Javi Vega: “My goal in the Dakar is to survive”


The Spanish driver Javi Vega set his goal for the Dakar 2024, which starts on January 5, to “survive”, in a race in which the key is “experience” and “manage time well”, although there are “days 'chungos' of throwing in the towel” and is aware that “it is the dream that everyone has had since they were children.”

“Maybe 70% of the Dakar for me is mental. I have a sports psychologist who relaxes me a little. You have to be very aware of where you are, there is always a stone in the road that has your name on it. You have to have everything very structured, The Dakar is about experience and managing time well,” said the man from Madrid in an interview with Europa Press.

Vega, as in 2023, faces the Dakar alone again, after having been 'squire' for his partner Sara in four previous editions. And so far he has done so in the Originals category, classifying in second place last year, the only Spaniard on the podium in 2023. However, by finishing 30th overall, he will not be able to score in that class, although he will continue to compete without assistance as ambassador of the category.

“When you are in competition you want to do your best and it is true that perhaps it will never be an African Dakar, but you can assimilate a little more to what they did before. There are 'bad' days of throwing in the towel, especially Last year we had a lot of rain, a lot of cold. You only wear boots and a helmet, and the next day you have to get all wet, there are days when you don't really feel like it,” said the pilot.

However, he acknowledged that the “luck factor” is important to achieve good results in the demanding test. “The objective is to try to survive in this category, reach the finish line and ride the bike and not break many things,” he said about the goal for 2024.

The Madrid native, who has participated five times in the Dakar, highlighted the “adventurous spirit” of the Originals category, compared to the “main brands with good motorcycles in four-hour motocross races.”

“There are people who sign up without the intention of winning. You do it as an adventure to enjoy. The brand that Dakar has created is the dream that everyone has as a child, and simply starting on the 5th is already a gift” , he added.

Since the 2020 edition, the rally has been held in Saudi Arabia, with a very different purpose than the one that started in the late 70s, then focused on endurance. “It is impossible for it to be an African Dakar again. All sports, like all brands, evolve and you have to adapt to what exists. In the end, safety takes precedence. Before, when Paris-Dakar was held there was nothing security,” he said.

“Now we have 18,000 helicopters and if there is any problem, they have it very under control. If there wasn't, it would be a little more chaos for the organization. Unfortunately, there are always deaths in this race, so we have to be a little careful with safety “, he added about the route and the evolution of the race's identity.

Finally, the man from Madrid told what a day on the Dakar is like for him, without assistance and without the help of masseuses or camps as in the general motorcycle category. “I open the tent, if the zipper wants, and the first thing I have to do is remove the ice from the suitcase to open it. You put everything in the tent to warm it up, you change and unpack the tent, there are days when there is frost or a lot of water, it's a pain because you have to fold the muddy tent,” he said.

“From there I usually go to the catering for breakfast. The first Dakar you have buns, some muffins and such for breakfast, and at 12:00 you are dying of hunger, you are without strength. Now I eat a plate of pasta with chicken, and it lasts you all morning. Afterwards Now you start the link, about an hour and a quarter. In Arabia they give some bags with your race number and that's where you put all your cold clothes. On the return link is when I start to think about everything there is to do. do,” he concluded.