Reigning Dakar champion Toby Price flying high on his KTM 450 Rally. Pics courtesy KTM

The countdown is on! It’s now just a matter of days until the 2017 Dakar Rally

The countdown is on for 38th running of the Dakar Rally Raid, which kicks off in Paraguay on the 2nd of January.

For the first time, the Dakar heads to Paraguay after Peru withdrew from hosting the rally raid due to environmental concerns. The move in 2009 to the South American continent was due to the threat of terrorism in the race’s traditional North African destinations.

With plenty of changes to the iconic race to make it a bit more interesting for competitors and spectators alike, the 2017 Dakar is going to be a doozy for those unexperienced in navigation.

By popular demand, the access to GPS is being limited for the 2017 running, meaning that good old fashioned navigation skills will come back into play for the nearly 9,000 kilometres of the Rally Raid – 4,000 of which are timed special stages that count towards overall victory.

160267_toby-price-ktm-450-rally-2016The extra navigation requirements won’t really hurt the cars and trucks, who have a co-driver to sort out directions while the driver focuses on the terrain ahead, but the 183 riders (146 bike, 37 quad) will really have their work cut out for them.

Sky TV will be screening stage and weekly highlights of the 2017 Dakar, but to watch it live, you’ll just have to buy a plane ticket to South America and see it in person. Which we would think would be on everyone’s bucket list anyway.