MASERU – Lesotho’s rookie biker at this year’s Darker Rally, Charan Moore, finished the race on position 34 overall – and plans to win next year’s 45th edition. Another novice at the 2022 race riding under the Lesotho flag was Kennedy Werner, 42, who finished on position 91 overall out of 160 competitors. The 2022 Dakar Rally was held in Saudi Arabia from January 1 to 14 organized by Amaury Sport Organisation. This was the third time Saudi Arabia hosted the event, with support from the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation. The rally, originally scheduled for 2021, was run at the beginning of the new year (2022) because of prevalent Covid-19 pandemic challenges.
Both riders’ main aim going to the Arab kingdom was to run the race to the finish and managed to achieve the feat in their maiden appearance. “It my first Darker and I finished 34 overall and fourth in the regional by Motor Class,” said Moore in an interview with Public Eye last Sunday. “Again, going to Darker the focus wasn’t on the results but more on finishing the race…which I think should be for every biker’s first attempt.”
Moore further said: “It was really a great experience to be part of that event. It literally the biggest off-road event for us in the world. So to be part of it was something special, and to be able to compete with friends and finish was really a unique experience.” His ultimate goal going forward is to win the Darker Rally, and to achieve that, Moore says he needs to prepare well for the competition.
“I feel there is a lot left on the table and I want to try and get back there and show what I am capable of.” Moore further pointed out that: “My focus for the interim is to get two more races out there in the desert and win in the process. I went to Darker to finish and I took that box. Now I would like to go to the race and show the world what I am capable of.”
Prior to this Darker Rally attempt, Moore competed at the Roof of Africa Rally for over 10 times, which he has never won to date. He debuted at the Roof of Africa Rally in 2008 as a 16-year old boy and finished on position 50. “I was racing over two days and that was tough for a 16-year old,” Moore said. His best performance at the Roof was finishing on position seven overall.
Moore said the Roof experience has been an incredible one “I have always been to the Roof of Africa as a kid. I got to race it, I got to watch it as a spectator and now I get to organize it. I have changed roles and now I get to give back to all competitors.” Moore last competed at the Roof of Africa in 2017 and finished on position 13 in the Gold Class. “No more Roof races for me unfortunately. Now I get to focus on racing in the Darker Rally but I have to continue to organize the race for all my friends to come and race in the mountains,” Moore concluded.
Unlike Moore, Kennedy Werner will not compete at the Darker Rally again. His main reason is that the event is too expensive for riders like him who don’t have sponsorship. “Yes, it was my first time competing at the Darker Rally and the last time,” Werner said during the same interview. This is because it’s too expensive.” Werner further said: “You never know what the future might turn out to be like, but I doubt I will. My family is at the moment more important. I want to spend much more time with them.”
Werner, however, said he will motivate other local riders to compete at the Darker Rally and help them from the experience he has gained. “I would rather now motivate people to go and do it and help them from my experience and stuff.” He went on to say: “So it was my first time and last time and I will never ever forget this. It’s a journey and memories of life time.” Just like Moore, Werner achieved his goal which was to run the Darker Rally to the finish.
“I just wanted to finish it and be safe at the same time. That was my biggest goal. It doesn’t matter where I ended.” Werner said for the Darker Rally one had to be mentally strong. “You have to be mentally strong; 80 percent mentally and 20 percent skill. “If you are not mentally strong then it’s a different story.”
Compared to the Roof of Africa, Werner said the Darker Rally was tougher. “At the Roof of Africa you get rest three times every morning and then the race is finished, but at the Darker Rally you hardly get rest, and that’s what makes it to be mentally demanding.” Werner said one needed to have mechanic with them every time since they needed to service their bikes after every stage of the race.
“That’s because if you crash you will have to replace all that stuff to start the next day and then you sleep late, which has that snowball effect.” He further said: “If you sleep late then you don’t catch up at all. So mental wise it’s a lot of planning.” Werner said one also needed to be focused because the Darker Rally was a high speed racing event.
“It’s a high speed race. So you need to be focused because you don’t want to crash.” Werner will now be focusing on the Roof of Africa, even though he said it will not be competitively. “I would like to focus on the Roof of Africa because I am local. It’s a nice event and Lesotho is a beautiful country to do the Roof of Africa and it will always be a special for the Roof of Africa.
“But it will not be competitively. I will just do it when I can.” Werner, just like Moore, has never won the Roof of Africa. “I competed a lot but I didn’t finish in most of the races I took part in…I was too lazy. I came on position 38 in 2012 and it was one of my best Roof of Africa races, because to be honest I didn’t put enough in and you can’t do the Roof of Africa without training.” But he said in 2019 he managed to finish the race in the Gold Class.