Thursday, April 18, 2024

Ivan Merichal plans Dakar Rally debut in 2024 with tree-planting campaign

Iván Merichal Resina hopes to compete at the Dakar Rally in 2024, but making the trip to Saudi Arabia to run approximately five thousand kilometres in the desert is obviously not the most environmentally friendly activity. As such, Merichal has launched a tree-planting campaign to offset the carbon footprint that his Dakar effort will produce.

According to Merichal, his individual Dakar programme will generate roughly 7.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide from travelling for training, to Saudi Arabia, between stops, and transporting his bike, as well as racing for two weeks. This is especially exacerbated as internal combustion engines in race vehicles produce CO2.

“For fifteen days a year, the world is watching the Dakar and we cannot forget that it is an enormous privilege to be there,” said Merichal. “For me, it is a moral obligation to do things that have a positive impact on the environment while also fighting many teams and people to get involved. I alone cannot achieve it, but I have to return this help in some way and for me it is this: in my direct environment through Enki and to the environment with the planting of trees.

“Motorsport is no stranger to environmental awareness. Above being a racer, I am a lover of nature. Although it is not possible today to do a Dakar on a motorcycle with a non-combustion engine, we can do something and this is my small contribution.”

Merichal’s campaign is based on Treedom, a platform that allows users to plant trees in various parts of the world on behalf of the campaign operator. As of this article’s publication, thirteen trees have been planted by Treedom users for Merichal’s effort in Cameroon, Colombia, and Ghana.

Besides environmental sustainability, Merichal also partnered with ENKI, a foundation dedicated to assisting people with spinal cord injuries.

“ENKI works to reintegrate people with functional diversity, doing a very important task with people who have spinal cord injuries which unfortunately is closely linked to motorcycling,” he continued. “They offer themselves as a point of support to all these people, showing them that there is also a happy life after such an event and they convey it through motorsport, so this passion also unites us.”

Born in Sabadell, Catalonia, and currently residing in Galicia, Merichal made his World Rally-Raid Championship début at the 2022 Rallye du Maroc. Racing the #62 KTM 450 Rally Factory Replica, he finished fifty-third in the Rally2 category with a best daily outing of forty-ninth in Stage #4.

The 2024 Dakar Rally begins on 5 January.