The Dakar Review
3 weeks ago I headed off, from a fantastic Holiday in Kenya, to the other side of the world for a race named after a country it doesn’t visit. But EVERYONE knows what the Dakar is and what it means for each and every single competitor and employee of the rally – The Greatest Adventure in the World.
Sadly for me, the process in which being the Voice of the Dakar involves, means I miss out on quite a lot of the day to day sights and adventures that our helicopters see or the compeitors experience but I tell you beats sitting in an office any day of the week, even if your sitting in Eurosports office in Feltham.
Adventure number 1 came quite soon into the rally, New Year was amazing with the whole of Santa Rosa de la Pampa erupting in fireworks at midnight but the next day, I got ear and jaw ache around lunch so took a paracetamol to curb the pain before I went to air, however minutes after I was in fits of fever, hot cold sweating, shaking, but then it calmed down and although the pain still remained, the fever stopped so I went to bed, totally unsuccessfully!
Next day had the same thing, with eye Ache and the right synous was blocked to add to the mess. I was getting aching muscles, felt shattered and would go through dizziness. I struggled through the feeds and having listened back, I didn’t sound too bad! It was pretty hot and my body almost gave up trying to keep me upright, I could actual feel the blood fizzing around my body.
It took about 3 or 4 days to totally calm down but was a tricky way to start the rally.
Then came the day the rally got cancelled, it didn’t mean the scheduled daily feed was knocked on the head but the problem was, the truck in which we edit, would be on the road when we would have normally been editing. It was to leave at 8am and arrive at the next stage at 6pm, the feed was at 4:30 so the only option was to make it before the truck left, overnight. So feed 5 was made from 10am until 5pm then the announcement was made at 7pm and we got on with making feed 6 at 8pm until 4am. I voiced it at 4.30am! The next day made me realize you don really want a day off on the Dakar! With no Internet, luggage, places to sit or things to do it went very slowly.
Discovering a new country is always fun and kicks up a few surprises, Arequipa was a big surprise at 4am when it was near freezing, It was clear the Bivouac was up in the mountains, but 2500m! Someone really should have warned us, it was quite a panic trying to find t shirts and sock to don so I didn’t become an icicle!
A few day later we arrived at the Pisco bivouac, and normally we would expect our edit truck to be parked, with everything set up and ready to use…. however 2 days before the end of the rally it had got stuck in sand, for 2 hours! Luckily it didn’t delay us too much.
So to the programme and it was quite a change over the 2011 edition. You may or may not remember I was quite vocal about the way we worked, and I am pleased to say that the 2012 edition was a totally different, enjoyable experience. We knocked out some amazing shows with the editors working wonders and Alex and Seb doing the lions share of the hard work for the creative input of the show. I am really proud and excited how we can move the new format forward. For those who I guided with my voice for the last few weeks I hope you enjoyed it.
Being the Voice is big responsibility for a show like the Dakar. We put a huge amount of effort into the drama of it, the editor’s craft around my voice and Seb and I try to choose appropriate words to set the scene. Everytime you talk you should be going with the mood, not interrupting it, in fact words are rarely needed on some of the more epic features. In the resume’s you need to be clear and concise to tell the story and inform the viewer. We prepare a second by second, word by word script so its simple job to replicate how the bosses want it to be done….’Previously in the Bikes……Adventure Continues…..etc’ were not my choice of words but wanted by the director.
I was quite vocal on twitter about the UK voice of the Dakar….I am passionate about my job and motorsport and when you throw your heart and soul into something its hard to take that another person is ‘ruining’ it. Having communicated with Carlton over the final few days to help him with the script and give him a clearer idea of how we were working, I would say he was doing the job pretty well by the end….except for the obvious ‘Well, Yes’s’! after 3 hours sleep, my rant on twitter was totally uncalled for and pretty inappropriate, not to mention unprofessional toward Eurosport, Carlton and the UK team.
And in conclusion, roll on 2013! Weird saying that really!