A selection of the UK's top motorcycle and lifestyle press contacts attended the BMW Motorrad Park Lane dealership in London yesterday to celebrate the official 2006 Race to Dakar team launch.
In front of a crowd of over 70 invited guests and sponsors, the Race to Dakar team of Charley Boorman, Simon Pavey and Matt Hall was introduced to the media by actor Ewan McGregor, who recently rode a BMW R1150 GS Adventure around the world with Boorman for the successful Long Way Round television series. Yesterday's launch event included the unveiling of one of the three specially prepared BMW F650 GS Dakar race machines along with the BMW X5 support vehicle provided for the rally by BMW (UK) Ltd.
Commenting on yesterday's official launch, Charley said: "It's great to finally see the F650 GS Dakar race bike with my name on it. It looks so different to the prototype I've been riding for the past few weeks and makes the whole project seem so much more real now. The BMW X5 support vehicle also looks amazing with the Race to Dakar team logo splashed all over it. We started it up outside BMW Park Lane and it caused quite a stir."
Six-times Dakar rally competitor and BMW Motorrad Off-Road Skills Chief Instructor, Simon Pavey, added: "It's going to be great for me to compete in this year's Dakar from a different perspective. Before, I have always been there as a serious racer and now I am involved in a project to help Charley go as far as he possibly can," he said. "I do really believe Charley has what it takes to be a true Dakar competitor."
Accomplished rider and final Race to Dakar teammate, Matt Hall, is tasked with not only riding, but also filming the entire project for a forthcoming television series. However, he is more than ready for the challenge: "I've been riding as much as I possibly can over the last few months. I'm loving every minute of riding the F650 GS Dakar and can't wait to get out and ride for real in Lisbon."