The First American to Nearly Win The Dakar Rally


Ricky Brabec looked posed to win the Dakar Rally and would have been the first American to do so. Ricky was more serious this year than I have ever seen him. I helped him with his medical exam for the race. I spoke with him at length shortly before the Dakar and it was evident that he was going to win the rally. As an American has never won the Dakar Rally, and Ricky was the first American to lead the general classification of the Rally. There are multitudes of articles as to why an American has never won the Rally. I was there when Kellon Walch became the first American to win a stage of the Dakar Rally. To see Ricky Brabec come so close, was a nail biter right to the end and disheartening to see when his engine gave out.


Ricky is one of the many Dakar Rally riders that I help, and I have been helping him for many years. We work on many facets of training from physical preparation, recovery, nutrition, altitude adaptation, as well as healing injuries. He has other people who train him, I am the one mainly on the sidelines.


Mental Focus

One of the major changes I have seen in Ricky this year is his mental focus. He has really learned the art of navigation. And he knew this would be a big deal in this years Rally. He has always trained very hard adapting to the altitude, but since the rally was only 10 days this year with no real altitude challenges, he did not prepare like he did in previous years. Ricky does enjoy using a product called Ketofuels, an exogenous ketone salt mix. Ketofuels is also one of the ways Ricky can keep his salt levels optimized. Check out this article about Mental Focus and the Dakar Rally.



One important facets of Dakar Rally preparation is looking “under the hood.” By this I mean getting labs from the blood and analyzing them in regard to each person’s situation and goals. With Ricky it has always been important to optimize his iron and vitamin D levels. There is much more to labs and performance and each case is individual. Through strategic nutrition plans and checking labs several times a year, this can be a game changer.


Physical Injuries

Ricky has had a few cervical neck injuries that took him out of competition for months at a time. We worked together on the best strategies to optimize his healing and expedite his return to racing. He is a very tough individual.


Over Training

As with most athletes, it is not if over training will occur, it is a matter of when. Many athletes dig themselves into a metabolic hole and find it difficult to get out. Only through optimal recovery and monitored exercise programs can an athlete improve from over training syndrome. I have seen it ruin many athletic careers.


Ricky Brabec really deserved to win this year’s Dakar Rally. He did everything right, but it was out of his hands. He will return to win the Rally, that is for sure. If the ASO decides to move it back to Africa, that will make things even more interesting. The African Rallies were harder and longer, that is for certain. Ricky Brabec has what it takes.


About the author. Completing five Dakar rallies supporting the USA Red Bull KTM Dakar Rally team, Team Robby Gordon, and Team Husqvarna. Doc Edwards has experience of how to navigate the pitfalls and little known secrets of how to complete the rally. Doc Edwards even published a book on how to prepare for the Dakar Rally with veteran Scot Harden, called Chasing Dakar a riders guide to adventure riding and rally. If you have an interest in preparation for the Dakar rally or other motorcycle events, please contact Doc Edwards at