While almost every one that participates in the Dakar deserves some credit either as a hero or as a nutcase or both, this year one of the competitors deserves a little bit more credit than anyone else. His name is Dror Cohen.
A former F-16 pilot, Dror had a traffic accident at the age of 24 that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Not one to be deterred easily, Dror has since become an extreme sports competitor. He already won the Olympic Gold medal in sailing in Athens, has taken up rock climbing, Bungee jumping, skiing, and in recent years got into off-road racing and the Dakar. Watch the following YouTube clip about Dror’s life story; it is in Hebrew, but you will get the point.
Dror first entered the Dakar in 2002 and has done quite well until he had to drop due to mechanical problems. Since then he has been building a unique vehicle that will allow him to compete effectively and hopefully to finish the race. Nadav visited Dror and the folks who build the car for him in Israel, and says it is beautiful, powerful machine with an automatic transmission, a 400 hp Chevy engine, and a cabin for 3 (Dror as the driver and two co-pilots).
Designing a special vehicle and recruiting a full crew to help out with mechanics and logistics is a very expensive undertaking. You can help by going to Dror’s website; there, you can chose any area on the car’s hood, pay for the space, and upload a picture or a message. Or you could just contact Dror and firstname.lastname@example.org.