2022 Dakar Rally finisher and local racer Simon Hewitt will be revving the engines this week when he joins biking enthusiasts for the eagerly-awaited Llandovery Motorbike Weekend.

He will be bringing his Yamaha WR450F Rally bike - as well as the finisher’s medal that he earned by covering one of the toughest off-road rallies in the world, covering the vast sand dunes of Saudi Arabia.

South Wales Guardian: Simon Hewitt tackles DakarSimon Hewitt tackles Dakar

“Yes, it was a gruelling and sometimes a pretty wild ride,” he says.

"And with an event like that there are a lot of things you don’t learn until you’re actually out there doing it.

“The Dakar rally is exceptionally long and relentless, with back-to-back rides of around ten to 14 hours a day.

"It was also very cold as we were riding in January which is the depths of winter and less than ten degrees.”

The rally involved 12 stages of competition and covered a total distance of 7,900 km (4,900 miles) with 5,000km (3,100 miles) of special stages.

After starting in Jeddah, the race headed north along the Red Sea, passing through the Red Sea Project towards Neom.

It then turned east, towards capital Riyadh and, after a rest day, headed south to the Arabian Desert, across the dunes of the Empty Quarter, then south-east into the Eastern Province as far as Shubaytah, and then back north-west to finish in Qiddiya.

South Wales Guardian: Simon had to endure temperatures of ten degrees on the Saudi rallySimon had to endure temperatures of ten degrees on the Saudi rally

As a child, growing up in rugby-mad Ystradgynlais, Simon’s first ambition was to become a professional rugby player. As a pupil at Ysgol Maesydderwen he played for Abercrave RFC.

But at the age of eight, he had a go on his friend’s dirt bike and two years later he was given his own.  And so began his lifelong love of biking.

Simon took part in his first enduro in 2008 and his first international rally in 2014.

He is employed at the highly-rated BMW off-road skill centre in Ystradgynlais which is run by Australian Dakar legend Simon Pavey and his wife Linley.

The Llandovery Motorbike Weekend takes place at Llandovery Mart on July 2 and 3 and Simon Hewitt will be on hand throughout the weekend to chat all things Dakar.