|Members of the US Ford Raptor Dakar Rally Team|
The group spent the past 48 hours retrieving Skilton's MAN 4x4 support vehicle from aduana (Argentine customs) and tackling last minute preparations on their 2010 F-150 Ford Raptor. Dec. 30 at 1600 hours, the team lined up at the Dakar technical inspection with more than 400 other competitors from 24 countries.
At media registration Collard and Mead made contact with the only other team piloting a Ford Raptor, Chileans Juan Pablo Rodriguez Salizar and Javier Campillay Paez. The two Raptor teams will be working together throughout the race, sharing technical support or spare parts as needed.
Because the U.S. team is not corporately funded, the team rented a few spots in a parking garage to work out last minute details on the Raptor. Accustomed to the rigors of desert racing, the crew felt right at home in this format. They will however, embrace the moral and technical support , as well as he camaraderie that will come with working with the Chilean team.
Mead reflected on the events leading up to the start of the race. "Each day the excitement grows as we approach the start of the Dakar in three days. It's great to be a working team now together in Buenos Aires and to see the Ford Raptor become transformed to a truly race-ready truck with tools, parts, fluids and gear tucked into every conceivable place of stowage. It was also wonderful to begin the registration process with the Dakar organization and to see friends and colleagues from over the years who love this international event."
In three days Mead and Skilton will nose the Raptor under the green flag near the Obelisk in the center of one of South America's most beautiful cities. Stay tuned for regular updates. You can also find additional information on Dakar Ford Raptor Team USA on Facebook at Dakar Ford Raptor or contact media manager Chris Collard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2011 Dakar Stats
- 9,500 km total distance
- 5,000 km special stages
- 430 competitors
- 800+ vehicles
- 2,500 people at the bivouac each night including: organizers, competitors, support teams and media.