Courtesy of MarathonRally.com
Annie Seel, reigning womens Dakar Champion and “Rally Princess of Sweden”, is ready for her 5th start in the South America Dakar. The mission is to race for the victory again and defend her title – the statement is the essence of Annie’s determination.
She proved this in her first Dakar Rally in 2002, reaching the podium first in class despite a broken hand, engine trouble and sand storms. Since then she has raced 17 World Cup rallies and offroad races around the world – never ever quitting one: Annie holds a unique finishing rate of 100 percent.
The Dakar 2002 was one of the toughest, only 33 percent finished. Annie survived and classified 54th general, also winning the “Production 400″ class in her first Dakar-attempt. She refused to with-draw when the going got tough. Defying hardship like; a fractured right hand and bruised leg, trapped a night in the desert with technical problems during sand and rain storms, she made it to the podium in Dakar.
In 2003 Annie challenged the real Everest – on a motorcycle. Overcoming altitude sickness, harsh weather and a 21-year-old Nepalese rental bike, she set the womens altitude record on Everest, 5305 meter.
Racing and experiencing more rallies paid off – in 2004 she won the gold medal and Womens 450 World Cup Championship. In 2004 she also was the first ever woman to solo ride the “Ironman” class in USA’s longest off-road race, the legendary “Vegas-to-Reno”.
In Dakar 2010 Annie was crowned the Womens Champion, after a very tough race including a spectacular Tomb Raider-like crash into a deep mine shaft and an injured thumb. Once rescued, she continued to an amazing win of the Womens Cup – her most victorious moment ever.
Annie always dreams of the “perfect race” where she has a clean ride and no problems. But every Dakar holds many challenges, and this year there will be hard competition in the womens section. Her goal for Dakar 2011: defend the crown!
You can also follow Anne on Twitter at @AnnieSeel