BC native Don Hatton is one of seven amateur riders from across the globe who are in Sardinia, in advance of the third round of the FIM Rally-Raid World Championship, to be mentored by 2010 Dakar Rally champion Cyril Despres. The idea to pass on his years of experience and ‘savoir-faire’ has been trotting around in his head for years, claims the Frenchman, and has now finally come to fruition under the banner, The Magnificent Seven – Team KTM Cyril Despres.
“I have always enjoyed explaining things and passing on my knowledge and here in Sardinia is the perfect opportunity to help out some privateers,” says Despres. “The rally isn’t too hard and not too different from what an enduro rider is used to. Plus the road book here is ideal for learning the ‘black art’ of navigation. Yesterday we went out with an old road book and had a practice session and I think they picked up some useful tips. Hopefully it will set them in good stead for the rest of the week.”
Hatton says Despres’ tutelage was indeed helpful. “This isn’t my first rally but I really learnt a lot yesterday,” says Hatton. “To be honest I always thought navigation was my strong point but yesterday brought it all together. In addition the bikes are really nicely prepared, the team as well organized as you’d expect and the atmosphere super friendly. I am really looking forward to the rally getting underway.”