Dakar Rally

South African polymer proves itself at Dakar

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South African-manufactured Vesconite Hilube bushings were used as suspension bushings in a modified 4x4 vehicle at the Dakar Rally this year.

The polymer bushings were thoroughly tested prior to the rally, including in another Argentinian off-road race, prior to their being used at Dakar - the gruelling annual 9,000 km multi-country South American endurance race through various terrains, including sand dunes, mountains and salt flats. 

“The previous material lasted only one or two race stages, but now Vesconite Hilube lasts one complete Dakar race, plus another shorter race in Argentina, plus many testing days,” reveals Leandro Panzini of VesArg, the Argentinian distributor of the product.

Suspension bushings are considered important in vehicle safety, ride comfort and handling and also align suspension and steering components … and they are paramount in the Dakar, in which vehicles travel at between 100 kph and 200 kph in all kinds of terrain over 15 days.

In the Dakar 4x4 vehicle, the bushings were exposed to an oscillating movement with many cycles per minute taking place, and performed much better than the nylon-molybdenum bushings that they replaced, reports Panzini.

“The bushings were used for the equivalent of two Dakars, and are still in good condition,” he notes of the low-friction, long-life polymer bushings that can withstand the abrasive dust and dirt typically associated with the Dakar Rally.

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