“Once you're on the boat, you can't abandon it”
Like many of his compatriots that went on to shine on the Dakar, Gonçalo Reis' journey to the biggest off-road rally in the world started on enduro tracks. For over ten years now, the Portuguese made a name for himself conquering national and ISDE titles. The next step up for Gonçalo was naturally the Dakar. After making his mind up in May, he first tested himself during the Merzouga Rally that he managed to finish at a great 10th spot. Not a bad performance for a first experience. The Portuguese who will be riding a KTM 450 RR now hopes to impress on the Dakar and make the best of the precious tips given by his friends and Dakar regulars, Helder Rodrigues, Paulo Gonçalves and Ruben Faria.
“The Dakar dream started a few years ago when the race was still in Africa. Every January, we would watch the race with the dream of doing it but not knowing if it would one day be possible. The dream became a project. Last May, I asked myself, should I risk it or not and after many conversations with my father and friends, we decided to risk it. It won't be easy but let's go for it. I first had to compete in a rally-raid to be accepted by the organisation and I did the Merzouga rally. I did it and it went well. Once you're on the boat you can't abandon it. As for the dream to be real, I can only say when I reach Buenos Aires. I started training with a roadbook in 2015 and I changed the way I physically train. I focus on resistance with long hours of training to have a fresh mind when I ride. I spent a lot of time with Helder Rodrigues and his wife Mafalda who explained me all I need to know to make it to the finish. My goal for the race is to finish in the best possible position without any falls and penalties.”