It’s hard to believe the now legendary Dakar Rally was instigated by just one man, but it’s true. French motorcycle racer Thierry Sabine was competing in the 1977 Abidjan - Nice Race and got lost on the Libyan desert, it’s at this point the idea for a desert race was born.
Once back in France, Sabine devised a route starting in Europe, continuing to Algiers and crossing Agadez before eventually finishing in Dakar. Sabine’s dream became a reality when, in 1979, a total of 182 competitors left Paris on the inaugural event.
Throughout the 1980s the Paris Dakar grew in popularity and received great interest from manufacturers as the gruelling event was a perfect outlet to prove a vehicle’s durability.
In 1981, just two years after the first running of the Paris Dakar Rally, Hubert Auriol took the top spot on a BMW R 80 G/S. Auriol repeated his success on an 870cc version in 1983. Belgian rider Gaston Rahier further built on BMW Motorrad’s success in the Dakar by winning both in 1974 and 1975.
With its bright red front end, hugely tall suspension and Marlboro sponsorship, it’s the 1975 bike which is arguably the most recognised in BMW Motorrad’s long Dakar history. At Dick Lovett Motorrad, we were recently challenged by two customers to transfer the spirit and look of Rahier’s Dakar winning GS into two of the latest bikes in the BMW Motorrad range.
The R NineT Scrambler is pure riding pleasure; with its classic proportions and unmistakable style, it was the perfect base for a bike that pays tribute to Rahier’s original GS.
One of the most comprehensive modifications to the bike is the full Paris Dakar kit from Unit Garage. This complete kit changes the fuel tank, seat and front fairing to perfectly emulate the original Paris Dakar machines. The kit also comes complete with a luggage rack and replica tool kit. It’s not just the exterior that was modified; the iconic boxer engine also received some upgrades with a K&N air filter and crank case breather, as well as BMW Motorrad 2V engine covers and Unit Garage exhaust.
Accompanying the R NineT is the very latest BMW R 1250 GSA, with modifications that include custom bash plates, riding lights and tinted screen. But what makes both bikes truly unique is the custom paintwork. Carried out by 8Ball Custom Paintwork, the bikes are a near exact replica of Rahier’s GS, with all original sponsorship logos and colours perfectly integrated into the shape of the modern bikes.
Building the bikes was a great experience for all of the team at Dick Lovett Motorrad and we’re all extremely proud of how the bikes turned out. With our highly skilled team we are able to carry out a large variety of motorcycle modifications and paintwork, so if you would like to discuss building a custom bike of your own, please don’t hesitate to contact us.