Taye Perry speaks on racing and finishing Dakar Rally 2021- truly amazing performance finishing 7th Overall in T1.3 Car category

Taye Perry speaks on racing and finishing Dakar Rally 2021- truly amazing performance finishing 7th Overall in T1.3 Car category

Taye Perry is one heck of a female racing Dakar Rally 2021 with Century Racing Team driver Bryan Baragwanath. Determined, feisty, courageous and just all out power-packed with enthusiasm, Taye proved force to be reckoned with against most experienced ‘Legend’ status car drivers and Teams.

Taye and Bryan Dakar Rally 2021 Stage One Photo Credit: FOTOP

What stands out as truly amazing is Taye’s ability to adapt to racing first time with Bryan, communicating all navigation confidently along with providing race-mode performance when faced with extreme difficulties during 12 Stages. And, there were a couple of hair-raising’ moments which would take a toll on any Dakar competitor.

Completing Car T1.3 petrol 2-wheel drive category in 7th position Overall was not just outstanding but also confirmed how much potential remains unleashed within Taye, Bryan and Century Racing Team when backed by fully budgeted support crew.

Taye: ‘I think the most special thing was being part of the Century Racing team and partnered up with Brian Baragwanath in the car. We were a serious underdog team between all the big teams, and I believe we proved that with the right attitude, passion and a touch more backup, we may be a serious threat to the overall podium’.

‘Most challenging part of this Dakar was being the underdogs. We had minimal budget going in, limited spares, no backup truck on route, which in part is why we lost so much time on Marathon day when we had a suspension part fail. This ended up costing us our top 10 goal, but also taught us some valuable lessons, not to mention keeping our heads in the game, staying position and refusing to give up even if we’ve fallen to the back of the field’.

Taye Perry walking away from incident Stage 2 quote from Taye: ‘how to bury your nav!’

And the most rewarding: ‘The most rewarding thing this year, was being newbies to the Auto T1 car, against the best and most experienced drivers and navigators in the world, and surprising not just everyone else, but ourselves. Against all odds and difficulties we proved to be a formidable force as a team in the car, not without our problems and mistakes on route, but with so much room for improvement still. The team and crew were phenomenal and the atmosphere in the Century Racing pits was always a great one. So right now we’re just too excited to start working on the car, the team, ourselves and our skills for 2022′.

For certain, Taye has already clocked up experience and knowledge racing Dakar Rally in Bike category in 2020, which was not without challenges she overcame. Finishing 60th as sole rider on bike, undoubtedly has pushed the South African to pursue success when opportunities arise. Yet, it remains one fact to race and navigate on your own, and another to work in synch along-side the driver.

Taye: : ‘It’s definitely a different skill set and world going from silently understanding what you’re visualizing on a bike to having to verbally interpret and describe complex scenarios and instructions to someone, and at a much higher pace’.

‘I’d also say that day by day, with every challenge, every mistake, every obstacle, we become more in-tune – in a funny way even learn to read each other’s minds. My instincts and risk analysis from the motorcycling side of navigation plays a huge part in my car nav… and I’m not even fully taking advantage of it yet, still trying to keep it as safe and simple as possible, which sometimes goes against my gut feeling in certain scenarios. Because the pressure is so much more in the car, the fear of making a mistake sometimes gets in the way of the bigger picture’.

Taye Perry and Bryan Baragwanath Dakar Rally Stage 4 Photo Credit: Duda Bairros

If anything, Taye’s zest for tackling challenges stems from her strength of character which remains perfectly in tune with the moment, dealing with circumstances at present rather than wondering about the ‘what if’s’, ‘maybe’s’ or what if this fix doesn’t work out. Such a remarkable trait sure comes in handy when faced with trying to fix mechanical break-down in Saudi Arabia desert during Marathon Stage.

Taye: ‘My whole take on racing, and even life, is that I don’t look at the entire distance or days I still have to do and get through. I focus on the now, what’s immediately in front of me, what I have to do and deal with right now.

‘For example, marathon day 1 when our race was almost over; the easiest thing to do would’ve been to think how difficult it will be over 300kms on broken suspension, how many times we’d have to stop to make repairs, that we may never get to the end. But taking it km by km, not letting the “maybes” and “possible future” cloud my positivity and just doing what we can for the challenge at hand is exactly what gets me ahead. In my mind there are no long days, because I’m in the moment all the time, time flies, and I always end up asking and wishing for more’.

These attributes instilled in Taye are unique. That ‘never worry about what is next until this present step is solved’ most certainly makes for enviable characteristic when racing as a pair. And, Taye and Bryan’s race Team certainly has packed a punch delivering mighty performance in Dakar 2021. The durability of CR6 car, the ability of support crew to provide all necessary repairs after each Stage along with Team’s sponsors, family and friends. A true effort by all.

Taye Perry and Bryan Baragwanath Dakar Rally medals Photo: Taye.

Taye: ‘To me, the Century Racing CR6 is a car that can and will be on top. It’s part of the 2-wheel-drive buggy class, which has separate rules to the 4×4 class. Racing for 12 days, 8000km’s over unforgiving terrain takes a serious toll on the body, but the CR6 to me is one of the most comfortable T1 cars at speed in the rough’.

‘The car can take a beating, even a roll (we rolled in the dunes during one of the stages, causing minimal damage); and the possibilities when it comes to setup are vast. The car is a threat on the racing field but will be even more so as Brian and I gain experience, and with Century Racing constantly working on improving the car. The possibilities are endless!

Special thanks to Taye and her Team for their time. Header Photo: Taye Perry Credit: Justin Coffey.

Words: Sharon Cox.

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