My Fifteen Days of Being a Rock Star (Impersonator)

I stopped feeling guilty after the first day of seeing hundreds of people on the side of the road cheering our little band of Dakar Chasers.   I started to sign my name, “Fred USA” with more gusto after the first dozen autograph requests.  At first, pictures with girls, their boyfriends/husbands, their children, and grandparents were done passively – OK, if you insist!

“We aren’t the real racers!” I wanted to shout. “You’re cheering for the wrong dudes! “

But then I finally got it, it wasn’t about us, it was about them.  For most of these folks, seeing any part of the Dakar   — even groupies like us – was a BIG EVENT. People came out to cheer, clap, yell, wave flags, hold their babies up and blow kisses our way at any time of the day or night we came by.

The Dakar is simply the biggest thing to come to these towns ever.

So, it didn’t take us long to get into the spirit of things.  Soon, all of us Dakar Chasers started to get into our new found fame:  we stood up in the saddle, beeped our horns in greeting, blew kisses back to the babes and babies, and encouraged pictures with us and our bikes.  Gas stops were 10% about getting gas and 90% about giving autographs, taking pictures, and thanking our fans.

How good is that!!?   Sign me up anytime for being a Dakar Groupie

Hey, there’s a racer! Crowds in the small village of Fiambala. Pretty good knock-off of the official Dakar sign from kids in the Atacama desert.

Babe Magnet: I finally stooped to kissing babies. The real babe magnet, at the right, was Chuck. Here two “representatives” from the local health club climb on his bike.

Typical gas station stop in which filling the tank is the least important activity.

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