Mason Klein is facing a race against the clock to start the 2024 Dakar Rally on January 5 after his Kove race bike gets stuck at Dubai customs.

The 2024 Dakar rally kicks off on Friday with a 29-kilometre prologue but one rider who might not be in it to win it this year is the seemingly luckless Mason Klein.

The young American, who burst on the scene in 2022 and made a name for himself challenging the factory riders, has been left stranded in the Al Ula bivouac (where the Dakar starts this year) without his race bike which is still stuck in customs…in Dubai.

Klein can only sit and wait as the clock ticks down and with just over half a day left to put a bike through scrutineering checks. A van is said to be on a rabbit run to Dubai and back as we write, but it’s a day’s drive and some 2000 kilometres each way by our calculations.

As Mason sits and waits for his bike to arrive before the technical scrutineering closes tomorrow afternoon, he has some options but how frustrating must it be to pull everything together and have this happen?

UPDATE: Kove pulled an all-nighter in a Sprinter van to get the bike and Mason made it through scrutineering today.

“I don’t want to ride any other bike.” Says Mason. “Maybe I’ll start on a KTM, who knows? I’m here, everything is paid for, I just need a bike. Finishing is not my goal, I came here to get a result, that's what I enjoy. It’s hard mentally. I hope we can get it back in time.”

Take over a factory Kove bike? 

Best-case scenario is Mason gets his own bike but he could also take on one of works Kove bikes if the Chinese manufacturer sees fit. It seems like the easy option for them with such a high-profile rider but it could potentially mean one of the Chinese riders on the factory bikes would not start the Dakar and it sounds a lot like Mason doesn’t want that on sporting grounds.

The other option is to find another bike in the bivouac (not as hard as you might think) and if that were a KTM it would be familiar at least.

He’s racing a Kove?

Enduro21 covered Mason’s move to Kove already but to understand what’s going on here more fully you’ve got to rewind 12 months. Back then Mason was a potential Dakar podium contender, had won a stage and looked full of that same confidence from a year earlier. But a couple of big crashes at the ’23 Dakar, one of which knocked him out allegedly, saw him go out the race.

Confusingly for most, Klein then lost his ride at the BAS KTM team where he’d delivered such solid results including the Rally2 World Championship in 2022, and wasn’t able to complete the W2RC season. Just when most thought he’d earned a factory ride, one of the most promising riders in the world rally-raid scene was out in the cold.

With just a few months to go before this Dakar Mason was actually entered in the Original by Motul class at this Dakar, as a privateer rider. But the Chinese manufacturer Kove stepped in with a deal and a bike to help him run his own KORR team (Klein Off Road Racing).

“We spent many hours preparing the bike, a brand-new model that has never been seen before.” Mason explains about his new ride. “We spent about 100 hours over two or three weeks. I checked every bolt, greased everything, Dad and I did everything. The bike is awesome, I'm very pleased with its power, it's amazing.”

There's plenty of cool stuff on Mason’s IG and YouTube channels with the bike prep, check it out...


A post shared by Mason Klein (@korroffroad)


With a heap of development hours stacked up on the Chinese 450 really bike, Klein was all set for his third Dakar start but it seems the guy cannot get a break. 

We’ll update when we get more news.


Photo Credit: A.S.O | Julien Delfosse DPPI