In 1977, after straying from the Abidjan-Nice Rally route, French motorcyclist Thierry Sabine found himself lost in the Libyan desert. Despite spending several days astray and almost dying from exposure, the then 28-year-old decided that the arid and unhospitable Sahara would be the perfect place to stage a gruelling rally raid. And the rest they say, is history.
The inaugural Dakar got underway on the 26th December 1979, cutting from Paris through Algeria, Niger, Mali and Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso), before finishing in Dakar, on the coast of Senegal, on 14th January. Every year since, barring 2008, an epic rally raid has taken place over the first two weeks of January, with drivers and riders contesting in excess of 10,000 kilometres across treacherous terrain. While the riders are incredibly resilient, their machines are equally so. Here are some of our favourites.
Why not have a read of our list of the five coolest Dakar cars from the last five decades?