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  • Writer's pictureDanny Joyce | Editor

On the road to Dakar - supporting Oran O’Kelly

The 2024 Dakar Rally is fast approaching -  taking place from January 5th-19th. Television presenter and motorbike enthusiast, Charley Boorman, is at the forefront of supporting Dubliner Oran O’Kelly one of Ireland’s great motorsports athletes.

Charley has experience with the Dakar Rally, taking part in this iconic sporting occasion in 2006, whilst creating an award-winning documentary, ‘Race to Dakar’. He is only too well aware of the mental and physical strength required to even complete such a sporting challenge. His love of and experience with motorcycles is further seen in the documentaries; ‘Long Way Round’ (2004), ‘Long Way Down’ (2007), ‘Long Way Up’ (2020) in which Ewan McGregor and himself partake in three long-distance motorcycle rides.

Charley is lending his support to Oran as he aims to be the first Irishman to represent his country at the prestigious event in over a decade on a motorcycle. Charley has a deep connection to Ireland and its people, spending his teenage years in Wicklow where he found his love of motorbikes.

Charley Boorman comes to Dublin on September the 16th: tickets on sale NOW at €35 via

For such a small country, Ireland has continuously produced special talents across a wide range of sports, mainstream or niche. Oran’s ambition to finish the Dakar Rally will inspire the next generation of Irish children to follow their dreams.

Speaking at the launch of this fundraising event Oran said “I am honoured to have the opportunity to represent Ireland at the prestigious Dakar Rally. I have dedicated the past 5 years to making this happen and look forward to joining our nation’s athletes punching well above our weight on the world stage. It will be a daily battle to focus on finding a good pace, you can’t race at 100% for over 14 hours per day as mistakes will happen. I want to thank Charley for his support to date and his generosity in finding time in his schedule to come over to Dublin on the 16th of September to support me and my dream to be part of the Dakar Rally”.

By competing in the rally Oran hopes to propel motorcycle Rally Raid from a relatively niche market to a mainstream media sport, similar to sports such as (MMA) mixed martial arts. The Dakar Rally only allows for 125 bikes to compete. However, the competition isn’t just limited to bikes as quads, trucks, cars and buggies will face off against each other in the scorching hot deserts of Saudi Arabia, creating an exhilarating watch.

Did you know?

• The Dakar Rally lasts 14 days, with it being over 9,000km, the equivalent of travelling from Dublin to Cape Town, South Africa.

• Oran moved to the U.A.E. during Covid and has spent the previous 3 years training there.

• Oran will be racing with Vendetta racing, based in the U.A.E. which has a rich history in racing at the Dakar rally and world championship rally series.

• He has finished 15th overall in the last rounds of the World Rally-Raid Championship & Baja World Series.

• He has been competing for years in junior motocross championships alongside his 4 brothers.

• Oran was only 4 years old when he started racing motocross, due to his Father’s passion for motorbiking.

• The training for Dakar is strenuous with Oran being on the bike some days for over 14 hours, burning over 6,000 calories, pushing himself to the limit.

• There is significant media interest and coverage for the Dakar event, with it having over 6.7 million followers across their social media accounts, over 10.4 million visits to and over 4,200 hours of TV broadcast.

• It is the 2nd highest motorsport event in terms of viewership after Formula 1.10.  Only 40% of riders will ever even complete the Dakar Rally.

For more info on the Dakar Rally, Oran & Charley:

Slán go fóill


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