Bryce Menzies was the best shot in a while for someone trained in North American desert racing to win the Dakar Rally, until he fell victim to a weird sort of crash. Here’s how such a little bump could send him and his X-Raid Mini end over end.
That’s what’s called an ‘endo,’ for obvious reasons.
Again, the bump that took out the No. 310 X-Raid Mini looked inconsequential even to Menzies, even after his codriver called it out in the pre-written stage notes as a place to be extra cautious. Menzies said as much when interviewed about the wreck, which you can watch below.
“[Codriver Pete Mortensen] called it out as a big caution and I looked at it and just thought it was a little kicker and just hit it way to fast and went end over end,” Menzies told the Dakar Rally video crew, posted in Dakar’s daily wrap-up.
The car was sadly done for the rally after bursting into a yard sale of parts in the roll. Menzies was a bit bruised up, and Mortensen ended up fracturing his left ankle and bruising his ribs, per an Instagram update from Mortensen.
As several of you pointed out yesterday, this roll after the back end pops up on a bump is a type of crash that seems more common at Dakar than in other desert racing events, particularly ones that Menzies is used to.
One possible explanation for the prevalence of this kind of roll is that Dakar cars are allowed much less suspension travel than the Trophy Trucks used in Baja racing, where Menzies has competed for years.
Even top-spec Dakar racers are less able to absorb bumps that are no big deal in other series. While Menzies was in a new-for-2017 rear-wheel-drive Mini buggy with a lot of suspension travel compared to your average roadgoing truck, it still has substantially less travel than the race trucks Menzies has competed in for years.
Hopefully, Menzies and Mortensen will be back next year. America could use more racers to claim victory at arguably the most prestigious off-road race on the international calendar.