Scot Harden used his extensive rally experience with a vision to create an American Dakar Rally team. With his long time affiliation with KTM North America and Red Bull, he was the driving force behind the creation of the USA Red Bull KTM effort for the Dakar rally. He served as manager and rider of the American KTM Red Bull Dakar rally team. Scot developed the team in hopes to put an American on the podium of the Paris to Dakar rally. Which it did with Chris Blais finishing 3rd in 2007. Scot served as team manager and a rider for the 2004 and 2005 U.S. Red Bull KTM Dakar Rally teams. In the 2005 Dakar Rally (at age 48) he finished 17th out of 250 motorcycle competitors (with some help from Doc Edwards). The Red Bull KTM Dakar Rally team continues today, with Toby Price, Joan Barreda, Jordi Viladoms, and Matthias Walkner.
A funny story of how Scot got Doc Edwards to go to the Dakar Rally.
Scot cold called me one day while I was in the operating room and said that he had gotten my name from one of the mechanics, Bret Leef. He explained that he was looking for a “physiotherapist” and someone who spoke French. I told him I was a doctor and that he should look for someone else. Some days later we spoke again and he said that I was the best qualified to be the physiotherapist for the Dakar Rally team he was putting together. He said that I was ideal because I was a doctor, could perform massage, spoke fluent French and that I knew motorcycle racing. I was flattered with all of this, but I had just joined my group and was practicing medicine. I told him no for a second time. Then about 2 weeks later he called and asked me what would it take for me to join the USA Dakar Rally team. I thought over the proposition and told him that I wanted a KTM rally motorcycle, with no strings attached at my door after the rally. He hesitated at first, saying he didn’t think the president of KTM would approve it. He called me back and said that he had spoken to Rod Bush, then president of KTM North America, and my request was approved! My goal of asking for the motorcycle was hopefully that they would say no and I would not have to go. I finally got approval from my medical group to go, so there it was, I was going to the Dakar Rally and I had absolutely zero idea what I was getting myself into! Five Dakar’s later and the rest is history…
Scot was also successful in launching a reality television show about selecting riders for the Dakar Rally called the Red Bull KTM Dakar Rally Rider Search. The team designed a challenging five-day Dakar-style racing challenge near Primm, Nevada and Death Valley, California. Temperatures rose to 120 degrees at times. Six riders tested their skills against navigation exercises, a simulated 500 mile Rally Stage, and a ninety minute Grand Prix of Dumont Dunes. Kellon Walch and Chris Blais were the chosen winners and competed in 2006 Dakar Rally. The judging panel included the legendary Malcolm Smith, Danny LaPorte, Jimmy Lewis, and Joe Barker.
Some of Scot’s palmares:
Racing in the Americas, Europe, and Africa, he has won many titles including: two-time Baja 1000 overall winner; three-time overall Baja 500 winner; three-time overall SCORE Champion; four-time overall Best in the Desert Champion; three-time International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) medalist (Gold: Italy, 1981; Silver: France, 1980; Bronze: Czechoslovakia, 1982).
His rally experiences include: The 1987 Djerba 500 Rally Tunisia (winner); The 1987 Rally de Atlas Morocco (winner); 3rd place in the 1988 1,900 mile Incas Rally in Peru, and in the 2,500 mile Rallye de Atlas in Morocco, finishing second overall. He has also helped develop the careers of other off-road champions, including Dan Smith, Danny Hamel, Russ Pearson, and Chris Blais to name a few.
Scot has held numerous executive level management positions within the motorcycle industry with Husqvarna, KTM, BMW and most recently Zero Motorcycles. Scot is currently leading the development of electric motorcycles in his position as Vice President of Global Marketing for Zero Motorcycles. Nowadays, Scot is marketing director of Zero Motorcycles and holds adventure camps for all levels of riders.