Lyndon Poskitt, who works on advanced multi-role fighter jets at our Warton site in Lancashire, this week packed his bags and set off for darkest Peru. In Peru Lyndon will join five other British riders competing in the 9000 kilometre Dakar Rally on a factory motorcycle he has extensively modified using his aerospace expertise.
The race, expected to be watched by over a billion TV viewers in 190 countries, will run for 14 days taking in some of the most stunning desert scenery in the world starting in Lima and running from Peru over the Andres Mountains into Santiago in Argentina for the finish. In total it will involve over 450 vehicles with competitors from 50 different countries.
The Dakar Rally is officially classed as one of the world’s top 5 adventures and is recognised as the toughest event of its kind on the planet, and Lyndon, originally from Yorkshire, but now living in Garstang, Lancashire, has no illusions about what he is getting himself into. His challenge has been made tougher as just twelve weeks ago Lydon suffered a double spiral fracture of his foot after falling from his bike while riding home from work.
He said: “It was a stupid accident- I just skidded on some diesel. It has been a battle to get fit but I have been cycling over 100 miles a week and I have now managed to regain my muscle-tone.”
Why do the Dakar? “Covering long distances over all types of terrain on a multi-purpose motorcycle is really what makes me tick,” said Lyndon, “I have competed in a number of international rallies before, but nothing as big as this. I feel the time is right and I am certain this will be a life changing event I will never forget.
“It’s something I have been watching on television for the past 20 years and I always thought what a great thing to do. I just never thought it was achievable. I wanted to turn something that had been a dream all my life into a goal – and that’s what I’ve done.”
To try and keep costs down Lyndon, aged 34, does what he calls all his own ‘spannering’ himself – from basic maintenance to complete rebuilds. He openly admits he was inspired by his 60 year old dad. “My dad is a brilliant engineer and he taught me much of what I know. He will be coming with me on the trip as my mechanic so it will be a very special time for both of us.”
Lyndon admits that much of what he has learned in the aerospace industry has helped him with the development of both the bike and the entry into the event. “I have made a number of modifications to the bike using my aerospace knowledge,” he said, “these are mainly to increase reliability and improve the performance.”
While Lyndon and his dad have spent hundreds of hours working together in garages, there’ll be no ‘garages’ on the Dakar – in fact there won’t even be satnavs – each competitor is given what’s known as a ‘rolling road map’ which unscrolls the route they have to follow every day without the benefit of GPS or any other modern technology.
“It’ll be a real challenge,” says Lyndon who has re-mortgaged his house to help raise the £70,000 he needed to compete in the rally, “but that’s what makes the event - and I can’t wait. Without the fantastic support I have had from both companies and individuals, none of this would have been possible. There’s still time for sponsors to get on board and I can still find space to carry their names on my bike. Anyone interested can contact me through my website.”
The Dakar Rally is scheduled to start on January 5th and finish on January 20th. You can follow Lyndon’s progress in the event on twitter @LyndonPoskitt and find out more about him and the challenge at www.lyndonposkittracing.com