Since moving to South America from Africa, the Dakar Rally has traveled through many countries including Chile which has hosted 39 stages and been the finish line twice. Most recently the 2015 rally was held in Argentina, Chile and Bolivia but Chile has taken itself off the list of race territories for the 2016 rally due to severe flooding that has affected much of the northern region of the country.
The Chilean Minster of Sport has said that the focus has to be on rebuilding and aiding these regions prior to possibly hosting rally stages in 2017. It is a unfortunate turn of events as Chile has some fantastic race territory including the Atacama Desert which is barren, sandy and dry – if you think an average rainfall of a little over half an inch is dry – the perfect spot for desert racing.You may also know Atacama for the giant hand sculptures that poke from beneath the sand (quite often with a motorcycle parked in front). See the link below for Dakar’s Best of Motorcycles 2015 showing some of this great country.