THE rough and tumble of one of the world’s most arduous motorsport events will be coming to Bournemouth at the weekend.

The Excite Rallye Raid Team will be bringing the hardcore off-roading of the Dakar Rally to the beach as part of the Wheels Festival, which runs between Saturday and Monday.

It is the first professional British Dakar team, working with world-class drivers and purpose-built cars.

Its Desert Warrior vehicle was initially conceived and built as a concept, with the aim of making the Dakar an easy trip, quick on the tracks but able to take on the tough sand dunes that the event throws up.

Three performances each day will aim to show some of the capabilities of the Desert Warriors, including how they cope with sandy terrain, how they accelerate and how they can free themselves when stuck in deep sand using a built-in jacking system.

Each of the cars on display has taken part in the Dakar Rally. The team is led by John Hardy from Poole and David Jones from Bournemouth.

Having won success in British National Championships, John has spent the past six years building the team.

David, the team’s business manager, said: “John’s vision of putting together an off-road rallying team to compete in the FIA Off Road Rally Championship and the Dakar Rally is going from strength to strength. We are delighted to have been asked to take part in the Festival and keen to show what our vehicles can do.”

The festival is set to see a huge range of wheel-related events around the town, from monster trucks on the beach to historic F1 cars on the East Overcliff.

Find out more at

  • The souvenir programme costs £7 and will contain detailed information about all the attractions, as well as featuring discounts on grandstand seating and Monster Truck rides.

It is available now to pre-order online at and will be available from the Tourism Information Centre soon.