Original by Motul —  the toughest category in the 2021 Dakar Rally
Ashish Raorane tackling stage one of the Dakar2021 Dakar Rally

Original by Motul — the toughest category in the 2021 Dakar Rally

With next to no outside assistance, riders of the Original by Motul category must have nerves of steel to even finish the race!

Malle Moto, French for ‘Trunk Motorbike’, is a category in which riders of motorcycles and quads are almost completely unassisted. This category often goes under the radar because there’s just such few riders who want to take on the added challenge. After all, the Dakar is among the toughest races in the world and the Malle Moto is the toughest category you can possibly compete in. This year, the Malle Moto has been renamed to ‘Original by Motul’ and our country’s very own Ashish Raorane is attempting his Dakar debut in that class.

Original by Motul competitors battling it out in the first stage
Original by Motul competitors battling it out in the first stage2021 Dakar Rally


The ‘Malle’

Competitors are allowed to pack one Malle (trunk) which the organisers will transport to each bivouac. The trunk should contain their spare parts, tools and equipment and any necessary personal belongings. There are restrictions on the maximum dimensions of the trunk. The organisers will also transport one spare headlight, one set of wheels and tyres, a tent and a travel bag.

This year, Dakar’s sponsor, Motul has also thrown in a few goodies to make life (relatively) easier. This includes a common bike lifter, a tent, a camping mattress, a sleeping bag and a survival blanket. Motul will also sponsor a travel bag, a hygiene kit and some snazzy looking clothing for the competitors.

Competitors must also perform repairs on their own vehicles
Competitors must also perform repairs on their own vehicles2021 Dakar Rally

The challenge

While all this kit may make it seem like life must be easy for the Original by Motul riders, that is far from the truth. Every day, the riders must prep their bike for the next stage without any outside assistance. This alone may take a few hours, depending on the condition of the bike.

The riders must also prepare their own road books before every stage. And while there is a common canteen to eat from, it is a far cry from the team of nutritionists that some of the factory-backed entrants have. Keep in mind that the competitor must do all this after each stage, which itself can run for many gruelling hours. After all this, the riders need to get enough sleep to get them ready for the next stage and it isn’t uncommon for competitors to survive on just two or three hours of sleep everyday, for two weeks!

Ashish Raorane tackling stage one of the Dakar
Privateer Ashish Raorane set to make his debut at the Dakar Rally, says “the dream started five years ago”

If you’re interested in knowing some first-hand experience from the Malle Moto, we recommend watching the documentary below which features Lyndon Poskitt who rode all the way to the start line of the 2017 Dakar in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from his home in the United Kingdom!

This year, privateer Ashish Raorane has entered the Original by Motul category for his first attempt at the Dakar. He finished the first stage in 24th place, out of a total of 29 finishers in the category. Stay tuned to our website and social media handles for updates on Ashish Raorane’s progress, as well as the two other Indians — Harith Noah and CS Santosh. You can also find daily reports from all categories of the 2021 Dakar on our website.

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