Jan 8th, 2014
My alarm rings at a very respectable 7 a.m. as I will not be travelling to a photo point today.
From one of the first people to pack up my tent in the darkness of the early morning for the last three days to now being one of the last, I woke up with the sun beating down on what is my temporary house for the next few weeks.
I have one of the last standing tents, the bivouac which was a hive of activity only five hours before is in the final stages of being cleaned and packed up.
I am lost here and don’t like it.
The disappointment of not being out on the course when the weather looks as great as it does is one I don’t hope to experience many more times on this journey.
10 a.m., I jump on the bus to the local San Juan airport for my flight to the next bivouac. Waiting at the airport in a bus, looking out the window and seeing clear blue skies with a packed camera bag next to me = no fun!
The plane we end up in is a charted plane for Dakar staff, some mechanics and military people. My Dakar media pass gets me through, no other I.D. required and we carry the luggage onto the runway. There is a safety brief from a military man, it’s brief - he points to the exits and sits down. We land, pick up our stuff and get on a bus for five minutes which takes us directly into the bivouac in Chilecito.
It’s a very dusty part of the airfield where the mechanics and support staff are setting everything up for the arrival of the vehicles. Within hours everything is set up including kitchens to feed the masses. The Argentina Tourist board have a tent as well as the normal Dakar General Info, competitor’s tents, media centre and washing facilities and no sports event would be complete without a merchandise tent.
Once I have set up, I get the cameras and head into the service areas which over the next few hours slowly start to fill with people, vehicles and noise. The mechanics are the unsung heroes of this event. From those that I spoke to, not many sleep at all during the night. It’s the only time they can work on the cars, bikes, quads or trucks and their days are spent travelling to the next site to set up again.
Teams of very skilled people working on highly tuned, no expense spared, racing machines. As I walk though the different areas shooting various vehicles and people, it’s a pretty serious atmosphere with everyone making sure they are doing their job to the best of their ability but most are quite happy for me to take a few photos of them working as long as I don’t get in the way. Everyone is too focused to look at me which is better for the pictures - no thumbs up please!
After I get back to the media centre to do my edit, the great news I was waiting for happens. I will be back in the media truck tomorrow!
View Dean's coverage of the Dakar Rally 2014 on Getty ImagesSee more images
Editors Note: The 2014 Dakar Rally will be the 35th running of the event and the sixth successive year that the event is held in South America. The event starts in Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina on January 5 and finishes in Valparaíso, Chile on January 18 after thirteen stages of competition. To find out more visit the official Dakar Rally 2014 website.
Dean Mouhtaropoulos is a Sports Photographer for Getty Images. Follow him on Twitter at @AllSportSnapper