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Vadim Pritulyak on the Dakar Rally

Vadim Pritulyak, who has taken part in the Dakar Rally for a number of years now, has agreed to answer a few questions for Motonews.ru about the rally and give his predictions on Russia's chances of winning the prestigious motorcycle contest.

Did you follow the Dakar 2013 events? Who were you rooting for?
Sure, every day. I cheered for my friends from Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. I actually didn't even go to bed until the main group crossed finish at 6 a.m. In the car category, I supported Novitsky and Zhiltsov as his co-driver, since they had a chance to win a place on the podium.. And I cheered for everyone else to make it to the finish line! In the moto class, I supported those I know well personally: Gonçalves, Faria, Przygonski.

Do you have any plans to revisit the route? I mean, do you plan to take part in the Dakar Rally again at some point?
I would certainly like that. I keep practicing, and I'm looking for sponsors: I paid for myself the first three (!) times I took part in the rally (including the race that was canceled in 2008). 

What do you think Russia's – or Ukraine's – prospects of winning the Dakar moto class are? How long will it take Russians and Ukrainians to really be able to compete with prominent riders like Despres or Coma?
Actually, there is a really good chance if you take a top rider, invest in him, including by practicing in desert conditions, orienteering, the rally raid philosophy, and one season at the World Cup – 5 or 6 races at the top level to help him make a top team – and then you are bound to see him in the top twenty his first year at Dakar. Next year, he will climb higher. It happens quite a bit in Dakar that motocross riders leave the race because they fall from trying to travel at the highest speed, like they do in motocross competitions. They inevitably start making mistakes after 300 or 400 kilometers of the special section. So, it's really a matter of financing. To make a factory team, the rider has to consistently show high results at a number of World Cup races and at the Dakar rally raid. Dakar riders are now showing a much higher performance level. Many young riders – young compared to the average Dakar age – joined the race in 2013, so I believe there will be a change in the top list next year. Racers like Barreda from Portugal are on the rise, picking up speed. And he was a top notch motocross rider just a short time ago.
Only a top class motocross and enduro race rider with experience in marathons with difficult navigation makes a good Dakar motorcyclist!

How would you describe the Dakar atmosphere for participants?
The climate at Dakar is incredibly amazing! Everyone – both champions and novices – sit down at the same table to eat and talk.
Veteran riders share their experience willingly. If you stop on your route to deal with a problem, no one will pass you by, everyone will pull up and ask if you need help. Since these people put their lives at risk every day, facing high injury and death rates, it brings them closer and eliminates any unnecessary arrogance.

Vadim Pritulyak is a Ukrainian motorcycle rider and entrepreneur. His passion for enduro races prompted him to take part in the Dakar rally. In 2008, he was number 123, in 2009 his starting number was 80, and in 2011 he finished as number 52. Incidentally, he is the only Ukrainian motorcycle rider to finish in the Dakar Rally so far. Last year, he was supposed to be number 146, but missed the event due to an injury.

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