working hard on that and I trust we are up to the challenge – bring it on!”
Dakar 2019 runs exclusively in Peru – follow Shameer, Zaheer and the SVR Red-Lined Nissan team’s progress on www.motorsportmedia.co.za daily from 7-17 January.