Dakar Dreamer

Reporter: David Richardson

If determination was dollars, the man you are about to meet would be a billionaire. Christophe Varju has a crazy dream and he's done everything humanly possible to make that dream a reality. And in just a few days, he'll be flying an Australian flag on his motorbike in the worlds most dangerous race.

"There is something in me, something strange that is looking for things that people say cannot be done" says Christopher. "I love what I do and I love to go go the extreme of human capabilities in this case. I love to explore just how far I can go." He's Australias premier racer. A contestant in a race dubbed insanity on wheels - the Dakar rally.

The Dakar rally is an off-road endurance event like nothing else on the planet. 10,000 kilometres of the toughest, most challenging terrain you could find. An event thats claimed almost 50 lives in 30 years. Televised to 189 countries and 2-billion people every day - the ultimate reality show.

"You're on the motorcycle, you don't talk to anyone for days so you have alot to think about and you have all those sorts of emotions going through your brain from happiness from things that you see the beautiful countryside to animal life to why in the hell are you doing this. I wouldn't call it mad but some other people do" says Christopher.

Christophe Barriere Varju is a dreamer. He's spent 3 years training, raising money to compete in the Dakar rally, the worlds most dangerous race. "Its just trying to push yourself through different walls, the physical wall, the emotional wall, the mental wall and go through those and see how you react. And then going through the next one."

Christopher's campaigned none stop for sponsorship... trying to raise the $120,000 he needs to compete at the end of the month. "I got no money, no money at the moment. Its getting really really tight. So I'm really trying to find new clients for my work." "Born in France, educated on the west coast of Africa on the Ivory Coast and then lived in the states for a while but actually had a dream to come and live and make a life for himself in Australia."

Film maker Simon Lee has followed Christopher's journey to the starting line. "The thing that really interests me about Christopher and this story is that I think that within me and within a lot of people, there is a Christopher" says Simon. It really is so much more than a story about some people who race from A to B. It's much more of a human journey with truly surreal touches. Set in a mind-blowing landscape of desert and mountains and everything else" adds Simon.

The Dakar rally is now being run in South America. Its like running a marathon every day for two weeks straight, so you need to be fit, very very fit. "I need to keep on pushing because I know if something happens in the sane dunes or in a rocky section or anything Ill have to stop for 20 minutes before I get going again" says Christopher.

And if he crashes:

"If its a small crash you get up and keep on going. If you break bones and can get up, you get up and keep on going. And if you can't walk, then there is the emergency gear on the bike so you call for rescue."

What makes this event so dangerous for bike riders is they have to navigate and ride at the same time. Their only aid, a map attached to the handlebars of their machines. "Imagine you're doing anywhere between the average speed is 90 to 100 kilometres an hour, up to 170, 180 if you want to. And all day long you focus your eyes 30 centimetres, 300 metres avoiding the rocks and going as fast as you can. Imagine texting or sending emails while driving on the freeway except you have holes, you have roots, you have animals, and you're going alot faster than the speed limit."

Crazy is the only word to describe this event. A soul searching journey in the middle of no where, man and machine against the unknown. "Its not about competing against somebody else or beating somebody else. Its about beating yourself, its just about yourself." Christopher has raised the bare minimum to compete but he cant afford a mechanic, so hell have to do all the work himself. At 39, its his last chance to finish the worlds wackiest race.

"If I finish, I'll be very happy. No I should say WHEN I finish Ill be very happy. If I could help kids believe that dreams do come true that would be the biggest victory I could achieve. Anyone can do anything if they want to." Christopher leaves for the Dakar rally just after Christmas.

For more information visit:

www.teamrallyaustralia.com

www.dreamracer.tumblr.com