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Winning Dakar With a Truck – The Group B of Dakar

  • Winning Dakar with a Truck is a strange dream
  • They were building a vehicle that brings it closer
  • Too big too fast - an accident that was changing the rules
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Image by: @Chile_Satelital/Flickr

There was an interesting idea going around Dakar during the 1980s. Jan de Rooy a dutch rally driver had a great but a bit strange idea at the time. He wanted to win with a truck but not in its own category. He was aiming to win the whole race beating the rally cars of Dakar with his monster truck. They made a huge truck that could go with 200km/h or more and was weighing 10 tons.

The eighties were bringing us the monstrous Group B machines at the rally and this mentality was popping up in Dakar aswell. However, these giant cars were banned from rally and Dakar too. With online sportsbooks in the US, you can find many options to make a bet on any motorsport you’d like.

The plan of winning Dakar with a truck

Jan de Rooy was the owner of a dutch transport company named G.M. De Rooy & Zonen. He was joining forces with DAF to build the greatest truck ever. His goal was to find out if it is possible winning the Dakar with a truck. The first try was happening in 1982 at Paris-Dakar with a regular DAF truck that had two hundred horsepower. He was finishing in third place amongst the trucks but he was only nr 67 in the whole race. He was drawing the conclusion that he must implement huge expansions into the machine.

Since at the time there were not too many limits of speed or capacity in Dakar, the only limit was basically money for any modification. If they were coming up with a wheeled rocket possibly they could join the race as well.

Building a monster

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Jan de Rooy, Possibly smiling at a car. RX-Guru [CC BY-SA]
He started to work on a beast with a dual engine. He applied one engine above each axle, both with 400 horsepowers. At the end of the truck, he was building a bedroom. Seemingly the 800 horsepower wasn’t enough to win. In the following years, they were fine-tuning their vehicle. They were choosing DAF F3300 and put an engine with 420 horsepower to the rear axle and 340 to the front one. With this setup, they could win amongst the trucks but wasn’t able to beat the whole race. Later they were receiving a 15 minutes penalty for unapproved amendments which resulted in losing their first place. It’s lucky you didn’t place a bet on them.

By 1986 they were using a DAF FAV 3600. Winning Dakar with a truck is a huge task they had to do some changes. They were implementing two dual-turbo engines with 500 horsepower each into the truck. They were also reducing the weight of the truck bringing only some tools and three spare wheels. With these implementations, they could reach speed above 200km/h. They had to give up due to a broken front axle but at the time they were number 10 in the race outriding a lot of the rally cars. In 1987 they were continuing a similar path with some aerodynamical enhancements and losing 1 ton from the overall weight. This machine was named TurboTwin II. They won amongst the trucks, however, they could only rank as number 11 in the overall race between cars and motorbikes, which was a big disappointment.

Winning Dakar with a Truck – Double the trouble

By 1987 De Rooy was about to go huge. Using the basics of TurboTwin II he made a new machine with a huge engine inside. He was building two engines with three turbos with 610 horsepowers each. Two of the turbos were attached to the engines the third one was strengthening the other two turbos. With this machine, he could achieve an amazing speed of 240km/h.  This could lead us to the beautiful historical moment of Dakar when he is outrunning the 4 times Dakar winner Ari Vatanen.

He didn’t stop here and by 1988 he built the X2 version of this monster truck and were racing with both of them. He was behind the wheel of X1 and Theo van de Rijt was driving X2. X1 was doing pretty well they were in the third place only two cars were in front of them and one of them was Vatanen. But when phase 9 was starting something went wrong with X2. After about 20kms from the start of the phase, The van de Rijt was suffering a wrong landing after a dune at a huge speed.

The accident

The car was completely destroyed, spinning around itself multiple times. Kees van Loevezijn, the navigator was flying off of the truck with his seat during the spinning. He was found at a distance of 80 meters from the wracks of the truck. He died instantly. De Rijt and the third party of the team Chris Ross were surviving barely. This was too much for de Rooy and to DAF and they didn’t go back to Dakar for many years. In 1989 trucks were banned from Dakar and from 1990 rules for the dimensions of the machines were becoming way more strict. While you are looking for some car races to make a bet on, through online sportsbook sites in the US don’t forget that the Rooy brothers are back to the race since 2006.

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