Driven in The Desert

[pullquote-left]Entrepreneur has passion for off-road racing[/pullquote-left]Bryan Garvey doesn’t care about driving on pavement or going in circles. He’d rather traverse desert dunes and navigate weather-related obstacles.

The Park Cities entrepreneur has had a lifelong passion for off-road racing that he’s only recently begun to realize as a frequent competitor in international rally races.

“I’ve always had an interest in it,” Garvey said. “It’s not just a pavement event. The terrain changes all the time, and every corner is different.”

Garvey and navigator Roger Franz were second in the prestigious Dakar event. (Courtesy Photo)
Garvey and navigator Roger Franz were second in the prestigious Dakar event. (Courtesy Photo)

The enthusiasm for the sport stems from Garvey’s childhood, when his father restored cars as a hobby.

As a teenager, he worked as a mechanic in his father’s shop, and later started a fabrication business of his own.

These days, Garvey is the president of Corbet Design + Build, a Dallas construction firm he started about 12 years ago.

But several weeks each year, he’s far removed from the office life behind the wheel of an open-cockpit “buggy” with a navigator at his side.

“It’s not about the money,” Garvey said. “It’s about the challenge and proving to yourself that you can do it. It’s about pushing myself. The bigger the challenge, the more it excites me.”

Garvey is in his fifth season of organized racing. He essentially taught himself after befriending a fellow driver in Nevada who has land on which to practice.

Garvey typically races in multi-day “baja” events in Mexico, racing four of those in the past six months.

His success led to a breakthrough opportunity in January, when a foreign team hired Garvey to drive a car in the Dakar, a two-week event in January that started in Chile and meandered through South America. One day, he became stuck in silt, had four flat tires, and didn’t wrap up until 4 a.m. Such challenges are common. Yet despite his relative inexperience, Garvey persevered.

“You have to cross the Andes four times, and the temperature on Day 2 got up to 122 degrees. Every day, we had some kind of mechanical failure we had to fix,” Garvey said. “It’s a very small percentage that actually finish, and we were second in our class.”

While fame and fortune aren’t likely, Garvey said racing teaches lessons about endurance and mental toughness that have carried over to everyday life.

“When you go down and race in the Baja and have 30 near-misses, I come back more driven at work and at home,” he said. “It puts me in a better place.”

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