Visit Craftsman Collision USA

British Columbian entered in earth’s toughest race “Just wants to finish”

Craftsman COO Rick Hatswell hoping second time a charm for grueling 10,000 km Dakar.

4277226869_c175d27758_oWhile some corporate executives enjoy cruising the ski hills or tooling around the links in golf carts, Rick Hatswell will be on his KTM 450 dirtbike training for what many consider the toughest race in the world: the infamous Dakar.

Hatswell, Chief Operating Officer of North Vancouver-based autobody repair chain Craftsman Collision, has chosen 2016 as the year he will once again take on the notorious 10,000 km odyssey through the rocks, mountains and deserts of Argentina, Bolivia and Chile.

Formerly run between Paris, France to Dakar, Senegal, the Dakar rally is contested every year by up to 800 individuals from 50 different countries racing in specially prepared cars, trucks, quads or motorcycles, and broadcast on TV in 190 countries.

Most of the competitive special sections are off-road, crossing dunes, mud, camel grass, rocks among others. The distances of each daily stage vary from very short to as far as 900 kilometres.

The Dakar’s 10,000 km circuit is farther than the distance from Vancouver to St. John’s, Newfoundland, which is 7,549 km (on paved highways).

To prepare for the Jan. 3, 2016 start, Hatswell will be riding his KTM dirtbike in southwestern BC and in the U.S. under the coaching of Rally Management Services, which currently manages two top riders. He also plans to compete in the six-day Dakar Series Race, the Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina, in May 2015.

And for peak mental and physical toning, he (along with his wife Bonnie) will be competing in the Ironman Triathlon in Whistler, BC this July.

4277972326_df00198269_o“For most participants, completing the Ironman is an end in itself,” says Hatswell, who has completed the Ironman Canada event four times. “For me, it’s a good way to get in shape for the extremely demanding physical ordeal of the Dakar.”

As COO of Craftsman, Hatswell manages one of the world’s largest chains of independently owned bodyshops, with 37 locations from Edmonton to Suzhou, China.

In 2010, as one of the few Canadians to ever enter the Dakar, was he was forced to withdraw from competition due to a broken leg injury sustained only 2 months before the start in a practice rally in Morocco.

His goal this time remains modest. “I just want to finish, and complete a lifelong dream” he says.

Hatswell is sponsored by Craftsman Collision, Color Compass Corporation, White and Peters, BASF, and several other firms.

For more information or sponsorship information, email Rick Hatswell at