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Christopher Cork: from punk vocalist to Dakar driver for a promise
Christopher Cork: from punk vocalist to Dakar driver for a promise

The other day a photo of a stranger appeared on Facebook KTM with rally preparation, and a KTM of the fat ones, so Morrillu doubted if it was the monster we talked about last month. But no, specifically it is a KTM 950 Super Enduro.

And what's so special? Well, the point is that we all thought it was a motorcycle with which someone thought to race the Dakar, so I started researching and came across Christopher Cork. A Brit with a rather curious history.

The Dakar

Christopher Cork Dakar3

I still don't understand the passion that some adventure rallies arouse. They are quite a vital experience and I understand it, but it is one of the motor disciplines where more consciously and tangibly pilots put their lives on the line.

Despite being the toughest rally event in the world, the Dakar awakens a desire for adventure in people who are not even from the world and have little to do with competition

Almost every year we have to mourn the death of a pilot in the Dakar, the most famous on the calendar, and even when the circumstances were really tricky in Africa the pilots were willing to race.

In 2008, what was known until then as Paris-Dakar was finally suspended due to a very serious terrorist threat and now it is running in a "gentler" South America. But it's still a test of faith, perseverance, honor and sacrifice.

The story of Christopher Cork It is like that of many others who felt the call of the Dakar, but he was not a professional driver, far from it. He discovered rallying well into his old age, he had the urge to cross the sands and he began to wake up in the middle of the night with a taste of earth.

From punk vocalist to rally driver

Christopher Cork Punk

His dream became a clear goal after the death of his father. They were very close and losing him was the definitive trigger for the greatest adventure of her life. He promised that he would run and finish the toughest rally on the planet in his memory.

But the question is, how was he going to do it? He was just a fan of motorcycles more. He hadn't raced since he was little, he had no sponsors, he was not a seasoned professional rally driver. Among his resume, what stands out the most is having been vocalist in a music group, the Chineapple Punx, cataloged by an English music critic as the worst group in punk history.

Christopher Cork Bed

From then on, Chris's life has followed one of those unconventional paths that we are not used to. Being the father of two children, sold his house to finance his racing career and began to train enduro with second-hand motorcycles.

For three years he has been training intensely and he has taken part in a few more "accessible" events to prepare himself: the Transanatolia, the Libya Rally, the Tunis Touareg Rally, the Hellas Rally, the Merzouga Rally and even the Baja Aragón.

Christopher Cork Baja

He raced with what he could, a Husaberg FE, a KTM EXC-F 525, the aforementioned KTM 950 Super Enduro … Everything according to the money allowed and the breakdowns let him take one or the other. The life of the humble private pilot, I suppose…

The realization of your promise

Christopher Cork Husqvarna

But all that sacrifice did not matter, he was already touching with his fingertips what he had longed for in recent years. Finally I was registered for the Dakar 2015 with a brand new Husqvarna well equipped to make your dream come true. The Briton was overjoyed, hallucinating with the number of spectators, the media coverage and, of course, with the media of the official teams.

But on the positive, without envy. He was there to get a moral victory, for him just being there was like getting on the podium.

For Christopher Cork just taking part in the Dakar 2015 was already a triumph, but his joy lasted barely three days

Unfortunately the adventure in South America only lasted four days for Chris. After the first two stages with many technical problems such as overheating or oxygen limitation, his bike was unable to perform properly. The engine was not running, so he had to put in an extra on his part that made him almost faint constantly.

In the third stage I was still going slower than the rest, so it was all chaos. Motorcycles, cars and even trucks passed him, raising immense dust clouds that made it impossible for him to see. He focused on driving smoothly so as not to mistreat the engine and could see how later he had a tricky area where there were several vehicles stuck.

Christopher Cork Dune

He decided to go out somewhere with some rock taking a little detour, and when he dived back into the sand he collided with something hidden under the surface. He fell to the ground and knew that something had been broken, but what hurt him the most was knowing that only three days after starting, his Dakar was over.

He was evacuated by helicopter to the camp and a radius fracture was confirmed in his right arm. Before catching the first plane back home, he lent a hand to colleagues who had also fallen on the stage, took several parts from his Husqvarna and gave them to him to repair their motorcycles.

The Dakar 2016, second attempt

Christopher Cork Ktm

He went home to his family and when he arrived what was left of his battered Husqvarna dumped it to make some cash. He started working with a physiotherapist to recover from the arm and he went back to training with the Super Enduro he had at home.

He continued to improve the bike and replaced the double outlet exhaust with a single outlet one on the right side and put an extra fuel tank on the left. He also adapted the swingarm for use as a tank and rebuilt the suspensions to work better. With all this he went to run with her the Hellas 2015.

Christopher Cork Hellas

As I told you at the beginning, everything indicated that Chris was going to run the Dakar 2016 with a motorcycle with a liter of displacement, almost 100 horsepower and 185 kilos dry on the scale. "You have to keep them square"I thought. Not only for getting into this adventure, but for doing it with a motorcycle that at first does not seem the most appropriate.

After the intense recovery from his injuries and a very complicated rehabilitation work, Cork was ready to try again in 2016. I suppose that due to the limited displacement of the motorcycles in the Dakar, Cork will be one of the 153 entered in the motorcycle category with a KTM 450 RR. Of course, it was also bought second-hand from a participant who (unlike him) finished the Dakar 2015.

Christopher Cork Dakar2

From Motorpasión Moto we wish you the best of luck in your adventure. We love humble and vocational pilots like him, so we hope he completes his adventure. Good luck Chris!

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