What does your heart desire the most? How far would you be willing to go for your dreams? When Ralf Molander was only a small boy, two things rose above all else: helicopters and motorcycles. As he grew up, slowly the idea of participating in the Dakar Rally started cooking in his mind.
The love for motorcycles began very young, at the age of five, as Ralf got his first moped and got to know about this notorious race.
“I feel passionate about motorcycles and vast landscapes. When I was a kid, I saw this amazing adventure on television, where people were battling against the rough terrain and themselves,” he describes enthusiastically.
Ralf first got the idea of participating in the Dakar Rally at the beginning of the millennium. A question arose in his mind “Would I be able to do the Dakar Rally?” In 2005 he decided to find out.
“Ever since stopping the race, I’ve wanted to go back”
“I started out by riding smaller rallies to see what it was all about. Although the race started well, I had to face some setbacks as I fell in a rally in Morocco in 2012 and my collarbone was badly dislocated and required surgery. Nonetheless, I continued my quest towards the race in 2015.”
As Ralf was standing on the podium as the fourth-ever Finnish motorcyclist of the Dakar Rally, he felt emotional but filled with anticipation. While the first day of the race went well, the second one brought trouble.
“Although I had a problem with the navigation system before the start, I managed to pass many competitors on the narrow mountain roads.”
At the final part of the race, hidden dangers rose from the depths of the desert. The intersecting deep grooves beneath fesh-fesh finally became Ralf’s fate.
“As I crashed, my thumb dislocated and the tendon got broken. Riding with a broken thumb was extremely painful and the decision to stop was very difficult. After the initial disappointment, I decided I want to go back to finish the race,” Ralf sighs.
Read the whole story on Ralf’s campaign site.
Learnings of the unexpected
Though Ralf was not able to complete the Dakar Rally in 2015, the race taught him a valuable lesson. Everything in life can and will change in often unexpected ways. In those situations resilience, the ability to respond and react to emerging challenges, plays an important role.
“People often ask me if I have a death wish to do such a dangerous sport. But I would like to challenge those people with one simple question:
“Are you living a life that you have chosen, or are you just going along avoiding things because they might seem scary?” Ralf asks.
Now he is ready to do a rematch with Dakar, but it will not be an easy task. He wants to conquer the hardest motor race in the world, to bring attention to lesser known sports and make motorsport history. For him, Dakar represents a special mindset of self-development but also, the value of becoming better human beings to ourselves and others.
“The feeling of riding alone in a vast desert among the dunes is humbling, exhilarating and exciting. I also find it very important to serve as an example of the value of not giving up, growing, being prepared and fully living your life,” Ralf says.
Support Ralf Molander’s journey to take part in the legendary Dakar Rally in 2021!
This weeks-long race began in 1979. In the Dakar rally, motor vehicles compete against each other all throughout the landscapes of South America. The terrain the riders go through is considered very demanding, consisting of off-road, crossing dunes, mud, camel grass, rocks and more.
Commander at the FinnHEMS-medical helicopter bases in Kuopio and Oulu, competes in motorcycle off-road competitions, acts as a motorcycle guide and trainer as well as a safety & human factors specialist. He has raced in several international cross-country rallies and in the famous Dakar Rally in 2015