The 2012 Dakar Rally held much promise for Robby Gordon yet
it swiftly turned from positivity into bitterness and controversy.
Words David Evans | Images Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
merging from the Nazca dunes in southern Peru, Robby
Gordon beams a smile as wide as the town’s Pacific frontage.
Having been on the road through South America for a day
short of two weeks, the 43-year-old Californian wasn’t in the best
of moods, but a scratch time in the desert helps no end. He slows
his Hummer to a halt, flips open the door and stares straight
down the barrel of a waiting lens. “I kicked their ass!” he shouts.
Not known for his humility, Gordon has made a point
behind the wheel. Now he wants to hammer it home. This is
January. This is Dakar and this is the o;-roader’s o;-road race.
And nobody knows o;-road like the son of “Baja Bob” Gordon.
Robby has won the Baja 1000 and 500
three times, but he still hasn’t won the
Dakar. This was his best chance yet and
it’s gone – and that hurts.
What’s worse is that he’s been excluded
and is now racing under appeal. His
Hummer was fitted with a device which
helped deflate tires quicker – running soft
tires aids traction in soft sand – and the
event organizers felt this device o;ered a
performance advantage. As RACER goes to
press, the French Federation Sport
Automobile (being a French company,
the Dakar organizer Amaury Sport
Organisation refers to France’s
governing body in such matters) has still
to rule on Gordon’s appeal. Time has
cooled Gordon’s anger, but not much.