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Coma takes 5th Dakar title

In case there was any doubt, Marc Coma is an amazing competitor taking his fifth Dakar win in a row. It's an amazing feat to finish it let alone take the top spot five consecutive years!


Red Bull KTM factory rider Marc Coma of Spain on Saturday sealed his fifth Dakar title and presented KTM with its fourteenth win in this offroad classic. Paolo Goncalves of Portugal took second place and KTM rookie Toby Price of Australia took the minor podium place.


Coma, A Red Bull athlete, rode to the start of the final Stage 13 with a 17-minute lead over Goncalves however riders were unable to complete the 393 km of the final stage into Buenos Aires after heavy rain made the track surface slippery and too dangerous. The race was halted at CP2 and Coma was declared the winner. The win for Coma equals that of his former KTM teammate Cyril Despres and represents the domination of these two riders on the event for a decade.

Coma tackled the Dakar with his usual passion and attention to detail, true to his belief that the only result that counts was that in the final day. He took victory in Stage Five and was top three in six other stages. He also rode with care and prudence in the two marathon stages, nursing a damaged tire in the first and safely bringing his KTM 450 RALLY home across the salt flats of Bolivia in wet conditions that resulted in many riders having to exit the rally after salt clogged their engines and electronics.

Marc Coma: “I’m happy and proud. As usual it was a grueling rally. We had to overcome a problem on the second day that slowed us down a bit in the rankings. So from then on we had to change the strategy a little and push to recover that time. We knew that the marathons would be key stages and they were. I am happy with the team and the people we have around us. This fifth win says a lot about all of us.” Coma also congratulated his two rivals Joan Barreda and Paolo Goncalves who he said were tough opponents. “The level was very high and this also makes the win very valuable,” he added.

The 2015 rally was an emotional roller coaster for the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team and the KTM-supported riders. Factory racer Sam Sunderland got things off to a brilliant start with a solid first stage win, only to get lost at the tail end of Stage Two in what was the longest stage in the 2015 edition. He then crashed out early in Stage Three and had to retire.

At the same time it was already clear that two young pretenders, KTM-supported Dakar newcomers Matthias Walkner of Austria and Australian Toby Price were out to impress. Both came to the Dakar with only one rally under their tires having raced the Morocco Rally in October. Both were also new to road book-style navigation.

Walkner drew attention early. After finishing 8-6 in the two opening stages he then won Stage Three. The rest of his rally saw him making great recoveries after difficult days until he finally succumbed to altitude sickness and stomach problems in Stage Nine and had to withdraw. It was an unfortunate end for a rider with great potential and as yet little experience and he exited after making his mark as a rider to watch in the future.

Price, a four-time winner of Australia’s Finke Desert classic said at the beginning of the rally that navigation would be difficult. He did have some difficulties in stages 4-6 but by the time he started in the final stage he had eight top five finishes and including a win in Stage 12. Price by then had moved up to third overall and was able to make it stick until the race was declared over.

Regular Red Bull KTM Factory rider Ruben Faria of Portugal finished sixth overall, which was a solid result given that Faria had broken his collarbone only six weeks before the rally. His teammate Jordi Viladoms was one rider who was unable to finish the difficult stage over the Bolivian salt flats. Villadoms was fifteenth overall when he retired from the race. KTM-supported rider Riaan van Niekerk also retired after Stage Seven left Bolivia. He was overall twelfth. Jakub Przygonski of Poland, a regular KTM-supported rider who competes for Team Orlen was eighteenth overall. He has had a difficult season after a serious injury in Abu Dhabi at the beginning of 2014. 

Line honors in the final shortened stage went to three KTM riders. Ivan Jakes of Slovakia won the stage. Countryman Stefan Svitko finished second and Price was third. Svitko finishes fifth overall and Jakes was eighth overall. KTM riders took seven of the top 10 places in the 2015 edition.

The Dakar 2015 was indeed a battle of attrition. Of the 168 starters in the bikes division only 78 were on the starting line for the final run into Buenos Aires.

***

Dakar Rally 2015
Final Overall Results

1, Marc Coma, ESP, KTM at 46.03.49 (5th Dakar title for Coma; 14th for KTM) 

2, Paolo Goncalves, POR Honda at 16.53
3, Toby Price, AUS, KTM at 23.14
4, Pablo Qunitanilla, CHI, KTM at 38.38
5, Stefan Svitko, SVK, KTM at 44.17
6, Ruben Faria, POR, KTM at 1:57.50
7, David Casteu, FRA, KTM at 2:00.14
8, Ivan Jakes, SVK, KTM at 2:18.18
Other KTM
11, Hans Vogels, NDL, KTM, at 3:31.50
14, Paolo Ceci, ITA, KTM at 4:58.14
18, Jakub Przygonski, POL, KTM 6:21.12 

***

Stage 13 Results
Please note: Final stage was halted at CP2 because of heavy rain deemed by organizers to make the surface too slippery and dangerous to continue the stage

1, Jakes, KTM at 52.06
2, Svitko, KTM at 00.45
3, Price, KTM at 1.07
4, Goncalves, 1.15
5, Coma, KTM, at 3.11
6, Vogels, KTM at 3:36

7, Frans Verhoeven, NDL, Yamaha at 4.35
8, Qunitanilla KTM, at 4.52
9, De Soultrait, FRA, Yamaha at 5.54
10, Lila Sanz, ESP, Honda at 7.55
Other KTM
12, Casteu, KTM at 8.16
15, Ceci, KTM at 9.51
16, Faria, KTM at 9.22



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Dakar - Coma Moves up to Overall Lead After Marathon Stage 8

Red Bull KTM’s Marc Coma took a cautious approach in what was a very tough second half of the first Dakar Rally marathon stage. In very adverse conditions for all bikes and riders, Coma brought his KTM 450 RALLY back to the finish in ninth place in Monday’s stage and assumed the overall lead by nine minutes 11 seconds.
Coma sacrificed seven minutes 37 seconds in the stage that started with a high-speed dash across the Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia, then returned riders back into the mountains and the dunes of Chile’s Atacama Desert. Finally they had to negotiate the terrifyingly steep descent back to Iquique.
His main rival, Joan Barreda of Spain, who was the pre marathon stage leader suffered technical difficulties and dropped down the order. Barreda finally finished sixty-fifth in the stage and is now tenth overall at one hour 24.14 behind the KTM factory rider.
Stage winner was Chilean KTM rider Pablo Quintanilla, second was Joan Pedrero of Spain. Stefan Svitko of Slovakia (KTM) had a great marathon stage to finish third just 00.12 seconds behind the leader. It was also a very strong performance by KTM’s Dakar rookie, Toby Price of Australia who finished 00.41 seconds behind Quintanilla in fourth place and is also fourth in the overall standings behind Coma, Paolo Goncalves of Portugal and Quintanilla.
The start of the rally was delayed because of weather conditions and rain the day before had made conditions tricky for a high-speed dash across what is the world’s largest salt lake. Coma said later that conditions had been “over the limit”.
Marc Coma: “Conditions were very complicated, for me over the limit. To ride over the salt and the water was like a kind of cement on the bike and there was a lot of stress to try to take care of the engine of the bike and everything. To arrive here today is like a victory. I am happy we are leading now but we still have five days in front of us. We have a long way to go and every day there is something different. We just have to take it kilometer by kilometer.”

Coma said at the end of the stage that he had had problems with a radiator blockage caused by the paste-like mix of salt and water and he thanked his teammates Jordi Viladoms and Ruben Faria for their help in solving the problem at the refueling point. Faria went on to finish behind Coma in tenth place but Monday saw the retirement of Viladoms, who was last year second to Coma at the finish of Dakar 2014. Also retired after Stage eight was KTM-supported rider Riaan van Niekerk of South Africa.

Toby Price also commented that the salt water has clogged many of the bikes and had especially affected the electronics, resulting in a lot of problems for many of the top riders. "For me it was just a matter of preserving the bike and trying to get to the finish. It's still in one piece and I am just hoping I can get to the finish line."

KTM rookie Matthias Walkner had another very tough day but finally made it to the finish line in forty-fourth place an dis now ranked twenty-eighth overall. The young Austrian, riding only in his second rally has shown speed, courage and determination and has a stage victory to his credit. Third in Stage Seven heading for Uyuni, Walkner said on Sunday that he had already felt the adverse effects of the altitude in Bolivia.  He remains committed to be at the finish line in Buenos Aires and like Price, has put in an admirable performance in his first Dakar.

Matthias Walkner: "Today was our hardest day. it rained until about 10-11 o'clock and we rode 150km in the salt lake with a lot of water. Most of the bikes were destroyed and my bike also stopped two or three times. In the end it was just bad luck and I hope for a better day tomorrow." 

Tuesday riders go from Iquique to Calama (Chile) over a total distance of 539 km, 451 km of which is timed special.

**
Stage Eight Dakar 2015
Uyuni to Iquique - 24 liaison; 781 km special (Total 805 km) - second half of marathon stage
Stage 8 results (provisional)
1, Pablo Qunitanilla, CHI, KTM 2 hours 56.19
2, Joan Pedrero, ESP, Yamaha at 00.11
3, Stefan Svitko, SVK, KTM at 00.12
4, Toby Price, AUS, KTM at 00.41
5, Lila Sanz, ESP, Honda at 2.36
6, De Soultrait, FRA, Yamaha at 6.36
7, Alain Duclos, FRA, Sherco at 6.42
8, Hans Vogels, NLD, KTM at 7.34
9, Marc Coma, ESP, KTM at 7.37
10, Ruben Faria, POR, KTM at 7.44
Other KTM
11. David Casteu, FRA, KTM at 8.01
16, Ondrej Klymciw, CZE, KTM at 12.33
19, Jakub Przygonski, POL, KTM at 16.13
**
Overall Standings after Stage 8
1, Coma, KTM at 28:51.12
2, Goncalves at 9.11
3, Qunitanilla KTM at 11.11
4, Price, KTM at 15.56
5, Svitko, KTM at 26.30
6, Faria, KTM at 34.34
7, Duclos at 58.08
8, Casteu, KTM at 1:10.489, Sainz at 1:18.51
10, Pedrero at 2:06.10
Other KTM11, Hans Vogels, NDL, KTM 2:06.46

Route for Stage 9 on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 Iquique to Calama – 88 km liaison, 451 km special (539 km)

More at www.dakar.com

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Dakar 2015 - Starts January 4th!

We're getting pretty excited about the start of the 2015 Dakar. This is the official 2015 Dakar teaser video. It starts on January 4th and runs to the 17th.




#dakar2015 @dakar More information on www.dakar.com
Facebook.com/Dakar ; Twitter.com/Dakar ; Instagram.com/DakarRally

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KTM Heads to Dakar Rally 2015 - Looking for a 14th Victory

The Dakar Rally, universally recognized as the toughest offroad event on the annual motorsports calendar has been safe in the hands of KTM For thirteen editions. It all began in 2001 when Italian Fabrizio Meoni rode a KTM LC4 660R to victory. On January 4, 2015, KTM goes for a potential fourteenth title with a strong Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team led by defending champion Marc Coma of Spain.

Between Meoni in 2001 and Coma in 2014 there has been a remarkable story of excellence, bravery and adventure including, among others, two wins from Meoni, five by Frenchman Cyril Despres and four by Coma to give KTM a dominant 13 consecutive victories in the motorcycle class. There was no rally in 2008.

Coma is again the man to beat in 2015 and has come off a successful racing season. He won the 2014 Dakar by almost two hours and went on to take his sixth FIM World Cross Country Rallies Championship. Coma is satisfied with his season and his Dakar preparation. He has accumulated many miles in competition during 2014 and reports that he is in good physical shape.

Marc Coma: “This next edition of the Dakar
 will be even harder than before. We all have to be prepared for long hours of intense fighting. After the World Championship events and on the various tests we have completed, the KTM 450 RALLY continues to give us excellent results and reliability and that allows us to face this next challenge with enthusiasm. We all now look forward to getting started."The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team supporting Coma’s bid for a fifth title includes Spanish veteran Jordi Viladoms, who finished second to Coma in 2014 for his career best result. He rides with start No. 4. Portugal’sRuben Faria, a very experienced team member, finished second to Despres in 2013 and has start No. 11. Sam Sunderland of the UK, who makes his debut Dakar ride with the KTM factory team is a talented young rider who balances the rich seam of experience offered by the three senior members. He first rode in the Dakar in 2012 aged 22 and has been impressive since he joined the KTM lineup at the start of the 2014 FIM Rally season. Sunderland, who starts with No. 6, finished an impressive second overall in the FIM World Championship.

KTM supported riders include Matthias Walkner, the first Austrian to compete on a KTM since Heinz Kinigadner 15 years ago. Walkner is a former MX3 World Champion and rides under the tutelage of Coma and the more experienced members of the team. His task is to learn, gain experience and be at the finish line on January 17. Walkner is on the KTM 450 RALLY No. 27.

Another strong contender in the KTM-supported lineup is Australia’s Toby Price, riding bike number 26. Price is one of Australia’s most decorated offroad racers and is making his Dakar debut. A multiple winner in major national desert classics and the Australian Offroad championships, Price also contested his first international rally in Morocco in October, where he finished a solid eighth.

Jakub ‘Kuba’ Przygonski of Orlen Team will again be a KTM-supported rider on bike No. 8. The Polish rider first contested the Dakar in 2009, and in 2014 he finished overall sixth as one of the few riders who rode a penalty-free race. He missed most of the FIM World Championship because of injury but returned to put in a solid ride in the final round in Morocco.

South African Riaan van Niekerk, Team Broadlink KTM, is contesting his third Dakar Rally. The multiple South African national champion will be looking to finish better than his twelfth place in 2014.

The Dakar 2015 starts and finishes in Buenos Aires. The route sees riders travel west across the Andes into Chile then north to Bolivia. They then cross the Andes again from west to east and head back to the Argentine capital on a different route. On this journey they will ride 9,295 km over vastly different terrain, more than half of it as timed specials. The one respite on this epic journey is the rest day on January 10.

KTM presents a comprehensive package of downloadable information about the Dakar 2015 and archive material covering its previous 13 victories in the online KTM Dakar Newsroom. KTM Racing News will provide results and current standings, and race reports daily throughout the Dakar 2015. Register here for the KTM Results Service and KTM Racing News.

In 2015 there is a starting list of 168 in the motorcycle class and around 88 riders are on KTM machines. In addition to the riders in the official KTM factory teams, some 40 privateers have signed up for the full KTM Customer Service Package. The majority of the competitors are amateurs, many competing to fulfill a lifelong dream. Full list of competing riders in 2015 

Dakar 2015 
Starts Sunday Jan. 4 – Rest Day Saturday Jan 10 – finishes Saturday Jan 17

Stages
4.1 - Stage 1: Buenos Aires to Villa Carlos Paz – 663 km liaison, 175 km special (838 km)
5.1 - Stage 2: Villa Carlos Paz to San Juan – 107 km liaison, 518 km special (625 km)
6.1 - Stage 3: San Juan to Chilecito – 437 km liaison, 220 km special (657 km)
7.1 - Stage 4: Chilecito to Copiapó – 594 km liaison, 315 km special (909 km)
8.1 - Stage 5: Copiapó to Antofagasta - 235 km liaison, 458 km special (697 km)
9.1 - Stage 6: Antofagasta to Iquique - 369 km liaison, 319 km special (688 km)
REST DAY IQUIQUE (January 10)
11.1 - Stage 7: Iquique to Uyuni - 395 km liaison, 321 km special (717 km)
12.1 - Stage 8: Uyuni to Iquique - 24 liaison, 781 km special (805 km)
13.1 - Stage 9: Iquique to Calama – 88 km liaison, 451 km special (539 km)
14.1 - Stage 10: Calama Marathon Stage – 520 km liaison, 371 km special (891 km)
15.1 - Stage 11: Marathon Stage to Termas Rio Honda - 161 km liaison, 351 km special (512 km)
16.1 - Stage 12: Termas Rio Honda to Rosario - 725 km liaison, 298 km special (1024 km)
17.1 - Stage 13: Rosario to Buenos Aires 219 km liaison, 174 km special (393 km)
 

Total liaison distance: 4,543 km; total timed distance: 4,752 km 
Total distance 9,294 km

Dakar 2015 – the numbers
  • Dates for start and finish of the 2015 Dakar RallyJanuary 4-17 – Official ceremonial start in Buenos Aires on January 3)
  • Rest Day: January 10
  • Total route: 9,295 km (5,775.6 miles)
  • Total timed specials: 4,752 km (2,952.8 miles)
  • Longest distance in a single day: 1024 km – 636.3 miles (Stage 12)
  • Longest timed special: 781 km – 485.3 miles (Stage 8)
    Shortest distance in a single day: 
    393 km – 244.2 miles (Stage 13)
  • Support vehicles: 3 x 26-ton MAN support trucks; 4 x air-conditioned Adria motorhomes for riders’ sleeping quarters 10-12 hours on the bike
    Average rainfall in the Atacama Desert (Chile): 0 mm
  • Total number of competitors (in motorcycle class): 168
  • Number of KTM starters: 88
  • Engine capacity of KTM Rally machine: 450 cc
  • Number of KTM Dakar victories: 13
  • Number of Dakar victories for KTM’s Marc Coma: 4 


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Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Racing: Ready For Dakar

The Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Racing Team is making its final preparations for the 2015 Dakar Rally and can reveal this year’s team livery for multi-time Dakar winner and this year’s Cross Country Rallies World champion Marc Coma, 2014 Dakar runner-up Jordi Viladoms, along with Ruben Faria and Sam Sunderland.

The team’s recent test held a few weeks ago was deemed a success, as adjustments were made ready for the prestigious race, which begins on January 4th 2015. With a new KTM 450 RALLY factory machine launched just ahead of this year’s event, in which Marc Coma and Jordi Viladoms went on to take the top two positions, the team has twelve months more experience with its race bike and only minor refinements have been made in preparation for the most important race of the year for the rally squad.




Coma has had a superb season, as he took victory in the Cross-Country Rallies World Championship with consistently strong performances to add to his extensive accolade, which includes four Dakar wins. The Spanish-ace is once again meticulously preparing everything for the 2015 edition of the race with one intention, to continue KTM’s 13 consecutive Dakar wins for another year. He is joined again by fellow countryman Viladoms, who had nearly no preparation on the KTM machine last year and has been able to build on his runner-up success while having a real preparation for the 2015 rally with the entire KTM team.

Unfortunately for Ruben Faria, who was ruled out of last year’s event in the early stages, his preparations have been more difficult, as a shoulder injury has thwarted his progress in recent weeks. The Portuguese rider expects to be at full fitness ahead of the Dakar race. Finally, the team apprentice and British star Sam Sunderland has had a strong preparation for this year’s rally with good results during the year, despite some injury niggles, and he will be looking to extend his results as he learns from his colleagues after taking a stage win in the 2014 Dakar.

Additional KTM factory supported riders
There are also other notable contenders aboard KTM machinery with Polish rider Jakub Przygonski (Orlen Team) continuing to work with the factory team, and Dakar-beginners Austrian Matthias Walkner (Betsafe KTM Rally Factory Racing Team), and Australian Toby Price (KTM Rally Factory Racing Team) looking to embark on their first South American rally journey.

Alex Doringer (KTM Rally Team Manager): “We have a strong team again, and now a year on working with the bike, which we know is already proven, we have a lot of confidence again for this rally. For sure it’s one of the most difficult races in the world and anything can happen, but we are ready. We have of course a lot of experience in the team, and now with Sam on board we can look at the future. It’s always a busy time as we make these final preparations, but we are happy with the progress and looking forward to getting to the start line in January.”

Dakar 2015
The rally begins in Argentina in Buenos Aires and navigates over 9000km of a variety of terrain and altitudes through Chile, Bolivia and back into Argentina. It’s a massive test of endurance for both man and machine, with the calculations, speed, navigation comprised with the physical and mental test that riders take on each day. Anything can happen during the race, which takes place over 14 days including one rest day, and the Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Racing Team is looking to fend off the competition once again for victory.

www.dakar.com

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Dakar 2015 - Marathon Stages!

There's 4,752 KM's of special stages for the motorcycles this year! 9295 total km's. That's a lot of riding no matter the kind of surface. The Dakar si always challenging but this year seems to be particularly challenging. It'll be great to watch!

The only way to complete the Dakar is through a combination of endurance and determination. The competitors will have an additional problem to resolve on the 9,000 kilometres to be covered in Argentina, Chile and Bolivia: adopting and maintaining the right momentum, while the route continuously endeavours to break it. Depending on the day, both the setting and the pace will change, moving from rocky routes to desert dunes and from endurance stages to extreme sprints. Given the competitors’ inability to recognize clearly identifi ed sections, in particular they must capitalise upon their ability to adapt… and to control their stamina. The marathon stages will defi nitely remind them of this basic rule of off-road races.
 
 
The Dakar tests competitors and their vehicles in extreme endurance. The marathon stages, where drivers cannot use their assistance teams, are a particular test of their ability to independently manage their mechanics. This year, cars and trucks, which have not taken part in a marathon stage since 2005, will have to tackle this additional difficulty.

Split over two days, a marathon stage involves some of the competitors spending the night in an isolated bivouac. The vehicles are taken into a closed area, where only help between competitors is authorised. Despite the technical challenge which this constraint represents, the drivers also enjoy a different, highly convivial atmosphere. In Uyuni, it will be the car teams which will spend a night apart, followed by the motorcyclists and quad bikers the next day. The truck category will have its own dedicated bivouac in the middle of the Atacama Desert.

To make organisation of the marathon stages possible, a new system has been set up at the heart of the extended stay in Iquique. So, on 11th January, three races will take place on three different routes and in two countries. This meant there was also a need to incorporate staggered rest days for the motorcyclists and quad bikers.

For several years now, the organisers have used their in-depth knowledge of the South American terrain to refi ne the routes and off er specifi c features for each category. For the 2015 edition, the motorcyclists and quad bikers will face an additional diffi culty, with a particularly dense second week: four marathon days in total. 35% of the kilometres they cover without the cars and trucks will be in the form of special stages.

Different routes and rest days also gives the car teams the opportunity to fully demonstrate their potential, both in terms of driving and navigation. With 1,382km of open space (a third of the special stages) the cars will be able to compete without being slowed down by overtaking... and will also enjoy routes on virgin terrain. The truck drivers will find themselves in this situation for more than 600km.

For more details check out the Dakar website: http://www.dakar.com/dakar/2015/us/route.html

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Dakar Rally starts TODAY!

Check out a little preview of what do expect

http://youtu.be/gR48-5KDuVY

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Triumph for Despres and KTM at Dakar 2013

Red Bull KTM factory rider Cyril Despres of France on Saturday picked up his fifth Dakar trophy when he crossed the line of the 2013 edition of the world’s most famous rally as the winner after more than 8000 km. It was KTM’s twelfth consecutive title and KTM riders took all five top overall paces.


Despres’ long time ‘water carrier’ or factory support rider Ruben Faria of Portugal won the final stage and finished second overall, ten minutes 43 behind the leader. Chilean Chaleco Lopez (KTM) was third overall while Slovak KTM rider Ivan Jakes was fourth and KTM factory rider Joan Pedrero of Spain was fifth.

The French rider, a veteran of this amazing race said it all after securing his fifth title: “I went for it, with all the surprises a Dakar can throw at you,” he said. “Little navigational mistakes, perhaps fewer than the others, taking care of my motorcycle and being in a good team. In the end, I've got a good reason to be very happy. The day when winning the Dakar becomes easy, it won't be interesting any more. And this day is still far! It's too long, it's too tough, it's too hot. It's too cold. You've got to get up early in the morning. You've got to find your way out of the maze of dunes in Peru and Chile. You've got to tackle the stones and cactuses on the courses near Córdoba. It's just too tricky for it to be easy to win. And it's even better when you win a difficult race. I'm always focused on what I have to do. We're up against a grueling element, the desert. Then there are the stones, the Andes... and we experience them. It's as real as it gets.” Despres won Stage three and led the overall standings from Stage 10.

Faria too was thrilled to finish second. “Yesterday I lost second place and I thought that just being on the podium would be great for me; to be Cyril Despres' lieutenant. I didn’t believe it could happen that I could finish second. It's inconceivable.”

Alex Doringer KTM’s Factory Team Manager praised Despres’ riding, his tactics and strategy and said after the race that he was very proud of his entire team. “The result is amazing. The whole team did an exceptional job and we have to thank them all. We believed in our bikes and we believed in our riders. All seven of our factory riders finished and to have five KTM riders on the top of the list was a fantastic result.”

The Dakar 2013 had more than its share of dramatic moments for the KTM Factory team, including the last minute withdrawal just before the race by Despres’ long time teammate and rival Marc Coma. Coma’s injured shoulder, banged up in a crash in the Morocco Rally late last year was still giving him problems and doctors declared he was not fit enough to compete.

Despres also suffered a major setback in the marathon Stages 7-8 during which riders were unable to call upon outside mechanical help from their team. He was put back on track after being offered the engine from KTM supported rider Marek Dabrowski of the Orlen Team and by the collective effort of his fellow KTM riders who banded together to work at night and change out the engine themselves in the riders’ bivouac.

Jakub Przygonski of Poland and Riaan Van Niekerk of South Africa of KTM’s Factory B team finished eleventh and thirteenth. Kurt Caselli, KTM’s American rider drafted in to ride for injured Coma and Darryl Curtis of South Africa both recovered well from crashes and technical setbacks to put adversity behind them and finished a creditable 31st and 32nd.

Another outstanding performance came from KTM Australia’s Ben Grabham who entered this test of man and machine after a massive crash one year ago while competing in the Australian outback when he hit a kangaroo at high speed and broke his back in several places. KTM had five riders in the top ten and 10 in the top 20 finishers in the 2013 edition.

Results Stage Fourteen – final stage
La Serena to Santiago: total distance 630 km, timed special 128 km
1, Ruben Faria, Portugal KTM 1 hour 43.06
2, Joan Barreda, Spain, Husqvarna at 0.08
3, Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Honda at 0.24
4, Mario Patrao, Portugal, Suzuki at 1.21
5, Olivier Pain, France, Yamaha at 2.14
Other KTM
9, Ivan Jakes, Slovakia, KTM at 3.07
12, Jakub Przygonski, Poland, KTM at 3.43
14, Cyril Despres, France, KTM at 3.58
16, Ben Grabham, Australia, KTM at 4.50
22, Riaan Van Niekerk, South Africa, KTM at 8.36
51, Kurt Caselli, USA, KTM at 16.45
56, Darryl Curtis South Africa at 18.24

Final results after 14 stages and over 8,000 km from Lima, Peru to Santiago, Chile
1, Despres KTM – wins fifth Dakar title; twelfth consecutive title for KTM
2, Faria KTM at 10.43
3, Chaleco Lopez, Chile, KTM at 18.48
4, Jakes, KTM at 23.54
5, Joan Pedrero, Spain, KTM at 55.29

Other KTM

11, Jakub Przygonski, Poland, KTM at 1:33.59
13, Riaan Van Niekerk, South Africa KTM at 2:02.54
15, Ben Grabham, Australia, KTM at 2:45.14
16, Plan Anders Ullevalseter, Norway, KTM at 3:00.56
19, Henk Knuiman, Netherlands, KTM at 3:15.20
31, Caselli, KTM at 6:03.40
32, Curtis, KTM at 6:05.38

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Don Hatton retires from the 2013 Dakar race


We are sad to announce that Don Hatton has retired from the 2013 Dakar Rally

Late in Stage 3 of the event Don was involved in a collision with one of the large race trucks. After a gallant attempt to keep the bike going with no navigation equipment, no driving lights and barely operational approximately 4km from the end of the stage the bike failed to re-start. He was brought to the end of the stage by Dakar medical staff, which follow the race to ensure the safety of all the entrants, and who had been following him since approximately 20km from end of the stage.

Don has not suffered any life-threatening injuries and appears to be ok.

We wish to thank all of Rally Raid Canada’s supporters, sponsors and fans. Hopefully we will be back for the 2014 Dakar !

For more information and photos check out www.rallyraidcanada.com

Rally Raid Racing Factoid – things you might not know or thought of :

These are huge events to finance, organize and facilitate. It takes thousands and thousand of hours of preparation and operational work to lay out the route, make sure there is enough fuel stops, man the check points etc.

To give you and idea of just how many people are involved, just consider how many medical staff there are. Four doctors on motorcycles to accompany the race, four doctors in support vehicles (car or 4x4), two doctors in helicopters, two nurses specialized in trauma, and two physiotherapists. That is more than some of our smaller communities in Canada have in their hospitals!

And tonight we are thankful to the organizers and the volunteers of the Dakar for their foresight for making sure Don made it to the bivouac safely.

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Don Hatton completes the second stage of the 2013 Dakar Rally

Canadian Don Hatton has successfully completed the second day of the 15 day long Dakar Rally. He has moved up finish the stage 163rd overall in the motorcycle class.

Today’s stage was from Pisco, Lima and back again. It comprised of a short liaison section of only 85 km but a fairly long 242 km special. The Dakar organizers labelled the day “nothing but sand” and they were not wrong. The special stage was comprised of some spectacular scenery of huge sand dunes made up of very soft, fine granulated, wind blown sand. Beautiful to view but very hard to ride a motorcycle in.

“The bike and the support team are great. The best I have worked with since I started in Dakar racing in 2008” Don says. “The sand is a challenge. It is just never ending. And starting late today at the back of the motorcycles makes it even worse. Not because of the terrain but because the faster of the cars are catching and passing you at what seems 100 mph while I am trying not to get stuck in the sand. It’s just crazy!”

Days Completed: 2 Days to go: 13

Dakar Racing Factoid – things you might not know or thought of :

When we all travel oversees we tend to get upset stomachs. It is due to a variety of things such as the stress of traveling, different foods and water supplies, heat etc. Known by various names: Montezuma’s Revenge, Delli Belly, etc it is not fun for a traveler to have to miss part of their vacation due to this ailment. But if you are a competitor in the Dakar race that is even more challenging. There is not a lot of restroom accommodations in rural Peru and if nature calls you have to answer it. Immediately. So off you go to try and find a private place, stop, remove all your safety gear and go about your business. Oh did we mention that you are surrounded by crowds of spectators.  Challenging to say the least but then this is Dakar.

For more information and photos check out www.rallyraidcanada.com

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Don Hatton finishes the first day in the 2013 Dakar Rally


Don Hatton of Rally Raid Canada has finished the first day of the 2013 Dakar Rally in Peru.

The first day’s short special stage from Lima to Pisco of only 13 km is to sort out the starting place for day 2 of the Rally and to allow the teams to get acclimatized to the rally. The better the time today, the better the starting position on the next day. Don finished 177th today.

“We know our speed is not the end all be all today – finishing is more important. Today’s special was more like a motorcross style ride in sand. Sand with no “crust” on it to allow you to get momentum going. ” Don notes.

The stage may be short but it is just as important as any stage on the Dakar. First day withdrawls due to crashes or mechanical failure are not uncommon.

Days Completed: 1 Days to go: 14

Rally Raid Racing Factoid – things you might not know or thought of :

This is the 35th edition of the Dakar. It is the 5th to take place on the South American continent, which has hosted the event since 2009.  This years event is from January 5 to January 20 with the competitors following the route between Lima Peru and Santiago Chile, with a rest day on January 12 in Argentina.


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Don Hatton is officially in the 2013 Dakar Race


Scrutineering is complete. Don Hatton is officially an entrant in the 2013 Dakar !!

“I am happy and relieved” noted Don after the seven hour task of getting himself, his gear, and the Husqvarna motorcycle through all the various technical inspections. He had no doubts about the quality of the bike built by his teammate and legendary Dakar racer Simon Pavey. Anytime you are dealing with a large international governing body, in a foreign language (in this case French), interpretations of regulations can sometimes be difficult, but in this case everything went as planned.

Don test rode the Husqvarna TE 449 rally bike in the past couple of days, setting up the suspension and getting to know the bike. “It rides just like a normal dirt bike, not like a heavily laden rally bike like the old KTM 690 was. Which is a good thing because the sand dunes are endless, with the softest sand we have seen since racing in Dubai in 2009!” Don says.

As the bike and gear are now sequestered in the Parc Ferme until the beginning of the race the team has a day off to see some of Lima and get together with some of their fellow Dakar racers. The talk in the bivouac is of the first few days of endless stages of sand, elevation in excess of 3,000 meters and the grueling pace set by the organizers.

For more information and photos check out www.rallyraidcanada.com

Good luck Don!

Check out the following video (at the 14 second mark) where you can see Don and Simon Pavey.





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Dakar Rally Preview from KTM

The Dakar Rally, a highlight of the annual motorsports calendar has been safe in the hands of KTM since 2001 when Italian rider Fabrizio Meoni won on the Austrian brand’s LC4 660R machine. Now, ahead of the 2013 event in South America it will be up to last year’s winner and KTM factory rider Cyril Despres of France to challenge for his fifth Dakar prize and KTM’s twelfth consecutive title riding the KTM 450 Rally bike.


Together Despres and his KTM teammate Marc Coma of Spain have dominated the rally since 2005, winning the title in alternate years. But just before Christmas came the disappointing news that Coma has had to withdraw from the 2013 edition because he has not fully recovered from a shoulder injury sustained in the Rally of Morocco. It was a blow to the KTM Factory Team but team manager Alex Doringer underlined that because the Dakar is one of the world’s toughest offroad competitions it was the correct decision. Even though Coma was working with physiotherapists and his doctors right up to the last minute, he still has some lack of movement in his shoulder and misses the high level of fitness needed for such a grueling event.

While Despres is in good form and is again the outstanding rider in the field, the challenge of winning the twelfth title for KTM will not be easy as rival teams go all out to break the KTM deadlock on the bike category.

In 2012, Despres and Coma were only minutes apart in actual riding times after 15 days and more than 8,000 km of the world’s most challenging terrain. While it will now be up to Despres to again challenge for the title, American Kurt Caselli has been named to ride Coma’s 450 Rally bike in 2013.

KTM had registered a reserve rider with the organizers in case one of the factory team was unable to compete and Caselli has welcomed the opportunity to step in. Winner of multiple AMA offroad titles and the current US Hare and Hounds Champion, Caselli says it was always a career goal to compete in the Dakar. “To be able to race the greatest offroad race in the world aboard the best bike in the world is truly a blessing,” he said. “This is not only a milestone in my career but also in my life.” Meanwhile team manager Doringer underlined that Caselli would be riding in his first Dakar for experience and adventure and there would be no pressure on him to achieve a top position.

Despres is quick to point out that it is the race itself that is his biggest rival. “I am always cautious,” he says. “I always say that my biggest rival on the Dakar isn’t the other competitors but the desert itself. That is the thing on the Dakar that no one can master!” The French rider, considered at the peak of his career goes into the 2013 edition after victories in 2012 in the Desafio Littoral and the Morocco Rally.

Also riding in KTM colors once again and on the KTM 450 Rally factory bike will be the two regular support riders or “water carriers”, Ruben Faria of Portugal and Juan Pedrero of Spain. This year KTM is also fielding a Factory “B” Team made up of South African duo Darryl Curtis and Riaan van Niekerk, who are joined by Poland’s rising star rally personality Jakub ‘Kuba’ Przygonski.

The rally was moved to South America when the 2008 edition was canceled after terrorist threats in North Africa emerged the night before competitors were to set out from Portugal. Now for the first time the South American Dakar will take a north-south perspective over the 14 stages, starting in Lima, Peru and traveling south to finish in Santiago, Chile, taking in four stages in Argentina on the way. Riders set out on January 5 and finish on January 19 with one rest day scheduled on January 13. They will first tackle the coastal desert of southern Peru and according to organizers will be under constant pressure for the eight stages up until the rest day. Stage nine will be the longest of 2013, some 852 km.

While KTM will be challenging for its twelfth title, the company continues to support the many amateur riders who enter the race, many who wish to satisfy a lifelong desire for this big adventure. KTM supports some 40 riders with its comprehensive Customer Service Package as they attempt to complete what is one of their biggest physical and mental challenges.  Recently Despres offered tips for rally first timers (http://win.gs/UyECgK), where he advised them to know their machines and understand the physical and mental demands of this epic event.

The Dakar Rally in South America has proved to be a big success in the countries it visits. The 2013 edition is set to deliver the thrills and excitement to riders and fans that will continue to cement it as one of the highlights of the motorsports calendar. KTM goes into the race with the hope of claiming its twelfth title but regardless of the outcome, the Austrian brand will continue to use the Dakar Rally to showcase both its premium rally bike and the skill of the KTM factory riders.

The KTM Dakar story so far:
2001: Fabrizio Meoni, Italy
2002: Meoni
2003: Richard Sainct, France
2004: Nani Roma, Spain
2005: Cyril Despres
2006: Marc Coma
2007: Despres
2008: Rally cancelled
2009: Coma
2010: Despres
2011: Coma
2012: Despres
2013: ???

Dakar 2013: The first half stages
Jan. 5 - Stage 1: Lima (Peru) – Pisco – total distance 263 km: 250 km liaison and 13 km special (shortest stage in the 2013 edition)
Jan 6 – Stage 2: Pisco - Pisco (loop) total distance 327 km: 85 km liaison; 242 km special
Jan 7 – Stage 3: Pisco - Nazca – total distance 343 km: 100 km liaison; 243 km special
Jan 8 – Stage 4: Nazca - Arequipa – total distance 718 km: 429 km liaison; 289 special
Jan 9 – Stage 5: Arequipa - Arica – total distance 411 km: 275 km liaison; 136 km special
Jan 10– Stage 6: Arica – Calama – Total distance 767 km: 313 km liaison; 454 km special
Jan 11 – Stage 7: Calama  – Salta (rally enters Argentina) – total distance 806 km: 586 km liaison; 220 km special
Jan 12 – Stage 8: Salta – Tucuman – total distance 738 km: 247 liaison; 491 km special

Jan 13: REST DAY in Tucuman, Argentina

Dakar 2013: The second half stages
Jan 14 – Stage 9: Tucuman – Cordoba – total distance 852 km: 259 km liaison; 593 km special (longest stage of the 2013 edition)
Jan 15 – Stage 10: Cordoba – La Rioja – total distance 636 km: 279 km liaison; 357 km special
Jan 16 – Stage 11: La Rioja - Fiambala – total distance 483 km: 262 km liaison; 221 km special
Jan 17 – Stage 12: Fiambala – Copiaco (rally enters Chile) - total distance 715 km: 396 km liaison; 319 km special
Jan 18 – Stage 13: Copiaco – La Serena – total distance 735 km: 294 km liaison; 441 km special
Jan 19 – Stage 14: La Serena – Santiago– total distance 630 km: 502 liaison; 128 km special.
Jan 20 –Closing ceremony Santiago

Dakar 2013 – the numbers
Dates for start and finish of the 2011 Dakar Rally: January 5-20
Total route: 8432 km (5,239.4 miles)
Total timed specials: 4146 km (2,576 miles)
Longest distance in a single day: 852 km (Stage 9)
Shortest distance in a single day: 250 km (Stage 1)
Highest point of altitude: 4800 m
Average rainfall in the Atacama Desert (Chile): 0 mm
Number of competitors (bikes): 196
Number of KTM starters: 66
Engine capacity of KTM Rally machine: 450 cc
Number of KTM Dakar victories: 11
Number of Dakar victories for KTM’s Marc Coma: 3
Number of Dakar victories for KTM’s Cyril Despres: 4

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Don Hatton races in the 2013 Dakar Race


The bike is built, shipped and is hopefully at the customs depot in Lima along with the rest of the Dakar competitors vehicles.  A thousand little details are being looked after by various people around the globe all cumulating in Canadian Don Hatton starting in the 2013 Dakar Race on January 5, 2013 in Lima Peru. The race lasts 17 days and covers nearly 10,000 kilometers throughout South America.

“I’m nervous about the race but really excited about being back in the Dakar” Don said in a recent interview. This will be Don’s fifth attempt at the fabled endurance race.

The next big hurdle on the agenda is the day all Dakar racers fear: scrutineering day.

Scrutineering is where the organizers of the Dakar Race go over everything with the racers. We mean everything. They review your documentation, your race vehicle, your support vehicle (if you have one), the registered members of your team. Everything. And if they find something that cannot be fixed by the time scrutineering closes you do not get to compete.

The technical inspectors review your vehicle. Does it have the proper lights, navigation equipment, adequate fuel supply, and emergency water carrying capacity? Does it have the proper and authorized decals in the correct places? Are all the movable pieces, certain nuts and bolts, secured by the proper safety wire?

There is a mind boggling myriad of technical inspections any of which if the vehicle fails could cause the organizers to disallow you from competing in the race. There are some 18 different inspection stations that the competitor, his documentation and his vehicle must pass through to get final approval. Then they are allowed to get their time card and target time (time they will start the race on race day) and enter the Parc Ferme (secured parking area for the vehicles).

Lets keep our figures crossed that Don and Simon bikes make it through this next step in the process and onto Dakar !

For more information and photos check out www.rallyraidcanada.com


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Coma out for Dakar 2013

KTM announces Coma unable to ride in Dakar 2013

KTM, the brand whose factory teams and bikes have sealed eleven consecutive Dakar Rally victories announced in a press conference in Barcelona on Friday that one of its key riders, Spaniard Marc Coma will be unable to ride in the 2013 edition of the world’s most famous rally.

Coma, who injured his shoulder in an accident in the Morocco Rally in October is not completely fit. The team has therefore decided he should not tackle the event that involves more than 8000 km of perilous riding over the world’s toughest offroad terrain through Peru, Argentina and Chile.

“Marc is one of our key riders and together with his teammate Cyril Despres has giving KTM the last seven Dakar titles. While we are disappointed that he is unable to ride, the health and welfare of our factory riders is the most important consideration. If he is not 100 percent fit, it is better for him to sit out the 2013 rally,” said KTM factory team manager Alex Doringer. Coma, winner of three Dakar titles and the reigning World Cross Country World Championship is, together with his teammate Despres, recognized as one of the world’s finest exponents of rally sport.

A deeply disappointed Coma spoke after the press conference saying: “We worked really hard with the doctors and the physiotherapists right up until the last minute but we have to be realistic. One of the muscles in my shoulder is still giving me problems and there is a lack of movement. This is the logical consequence and we must be honest and clear about the situation.”

Coma, who will now concentrate his efforts on regaining complete fitness ahead of the rest of the 2013 season and looking forward to the Dakar 2014 said he was sad for the team but underlined that the Dakar is a ‘winning project’ for KTM so there was no alternative than to make this announcement. Team manager Alex Doringer said he hoped Marc would be at the start in Lima to wish the team well and see them launch their attack.


Doringer underlined that in view of the high profile that the Dakar Rally has for KTM, that the company had always taken the precaution of having a reserve rider registered with the Dakar organizers, ASO. He said they had now given the green light for the accredited reserve rider to step in and ride Coma’s KTM 450 Rally bike.

“We always took the precaution to have a reserve rider properly registered in case of such circumstances and it will be KTM USA’s Kurt Caselli who will step in to ride Coma’s bike. We want him to ride the Dakar without any pressure, embrace the adventure and learn from the experience,” Doringer said.

Caselli is at the forefront of the US offroad scene and is the current AMA National Hare and Hound Champion. He is a multiple national title winner in premium US offroad events, has been a stalwart in the US International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) Championship and was a member of the KTM team that recently finished second in the 2012 edition of the legendary Baja 1000. Caselli’s start number is yet to be confirmed.

Kurt Caselli: “It has always been a goal in my career to compete in the Dakar. There would be no way possible for me to achieve this without the ongoing support of KTM. To be able to race the greatest off road race in the world aboard the best bike in the world is truly a blessing. This is not only a milestone in my career but also in my life.”

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2013 Husqvarna Rallye Team presented


Husqvarna Motorcycles hosted the presentation of the Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain who will take part in the 2013 Dakar rally.

The Husqvarna Rallye Team By Speedbrain will be made up of four official riders: Joan Barreda (Spain), winner of the latest Pharoans Rally and second in the Morocco Rally, Paulo Goncalves (Portugal), Alessandro Botturi (Italy) and Australian Matt Fish.

The bike will be the Husqvarna TE449RR by Speedbrain with which the team competed in all 2012 events of the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship finishing in second place in the constructor's standings. The bike's success rate and its competitiveness has aroused a lot of interest amongst private riders, including seasoned title winners such as Jordi Viladoms who has hired a Husqvarna TE449RR by Speedbrain for the Dakar 2013.

Klaus Allisat President of Husqvarna Motorcycles: “Rallies, in general, and especially Dakar are strong and growing communication channels which attract people and have a worldwide media visibility. Husqvarna is a global player which is expanding its business into new markets and this visibility helps us to increase our brand awareness. I'm really confident in our team and I can say we have been working hard to be a protagonist. The bike, the Husqvarna TE449 RR, is competitive and has already showed itself to be fast and reliable. Finally, our riders have worked hard to be perfectly fit for the race, so we'll be expecting to be on the podium as many times as possible in this race”.

Wolfgang Fischer Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain, Team Manager: “We can't wait for the Dakar Rally to get started and are well equipped for this endurance test. The summer preparations ran superbly. We have further developed and optimized the Husqvarna TE449RR by Speedbrain, and our riders have shown regularly during the season that they are capable of competing with the best in the world. They have a say in who wins and who ends up on the podium. And that is also what we have set our sights on for the ‘Dakar'. I would like to thank all the team members, riders, mechanics and engineers who have been so committed and worked so hard on this project. A huge thank you goes to the BMW Group and Husqvarna Motorcycles in Varese.” The thirty-fifth edition of the legendary rally will set off from Lima exactly a month from today on January 5th, being held on South American soil for the fifth time in its history. The race will head down through Peru, Argentina and finishes some 8423 km (5264 miles) later in Santiago Chile on the 20th of January.“

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Botturi at the Dakar with Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain

Botturi at the Dakar with Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain

Husqvarna Rallye Team By Speedbrain have signed up top Italian rider Alessandro Botturi to take part in the Dakar ’13 aboard the Husqvarna TE449 RR by Speedbrain. This will be the second Dakar for the thirty-seven years old rider from Lumezzane (BS), after his surprising eighth place finish in last year’s rally which earned him the prize of "rookie rider" in the competition.

Botturi brings from the world of enduro a wealth of experience, in which he has won a string of important victories in the world championship and the International Six Days, as well as having taken nine Italian titles.

Botturi has been concentrating on international rallies for a year now, getting excellent results in the FIM Cross Country Rally, finishing in second overall place in the rally of Sardinia.

"I feel really honoured to be a part of such a highly rated team like the Husqvarna Rallye Team By Speedbrain at the Dakar right now." – stated Alessandro Botturi. - "The TE449RR has proved itself to an extremely competitive bike especially in the most recent races. It has won the Pharaons and was one of the main protagonists of the Morocco Rally. As always I’ll be doing my best to help bring the team success in such an important event. "

"Alessandro Botturi’s inclusion in the Husqvarna Rallye Team By Speedbrain settles the line-up for the next Dakar" points out team manager Wolfgang Fischer, "with Barreda, Goncalves, Fish and Botturi we’ve got an extremely competitive team that blends well together, who we can rely on to be right up there with the competition. I like to take this opportunity to wish Cody Quinn all the best after his thigh-bone injury at last week’s Baja 1000, who won’t be able to form part of the team, but will be on the Husqvarna TE449RR by Speedbrain as soon as he will be fully recovered."

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Honda's Paris-Dakar website

Honda has a special Dakar site featuring details of the Honda marquee in the Paris Dakar rally from 1981 to 1989. It's broken out into two sections. The Dakar is fast approaching and Honda is back in teh rally for 2013. This is an interesting look back into their history in the event.

- Honda's History of the Paris-Dakar Rally Part 1

- Honda's History of the Paris-Dakar Rally Part 2


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Husqvarna TE449 RR by Speedbrain at Dakar Rally 2013


No desert too wide, no mountain too high: the Husqvarna TE449 RR by Speedbrain.

Back at the start of 2010, Speedbrain began developing a version of the BMW G450X, which was specifically designed to meet the demands of marathon rallies. BMW made its return to the Rally Dakar with this bike at the start of 2011. By spring 2011, the engineers at Speedbrain had already started to develop and assemble a new rally bike: the Husqvarna TE449 RR by Speedbrain.

It is an ultra-modern and innovative racing motorbike, which is particularly light, possesses good handling and stability on a wide range of terrains, giving the rider maximum confidence. Husqvarna is feeding its know-how into the further development of the engine and endurance mapping to improve stability. Speedbrain and its research and development department are responsible for developing the chassis and rally-specific components. The bike is continuously being developed and optimised in cooperation with the riders.

At the heart of the bike is the Husqvarna TE449 engine, which has been modified to handle the demands of rallying. Husqvarna is responsible for the development, design and overall performance diagnostics of the 450cc engine, and supplies the race-ready power train to the Speedbrain team. The Husqvarna TE449 engine is one of the bike’s biggest strengths and has been optimised again ahead of the 2013 Rally Dakar.

The electronics form one complex but key area, as the rally bike is equipped with numerous navigational and safety components.

The Husqvarna TE449 RR by Speedbrain has its own electronics system, which was developed specifically for this motorcycle and is also the subject of continuous modifications and improvements.

In addition, Speedbrain reworked and partly redeveloped the entire frame concept after the 2012 Rally Dakar. As such, the bike that lines up at the 2013 Rally Dakar will be a further development of the bike used in 2012, which has been improved in many areas.

Among the features of the rally version is a very compact, concept-driven package in the chassis area. This allows the optimal integration of the two-part central/rear tank in the bike, which in turn guarantees the rider maximum freedom of movement, Enduro-like ergonomics and perfect balance. The fact that the Husqvarna TE449 RR by Speedbrain is so light is down, in part, to the aerodynamically optimised Carbon Kevlar fairing and a special rear part. The Carbon Kevlar engine protection with integrated three-litre water tank gives the engine and the low rally header pipe full protection.




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Patrick Beaulé Continues to Build a Strong Team for return to DAKAR.

Patrick Beaulé continues to build an acceptionally stong team ahead of his return to Dakar for 2013. Today Patrick announces new support from (in alphabetical order):

CTi knee braces are the ultimate combination of stabilization and protection of the knee joint.
Introduced in 1983 the CTi concept has evolved over time, the core philosophy remains unchanged - a static support system consisting of a rigid frame that will hold the bones in correct alignment, providing high levels of control to prevent instability. The constant development and improvement of this classic design is why the CTi remains the top choice of athletes and leading Clinical Specialists around the world.

Elka Suspension of Boucherville, Quebec is an industry-leading manufacturer of innovative high-performance suspension products targeted mostly at powersports and action sports, for both racing and recreational applications. The company’s innovative shock absorbers have been used worldwide by many professional racers to win numerous races and championship titles;

Kutvek Graphics of St. Eustach Quebec is a producer of high-quality personalized graphics for motocross, quads, side-by-side, motoneige/snowmobile, motomarine/seadoo, and extreme sports;

Lachapelle Racing Products (LRP) of Granby, Quebec is the Canadian distributor of Billet Racing Products, Enduro Engineering, E-line, Fasst company, Flatland Racing, G2 ergonomics, GPR, JD Jetting, Sicass Racing, Stealhy Offroad, Trailtech, Warp 9 Racing, Zap Technix, Accu-mix, Grunge Brush, and Mud Suds Products;

LS2 Helmets of Agentina is a producer of high quality helmets and accessories. They are the official helmet of the 2013 Dakar; and, 

Overseas Express Consolidators Canada Inc of Montreal was founded in 1984. The OEC
Group has grown from one office in Montreal, Canada to become one of the leading logistics providers from Asia to North America spanning 60 countries and in over 230 locations.

These companies, along with support from our previously announced sponsor Boris Beer and top-tier sponsors Aldo Racing and KTM Canada ensure that Patrick’s Dakar effort remains credible, and well positioned for success in the objective of achieving a strong placement in the event, as well as securing the title of only Canadian to complete the Dakar in both the automotive and motorcycle categories.

Racing fans can follow the action as Patrick prepares for this event on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/PatrickBeauleDakar on www.FlannyMedia.com and on twitter @PatBeaule and @FlannyMedia.

Patrick Beaule is one of Canada’s most accomplished off-road motorcycle endurance racing champions. He holds an impressive list of titles: three Canadian Motorcycle Association (CMA) National Enduro Pro-class titles; one Canadian Enduro Championship (CEC) E1 Pro title; three Off-Road Ontario Provincial Enduro Pro-class titles; and, two prestigious International Six-Days Enduro (ISDE ) silver medals (Chile and New Zealand). In addition to these titles, Beaule has also won the infamous Corduroy Enduro in the Pro-class four times, was 3 times team Pro-class 12-hour endurance event winner in Quebec, and twice Pro-class 24-hour endurace ice-race team winner in Alberta. He is a finisher of the grueling DAKAR rally in 2012, and the 1st ever finishing automotive-class navigator in Canadian history.


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Canadian Don Hatton to enter 2013 Dakar


The bike has been purchased and shipped. The entrance fee has been paid. The support team has been assembled. We are off to Dakar 2013!

Don Hatton of Team Rally Raid Canada is entered in the most grueling motorcycle endurance race in the world. This is Don’s fifth entry in the 14 day long Dakar race – formally known as the Paris Dakar race till it’s move to South America in 2009 – part of the FIM World Rally Championship.

This year’s event is being hailed as the most difficult in the 35-year history of the rally. No easy first and second days to get used to the Rally schedule as in prior years, but rather a brutal first four days of in the sand dunes near Lima Peru prior to heading over Atacama Dessert with elevation in excess of 10,000 ft!

Don notes, “I am in the best riding shape I have been in the past few years. I am so looking forward to this year’s Dakar race. 2013 is the year we cross the finish line in Chile”.

Don has teamed with good friend and nine-time Dakar participant Simon Pavey. Simon is the well-known operator of the Off Road Skills Motorcycle Training School in Wales, UK. Simon is also well known for his training of Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman for their round the world motorcyle ride documented on the TV series “Long Way Round” as well as staring in the “Race to Dakar” documentary.  Don and Simon will be racing under the Delta Kunstoffe Husqvarna UK team banner with support provided by their talented and experienced race team.

The team is riding race prepared Husqvarna TE449 motorcycles in the Marathon Class. “BMW Canada (supplier of Husqvarna motorcycles in Canada) has been excellent to work with helping me source a Husqvarna TE449 in Canada. Although Husqvarna UK was more than willing to supply a bike for me to ride I wanted one sourced from and registered in Canada so that after the race I can bring the bike home and use it to promote the sport here in Canada” states Don.

For more information and photos check out www.rallyraidcanada.com


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Canadian - Patrick Beaule heading to Dakar 2013 sponsored by KTM

Patrick Beaule (who hails from Montreal, Canada) will be heading to the 2013 Dakar and he's got a lofty goal... To become the first Canadian to finish the Dakar on both two wheels AND four wheels. 

Don't count him out - he has already accomplished half of the goal having successfully completed the Dakar on four wheels as a navigator/co-pilot last year. For 2013 he's riding a KTM Rally 450.

He's got an impressive two-wheel resume to say the least so he's got a real shot at succeeding. Course- it is the Dakar and ANYTHING can happen.

You can follow him on his Facebook page HERE. NOTE - you may win an OGIO bag if you do! 
*photo courtesy (Indiegogo)

KTM has just announced that they're going to be sponsoring Patrick in fact! Full details below:

Patrick Beaulé today announces official support from KTM Canada for his Dakar 2013 effort. KTM as a motorcycle manufacturer is known for its race-ready motorcycles, and is synonymous with dominance in the Dakar Rally.

“As a racing company, KTM Canada is proud to have someone so driven like Patrick Beaule working for us and we fully support his dream to race Dakar,” says KTM Canada’s General Manager, Florian Burguet. “Patrick is quite active at the grassroots and national racing level in Canada; his energy and passion for endurance racing is second to none and his accomplishments speak for themselves. He’s an excellent role model for any racer! Considering his commitment, mental strength and experience, we are positive Patrick will earn a great result at his very first Dakar on two wheels.”

Beaulé underscores the importance of the KTM Canada deal. “KTM Canada’s sponsorhip for the 2013 Dakar really boosts our effort and prospects in the Dakar. Attracting KTM Canada reflects the hard work that our campaign has put in to develop a credible package that will bring value to all of our partners. Of course, everyone knows that I bleed Orange, and so having KTM Canada on board is also a natural fit for the whole team!”

To celebrate the announcement, KTM Canada is giving away an amazing, practical and stylish KTM branded OGIO gear bag to be drawn on October 15th from among all of Patrick’s Facebook page followers. Fans can get in on the draw simply by “liking” Patrick’s Dakar Facebook page - HERE. Anyone following the page by noon on October 15th will be entered into the draw. Fans can also follow Patrick through twitter on @PatBeaule.

Patrick Beaule is one of Canada’s most accomplished off-road motorcycle endurance racing champions. He holds an impressive list of titles: three Canadian Motorcycle Association (CMA) National Enduro Pro-class titles; one Canadian Enduro Championship (CEC) E1 Pro title; three Off-Road Ontario Provincial Enduro Pro-class titles; and, two prestigious International Six-Day Enduro (ISDE ) silver medals (Chile and New Zealand). In addition to these titles, Beaule has also won the infamous Corduroy Enduro in the Pro-class four times, was 3 times team Pro-class 12-hour endurance event winner in Quebec, and twice Pro-class 24-hour endurance ice-race team winner in Alberta. He is a finisher of the grueling DAKAR rally in 2012, and the 1st ever finishing automotive-class navigator in Canadian history




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Honda to participate in 2013 Dakar

Honda has announced its intention to participate as a works team in the motorcycle class in the Dakar Rally to be held in January 2013 in South America, travelling north to south through Peru, Chile and Argentina. Honda competed nine times in the motorcycle class in the forerunner of the present Dakar Rally, the Paris-Dakar Rally, from 1981 through to 1989, and was a winner five times during that period. Honda's return to Dakar Rally next year will be the first in 24 years since 1989.


The Honda team, to be called Team HRC, will include Portuguese rider Helder Rodrigues, who took third place in the 2012 Dakar Rally, and Brazilian Felipe Zanol, who brings a wealth of experience in motocross and enduro race events, as well as Sam Sunderland (United Kingdom) and Javier Pizzolito (Argentina). They will ride a prototype machine developed and produced by the Motorcycle R&D Center at Honda R&D. The prototype machine is based on the CRF450X, the popular worldwide enduro racing model that combines ease of handling with superior competitive strength. Kit parts designed for use on the standard CRF450X model have also been developed and will be made available to a limited number of teams.

Tetsuo Suzuki, President, Honda Racing Corporation, commented “The Dakar requires competitors to cover several hundred kilometers per day for more than two weeks. It needs a totally different type of vehicle from events such as motocross, trials and road races. Honda has put a great deal of effort into designing and building a powerful and winning machine. We are aiming for the championship from this first year.”

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Dakar 2013 schedule

The route of the 2013 Dakar has just been disclosed at a press conference and the 2013 event is set to depart from Lima on January 5th and after crossing Argentina, racers will finish the adventure in Santiago on January 20th. If they make it to the finish, the riders will have traveled more than 8,000 kilometers. It all starts 288 days from now according to the counter on the official Dakar website.

This will be the fifth edition organised on the South American continent. It'll be hosted by three countries. The new route puts the riders in the desert (a first) in a large chain of dunes right away and takes a north to south route.


There's the Grand Start plus five stages in Peru followed by 5 stages and a rest day in Argentina then 4 stages and the finish in Chile.


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KTM Dakar Update - Despres takes fourth Dakar title; Eleventh win for KTM

Red Bull KTM factory rider Cyril Despres on Sunday rode into Lima in triumph to seal his fourth career Dakar title and to present KTM with its eleventh consecutive win in this, the toughest event on the annual motorsports calendar.

His KTM teammate Marc Coma finished second overall in what was one of the most epic two-way battles in the rally’s history.

KTM has now won the motorcycle division of the Dakar rally every year since 2001, with the exception of 2008 when it was canceled because of security threats. In the 2012 edition, eight of the top 10 finishers and 15 of the top 20 rode KTM machines underlining the dominance of the Austrian brand’s sports bikes.

The race was a personal triumph for French-born Despres who first won in 2005 and repeated the victory in 2007, 2010 and again in 2012. His KTM factory teammate Marc Coma, who won the rally in 2006, 2009 and 2011 finished second after one of the Dakar’s most historic and closely fought battles. Both riders set the scene for a two-way competition right from the first stage and remained minutes apart until the penultimate stage on Saturday. Coma won five stages in the 2012 edition and Despres four but it was the turn of the Frenchman to ride in triumph into Lima.

Cyril Despres: Today we won and it's simply fantastic. This is without a shadow of a doubt the toughest Dakar I've ever raced in. It was difficult physically, but even more psychologically. Challenging yourself every morning and fighting on the course takes its toll on your mind. It's not like a 42-kilometer marathon; here, you have to earn your place every morning. All victories are beautiful, but this one is special because it came down to the wire and was decided at the last minute. This was an unimaginable scenario, with the leaders separated by mere seconds. I've done 90 or 85 rallies throughout my life, and this one was the one where I had to fight the hardest. Today will leave its mark on me.”

The final stage from Pisco to Lima was largely ceremonial with a 254 km liaison section along the Pacific coastline of southern Peru and a brief 29 km timed special, a final encounter with the coastal dunes in the middle of the liaison section. Riders started in reverse order for the final stage that completed this marathon, almost 9,000 km ride from Mar del Plata in Argentina to Lima. Along the way they encountered vastly different terrain ranging from the Argentinean pampas to the high Andes, the daunting Atacama Desert of Chile and finally the southern coastal plains and rios of Peru. It was the first time that the rally had included Peru and the first time it represented a dash from the Atlantic coastline to the Pacific

The last timed special went to Pal Anders Ullevalseter of Norway (KTM) who finished ahead of Coma in second place. Despres, who said after the penultimate stage that the effort to stay ahead of Coma had cost a huge amount of physical and mental energy coasted home in tenth place.

Only minutes had separated the two KTM leaders going into the penultimate stage and the competition was fierce. Since the beginning of the rally both riders had never let up in speed and determination. But in the heat of the battle on Friday, Coma made a huge jump on the bike and when he landed he knew he had gearbox problems. He nursed the bike back to the bivouac but also made a navigational error in the process and this was enough to give his rival the lead he needed.

A new Dakar rule in 2012 penalizes riders 15 minutes for the first change of engines and 45 minutes for the second. As the factory team had decided to change out both engines in the lead riders bikes one stage into the second half of the rally this meant that when Coma’s engine was changed a second time he was given another 45 minutes penalty, effectively handing the title to his teammate.

Alex Doringer, Team Manager for KTM’s factory team said he was delighted that his top two riders had taken first and second place. “The battle between them was amazing,” he said from the finish in Lima, adding the team was also very happy that Johnny Aubert from the KTM Enduro Factory Team finished in overall fourteenth place in his rookie Dakar ride. Johnny rode a standard series model KTM 450 Rally Replica and went into the rally with a mission to learn and enjoy.

KTM’s motorsports expert Heinz Kinigadner, himself a former Dakar rider said it was a great day for the company. “This battle between Cyril Despres and Marc Coma was one of the tightest and one of the most interesting in the history of the rally. They were virtually wheel on wheel in almost every stage. They both gave everything both physically and mentally and they both deserve to go into the Dakar record books for this great effort. It is naturally unfortunate that Marc had some gearbox problems in the penultimate stage and picked up a 45-minute penalty for the engine change. Otherwise their times at the finish line would have been only minutes apart.”

Results Stage 14

1, Pal Anders Ullevalseter, Norway, KTM 22 minutes 26
2, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM 23:34
3, Stefan Svitko, Slovakia, KTM 24:09
4, Gerard Farres Guell, Spain, KTM 24:27
5, Alessandro Botturi, Italy, KTM 24:37

Other KTMs

7, Jordi Viladoms, Spain, KTM 26:01
10, Cyril Despres, France, KTM 26:17
12, Jacek Czachor, Poland, KTM 27:34
13, Felipe Zanol, Brazil, KTM 27:36
16, Paolo Ceci, Italy, KTM 28:35
18, Henk Knuiman, Netherlands, KTM 29:02
20, Johnny Aubert, France, KTM, 29:22

Overall Results after final Stage 14  **Victory by Despres gives KTM its eleventh consecutive Dakar title

1, Cyril Despres, France, KTM, 43 hours 28 minutes and 11 seconds
*Fourth Dakar Title for Despres
2, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM at 53:20
3, Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha at 1:11:17
4, Jordi Viladoms, Spain, KTM at 1:40:56
5, Stefan Svitko, Slovakia, KTM 1:47:28

Other KTM

6, Pal Anders Ullevalseter, Norway, KTM at 2:11:56
7, Gerard Farres Guell, Spain, KTM at 2:14:22
8, Alessandro Botturi, Italy, KTM at 2:59:04
10, Felipe Zanol, Brazil, KTM at 3:25:56
12, Rubin Faria, Portugal, KTM at 4:13:10
13, Jacek Czachor, Poland, KTM at 4:39:09
14, Johnny Aubert, France, KTM at 4:39:39

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KTM - Dakar Stage 9 Race Report

Business as usual for Despres and Coma in Stage 9 Dakar 2012

It was business as usual for the two lead KTM factory riders, Cyril Despres and Marc Coma on Tuesday when riders set out for Stage 9 of the Dakar 2012 on a large arc from Antofagasta to Iquique in Chile. Despres, who had a dramatic day on Monday landing in a mud hole, went out like a man possessed, led throughout to claim the stage and reclaim the overall lead.

It was the French rider’s third stage victory in this edition. Coma has won four stages and with Stage Six scrapped, KTM has claimed seven of eight stages so far. Both riders are chasing their fourth Dakar Rally title and if either of them succeed it will represent KTM’s eleventh successive victory. The Austrian sports motorcycle specialist has shut out all the competition in every Dakar Rally since 2001 (the 2008 edition was cancelled).

Despres ended yesterday with a deficit of around 12 minutes after sacrificing the overall lead to Coma. The mud hole turned out to be a natural hazard that occurred after the final official inspection had been done by organizers and was not marked on the road book. Cyril and six other riders got stuck in the mud and race officials decided a detour was in order rather than deal with the obvious chaos. They later reinstated lost time to the riders disadvantaged and when they left on Tuesday Cyril trailed Marc by just over a minute.

It was with this in mind that he put down the hammer on his KTM 450 Rally bike and rode with a passion to lead throughout the special. His reward for such a doggedly determined ride was his third stage victory in Dakar 2012 to level with Coma’s three stages and a narrow lead in the overall standings.

Despres however went back to the bivouac knowing that the job is far from done. At the fourth Way Point Coma was 3 minutes 55 behind and at the finish, after riders had engaged in the steep descent down to Iquique, he trailed by 3 minutes 54 seconds. With third placed Helder Rodrigues of Portugal behind Despres at 59 minutes 19 seconds, the 33rd Dakar Rally continues to be a two-rider race.

Despres said he was feeling good after the stage. “I had to get back to my winning ways after a difficult day yesterday when you start to doubt. It wasn't easy to psyche myself up for it, but I'm very happy with my day's work. We came into this looking at a battle for seconds or minutes. It's very competitive. Like any sportsman, if you don't like confrontation or squeezing the last ounces of strength out of yourself, then you're not ready for a fight. But, as for me, I'm up for it.”

Meanwhile Coma is very aware that the race is still wide open and he remains cool, strong and ready to apply the necessary tactics. “We knew that this would be difficult today. It was a long special and there was plenty of navigation to deal with. We’re not coming to the crunch part of the rally. Cyril is a major rival and we do battle over every single kilometer. But I think it’s interesting, its sport.”

Joan Pedrero (Spain) and Rubin Faria (Portugal), the two support riders for the Coma and Despres finished twelfth and thirteenth respectively. Faria made a recovering after having to stop briefly just 1.7 km after the start.

The first part of the timed special was relatively fast with patches of fesh-fesh, very fine dust like flour. The second special tested the navigational skills and the stage finished with a steep descent down to the coast at Iqique, a slope that already was a feature of the 2010 Dakar.

Stage 10 takes the Dakar Caravan from Iquique to Arica right on the border of Peru. It will be the riders’ last encounter with Chile’s notorious Atacama Desert with another dose of the power soft and quite treacherous fesh-fesh dust. Arica was the most northern point in last year’s rally. But it will not be the end of the sands. This year they continue into the coastal desert of Peru into the region of the famous Nazcar Lines, the ancient geoglyphs that are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Results Stage 9

1, Cyril Despres, France, KTM 5 hours 4 minutes 33 seconds
2, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM at 3 minutes 54 seconds
3, Joan Barreda Bort, Spain, Husqvarna at 8:44
4, Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha at 11:44
5, Paolo Goncalves, Portugal, Husqvarna at 15:12

Other KTM

6, Pal Anders Ullevalseter, Norway, KTM at 15:43
7, Stefan Svitko, Slovakia, KTM at 16:19
8, Jordi Viladoms, Spain, KTM at 17:53
10, Gerard Farres Guell, Spain, KTM at 18:56
11, Felipe Zanol, Brazil, KTM at 22:25
12, Joan Pedrero, Spain, KTM at 27:08
13, Rubin Faria, Portugal, KTM at 31:46
14, Alessandro Botturi, Italy, KTM at 31:46
18, Daniel Schroeder, Germany, KTM at 39:04
19, Jacek Czachor, Poland, KTM at 30:03
24, Johnny Aubert, France KTM at 43:11

Overall Results after Stage Nine

1, Cyril Despres, France, KTM, 28 hours 30 minutes 17 seconds
2, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM at 2 minutes 28
3, Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha at 59:19
4, Paolo Goncalves, Portugal, Husqvarna at 1:25:57
5, Jordi Viladoms, Spain, KTM at 1:28:43

Other KTM

6, Gerard Farres Guell, Spain, KTM at 1:33:05
7, Stefan Svitko, Slovakia, KTM at 1:33:33
8, Pal Anders Ullevalseter, Norway at 1:49:27 (40 minutes penalty)
9, Joan Pedrero, Spain, KTM 1:52:13 (15 minutes penalty)
10, Alessandro Botturi, Italy, KTM at 2:12:18
12, Rubin Faria, Portugal, KTM, 2:28:36 (40 minutes penalty)
14, Felipe Zanol, Brazil, KTM at 2:58:09 (55 minutes penalty)
15, Jacek Czachor, Poland, KTM at 3:23:29
17, Johnny Aubert, France, KTM at 3:35:56

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Dakar - Organizers adjust Stage 8 times

Dakar organizers adjust Stage 8 times; Coma still has overall lead

Dakar 2012 race officials have adjusted times for riders trapped in mud on Stage 8, one of which was KTM factory rider Cyril Despres. According to the adjusted times, KTM’s Marc Coma still wins the stage and leads the rally but he is now just one minute 26 seconds ahead of Despres in the overall standings.

The two KTM riders have so far dominated the 2012 edition of the rally but the stage saw Despres and other riders bogged down in mud that had not been marked on the road book that guides riders. Cyril Despres, overall leader at the half way mark of the rally had to sacrifice around 12 minutes in his efforts to extract himself from the hazard, while teammate Marc Coma was not as badly affected. It was Coma’s twentieth Dakar Stage victory in his career and the fourth in the 2012 edition. Both he and Despres are vying for their fourth Dakar title.

Speaking from the bivouac after the stage, Alex Doringer, Team Manager for the KTM Factory Team said that while KTM welcomed the race officials’ decision to compensate the riders and reinstate times, the company felt that Coma should have also had some time credited because he was also affected, if to a lesser degree than his teammate. “We welcome the fact that Cyril’s times have been reinstated, but we feel that if this decision was based on sporting fairness, then Marc’s time should also have been adjusted,” Doringer said.

The mud had occurred in between the time that the official inspection of the stage had taken place and the actual start of the stage and this was the reason it was not marked on the road book.

The eighth stage, the first after the one rest day at Copiapo in Chile included the longest timed special in the 2012 edition, taking riders 477 km. It was set between two liaison stretches that took them to 3,000 meters above sea level. Riders were on their bikes for a massive 722 km by the time they got to the finish at Antofagasta on the Chilean coast.

In the day’s standings KTM factory rider Rubin Faria was second to Coma and after the time adjustment, Portugal’s Helder Rodrigues moved into third place. Cyril Despres ranked ninth but he and Coma still dominate the overall standings. Rodrigues is third overall but he trails the two KTM riders by some 49 minutes.

Coma said at the end of the ride that he had been lucky to avoid the mud that reversed the fortunes of his teammate. “It was a very long special,” he said. “I was lucky not to lose too much time in the mud and then I saw I could open a gap, so I attacked really hard. This is my 20th special victory. That’s a nice figure but it’s not winning the special that count, it’s winning the race. And I know there is still a long week of racing ahead.” Coma had put himself in the lead at the day’s first Way Point and gradually built on it throughout the day

**Stage Eight results and standings amended after race officials adjust times

1, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM 5 hours 03:52
2, Rubin Faria, Portugal, KTM at 7:00 minutes
3, Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha at 7:10
4, Joan Barreda Bort, Spain, Husqvarna at 8:44
5, Stefan Svitko, Slovakia, KTM at 9:09

Other KTM

6, Cyril Despres, France, KTM at 9:14
7, Joan Pedrero, Spain, KTM at 10:31
8, Jordi Viladoms, Spain, KTM at 12:35
9, Johnny Aubert, France KTM at 13:50
10, Alessandro Botturi, Italy at 15:36

Adjusted Overall Results after Stage Eight

1, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM 23 hours 24 minutes 18 seconds
2, Cyril Despres, France, KTM at 1 minute 26
3, Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha at 49:01
4, David Casteu, France, Yamaha at 1:09:52
5, Paolo Goncalves, Portugal, Husqvarna at 1:12:11
6, Jordi Viladoms, Spain, KTM at 1:12:27

Other KTM

7, Gerard Farres Guell, Spain, KTM at 1:15:35
8, Stefan Svitko, Slovakia, KTM at 1:18:40
9, Joan Pedrero, Spain, KTM 1:26:31 (15 minutes penalty)
11, Alessandro Botturi, Italy, KTM at 1:41:58
12, Pal Anders Ullevalseter, Norway at 1:48:53 (40 minutes penalty)
13, Rubin Faria, Portugal, KTM, 1:59:31 (40 minutes penalty)
15, Felipe Zanol, Brazil, KTM at 2:22:10 (40 minutes penalty)
17, Johnny Aubert, France, KTM at 2:54.11

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KTM Racing News: Cancellation of Dakar Stage 6

Dakar 2012: Bad weather causes cancellation of Stage Six

Organizers have been forced to cancel Friday’s Stage Six of the Dakar 2012 because of bad weather conditions that made it unsafe for competitors to cross the Andes Cordillera at the highest point of this year’s edition.

Chilean authorities closed the Paso de San Francisco, situated at 4700 m above sea level overnight because of snow and rain.

This, together with the fact that the course has been generally hit by rain and snow mean that it is not possible to guarantee the safety of competitors and support personnel has resulted in the cancelation. Organizers instead will organize a convoy for all vehicles, which after the border crossing will follow the main road to Copiapo, Chile for the one rest day on Saturday.

The results at the end of Stage Five (see below) now represent the standings at the half way mark of the 33rd edition.

Stage Five Results (Stage Six canceled because of bad weather)

1, Cyril Despres, France, KTM 2 hours 28 minutes 33 seconds
2, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM at 1 minute 41
3, Joan Barreda Bort, Spain, Husqvarna at 
12:42
4, Stefan Svitko, Slovakia, KTM at 13:55
5, Jordi Viladoms, Spain, KTM at 14:17

Other KTM

6, Pal Anders Ullevalseter, Norway, KTM at 14:41
7, Rubin Faria, Portugal, KTM at 14:51
8, Gerrard Farres Guel, Spain, KTM at 18:49
13, Joan Pedrero, Spain, KTM at 20:45
15, Felipe Zanol, Brazil, KTM at 21:10
16, Alessandro Botturi, Italy, KTM at 25:01
18, Jacek Czachor, Poland, KTM at 27:56
22, Daryl Curtis, South Africa, KTM at 32:54
23, Johnny Aubert, France, KTM at 33:30

Overall Results after Stage Five (Stage Six canceled because of bad weather)

1, Cyril Despres, France, KTM 14 hours 19 minutes 
2, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM at 9 minutes 51 seconds
3, Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha at 247:56
4, Chaleco Lopez, Chile, Aprilia, at 49:00
5, Paolo Goncalves, Portugal, Husqvarna, 54:47 (6 minutes penalty)

Other KTM

6, Jordi Viladoms, Spain, KTM at 58:17
8, Joan Pedrero, Spain, KTM 59:04
9, Gerard Farres Guel, Spain, KTM at 1:03:13
10, Stefan Svitko, Slovakia, KTM at 1:07:26
12, Alessandro Botturi, Italy, KTM at 1:20:08
14, Pal Anders Ullevalseter, Norway at 1:34:59 (40 minutes penalty)
17, Felipe Zanol, Brazil, KTM at 1:47:38 (40 minutes penalty)
19, Rubin Faria, Portugal, KTM, 1:53:54 (40 minutes penalty)
20, Jacek Czachor, Poland, KTM, 1:55.32
21, Johnny Aubert, France, KTM, 2:09:03


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KTM Racing News Stage 5 Dakar 2012

Dakar 2012: Stage Five victory to Despres to consolidate overall lead

KTM’s two lead riders Cyril Despres and Marc Coma continued on their quest to dominate the Dakar 2012 on Thursday in a close-knit battle that saw Despres take the stage victory and consolidate his overall lead one day before the rally enters Chile.

With five stages completed, four have gone to KTM, two to Despres and two to Coma who are both bidding for their fourth Dakar title. It was also Cyril’s 28th Dakar stage victory in his career.

The fearsome Fiambalá dunes

It was ‘welcome to the white sand dunes of Fiambalá’ for the riders after the liaison stretch of 151 km that started the day. The Fiambalá dunes have a fierce reputation for ruining chances of advancement in the world’s toughest rally and demand absolute concentration on the road book to ensure no costly navigational errors.

Rivals and teammates: Coma opened the road as Stage Four winner but it was Despres who had the edge at the day’s first Way Point where he had already moved ahead by 58 seconds. Astonishingly the gap between the two KTM factory riders was identical as they passed Way Point Two and they had already begun to distance themselves from the rest of the field. Both riders, the world’s best contemporary rally raid exponents gave no ground as they attacked the stage. At the end of the 265 km timed special they were still only separated by one minute 41 seconds and Despres was almost 13 minutes ahead of the third rider to cross the finish line.

Despres and Coma consolidating lead

As the race continues to shape up as a battle between these two KTM factory riders, they have already managed to distance themselves from the rest of the field in the overall standings. Despres is now 47 minutes ahead of third placed Helder Rodrigues of Portugal. Overall, it was a good stage for the Austrian brand with seven KTM riders in the top 10 finishers.

Cyril Despres: “After the first day, you could have said that lots of other riders were going to be involved in the fight, but in the end, there aren't too many! The gaps aren't very big at the moment and we're playing with gaps of two minutes. Today was easier for me, because I set off behind Coma. Perhaps tomorrow, it will be the opposite. I've got a lead over him and it's a fairly comfortable cushion. Mind you, it can disappear quickly, so I need to keep the same state of mind and the same amount of concentration.”

Marc Coma: “It was another hard and complicated stage: the mythical Fiambala stage. The special was a bit shorter than planned. In physical terms, that's good, but for me, the more distance there is, the more difficulties there are, the more likely something may happen and the more opportunities might come my way. I made a small mistake and I'm paying for it. But I'm still here and still aiming to win. With the Atacama, it's a new race that begins. We'll see what happens.”

Thursday’s stage was also a strong one for Despres’ support rider Rubin Faria of Portugal who finished seventh while Coma’s support rider Joan Pedrero of Spain was 13th across the line today. Pedrero is now overall eighth but Faria has incurred a 40-minute penalty and is further back in the field. It was also a strong day for KTM Enduro factory rider Johnny Aubert, experiencing his first Dakar Rally. Johnny is riding a series model KTM 450 rally bike, not a factory bike and his mission is to ride, learn, gather experience and have fun.

Anything can still happen

But while Despres and Coma have a comfortable cushion at this point in the rally, both the three-times Dakar winners are acutely aware that it is not over until it is over. In past Dakar rallies both of these riders have had the soul-destroying experience of almost having victory in their grasp only to see it slip through their fingers in the final stages. So it will be with this in mind that tomorrow they will face abundant physical and mental challenges.

What's in store for Stage 6

Crossing the Andes by the El Paso de San Francisco pass will be a breath robbing experience as riders climb to an altitude of 4700 meters above sea level. With this behind them they will they will plunge down into the notorious Atacama Desert, the driest place on the planet and a virtual sea of sand. It will be a day when they will not only need superb riding skills, physical fitness and absolute mental concentration; they will also play the tactical game. The reward for surviving Stage 6 is the one rest day, the only brief respite on this tortuous 9000-km ride from the Atlantic coast at Mar Del Plata, Argentina to Lima, Peru on the Pacific coast. It is of course a rest day only in name. In reality the teams will have a full program to prepare riders and machines for the second half of the rally.

Stage Five Results

1, Cyril Despres, France, KTM 2 hours 28 minutes 33 seconds
2, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM at 1 minute 41
3, Joan Barreda Bort, Spain, Husqvarna at 12:42
4, Stefan Svitko, Slovakia, KTM at 13:55
5, Jordi Viladoms, Spain, KTM at 14:17

Other KTM

6, Pal Anders Ullevalseter, Norway, KTM at 14:41
7, Rubin Faria, Portugal, KTM at 14:51
8, Gerrard Farres Guel, Spain, KTM at 18:49
13, Joan Pedrero, Spain, KTM at 20:45
15, Felipe Zanol, Brazil, KTM at 21:10
16, Alessandro Botturi, Italy, KTM at 25:01
18, Jacek Czachor, Poland, KTM at 27:56
22, Daryl Curtis, South Africa, KTM at 32:54
23, Johnny Aubert, France, KTM at 33:30

Overall Results after Stage Five

1, Cyril Despres, France, KTM 14 hours 19 minutes
2, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM at 9 minutes 51 seconds
3, Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha at 47:56
4, Chaleco Lopez, Chile, Aprilia, at 49:00
5, Paolo Goncalves, Portugal, Husqvarna, 54:47 (6 minutes penalty)

Other KTM

6, Jordi Viladoms, Spain, KTM at 58:17
8, Joan Pedrero, Spain, KTM 59:04
9, Gerard Farres Guel, Spain, KTM at 1:03:13
10, Stefan Svitko, Slovakia, KTM at 1:07:26
12, Alessandro Botturi, Italy, KTM at 1:20:08
14, Pal Anders Ullevalseter, Norway at 1:34:59 (40 minutes penalty)
17, Felipe Zanol, Brazil, KTM at 1:47:38 (40 minutes penalty)
19, Rubin Faria, Portugal, KTM, 1:53:54 (40 minutes penalty)
20, Jacek Czachor, Poland, KTM, 1:55.32
21, Johnny Aubert, France, KTM, 2:09:03

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Dakar 2012: Second stage win for Coma; Despres overall leader

Following a navigation error yesterday, KTM factory rider Marc Coma rode with a passion in Stage Four to take his second stage victory in Dakar 2012 and claw back two minutes on overall leader and teammate Cyril Despres. Both riders are going for their fourth Dakar title.

Coma of Spain went off at sixth from San Juan but early registered his intention to be the one to beat by being fastest at the first Way Point of the day. Despres, first off in the morning to open the road after yesterday’s stage win was in third place just 15 seconds behind. Then came the day’s biggest climb when the two riders turned their KTM 450 Rally bikes and charged up the mountain that took them to their highest point so far in this, the 33rd edition of the world’s most famous rally. It was still Coma with the advantage at the end of the climb that took them up to 3200 m. Despres who later admitted he had taken particular caution to avoid any costly mistakes had slipped to sixth and was two minutes 49 behind. 

Despres then went on the chase and had moved into second by Way Point three having halved the time deficit between him and the leader.  The two KTM riders raced together for the rest of the day but it was Coma who crossed the line first to claim his second stage win in this edition. Despres finished just over two minutes later. The French rider is still ahead by 8 minutes 10 in the overall standings but Coma managed to make up a useful slice of the time he lost when he was forced to ride another 12 km following his navigational error in Stage Three. The stage is now set for a great battle now that the two KTM factory riders progressively distance themselves from the rest of the field. 

Marc Coma: “It was a very tough special, in particular at the beginning with the fast start. Then we had to focus on the navigation and tackle a lot of water in the rivers. I tried to ride at a very fast pace from the beginning, but it was difficult. I was able to overtake a few riders and make up some time on Cyril. Fiambala and many other stages still lie ahead. That is the way things are right now. And I keep on fighting every day."

Cyril Despres: “It was difficult because the rainfall in the region these last few days furrowed the tracks and exposed big rocks. It is also very physically demanding in this heat and difficult to maintain a fast pace. So I am quite happy with my performance today. At the beginning I saw Marc surge ahead and I knew he would claw some time back, but I focused on the navigation to avoid making any mistakes.” Despres said he had paid particular close attention to the road book, which had almost 400 notes for Stage Four. 

After another hard day’s liaison of 424 km and 326 km of tough riding in the timed special, Despres and Coma are separated by eight minutes in the aggregate times. Third overall is currently French rider David Helder Rodrigues of Portugal who now trails Despres by 26 minutes 48.

On their journey to Chilecito through the province of La Rioja riders encountered the classic deep canyons of the region, which are tricky to navigate. Tomorrow, in Stage Five, it will be a very different story as they battle it out between Chilecito and Fiambalá where they encounter the notorious sticky sand dunes. Riders will do well to remember Despres’ comment:  “ It’s impossible to win a Dakar on a single day but it’s very easy to lose one.”

Coma and Despres have won three of the four stages so far but there are many potential pitfalls waiting for them on the rest of the journey to Lima, Peru when the rally finishes on January 15 after almost 9,000 km. 

Other action on Wednesday saw Coma’s support rider Joan Pedrero of Spain move up the order with a good ride to finish sixth in the stage results, 11.2 minutes behind the leader. He is currently eighth overall. Rubin Faria, the support rider for Cyril Despres has picked up a 40-minute penalty and finished Wednesday in nineteenth place. Johnny Aubert, KTM’s Enduro Factory rider and Dakar rookie was 27th today. He is riding a standard series KTM 450 rally bike and is on a mission to learn as much as possible about the world’s greatest rally.  

Stage Four Results

1, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM, 4:16.43
2, Cyril Despres, France, KTM at 2.02
3, Frans Verhoeven, Netherlands, Sherco, at 8.26
4, Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha, 9.01
5, Paolo Goncalves, Portugal, Husqvarna at 11.18

Other KTM

6, Joan Pedrero, Spain KTM at 11.20
8, Stefan Svitko, Slovakia, KTM at 25.15
11, Gerrard Farres Guel, Spain, KTM at 15.26
13, Felipe Zanol, Brazil, KTM at 15.50
14, Pal Anders Ullevalseter, Norway, KTM at 16,02
15, Jordi Villadoms, Spain, KTM at 17.36
17, Alessandro Botturi, Italy, KTM at 22.11
19, Rubin Faria, Portugal, KTM at 26.15
37, Johnny Aubert, France, KTM at 50.19

Overall Results after Stage Four
1, Cyril Despres, France, KTM 11 hours 50.27
2, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM at 8 minutes 10 seconds 
3, Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha at 26.48
4, Chaleco Lopez, Chile, Aprilia, 29.50
5, David Casteu, France, Yamaha at 30.37

Other KTM
8, Joan Pedrero, Spain, KTM 38.19
9, Jordi Villadoms, Spain, KTM at 44.00
10, Gerard Farres Guel, Spain, KTM at 44.24
12, Stefan Svitko, Slovakia, KTM at 53.31
14, Alessandro Botturi, Italy, KTM at 55.07
19, Pal Anders Ullevalseter, Norway at 1:20.18 (40 minutes penalty)
20, Felipe Zanol, Brazil, KTM at 1:27.28 (40 minutes penalty)
27, Johnny Aubert, France, KTM, 1:35.33
28, Rubin Faria, Portugal, KTM at 1:39.03 (40 minutes penalty)

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Dakar 2012: Stage Two a good day at the office for KTM’s Coma and Despres

KTM’s two triple Dakar Rally winners Marc Coma and Cyril Despres got down to serious business in Stage Two of the 33rd edition of the world’s most challenging rally with Coma notching his first stage victory for 2012 ahead of factory teammate Despres to take the lead in the overall standings.

It was a day that tested both concentration and endurance, starting with a long and fast liaison over hard terrain as riders turned their machines towards the Sierra Nevadas. It then plunged them into the notoriously tricky dunes at El Nihuil and their challenging soft grey volcanic sand at the end of the day to complete the grueling 295 km of timed special. At the end of the day, KTM’s two top riders were separated by just one minute 18 seconds. Coma’s hard ride to take the stage also vaulted him ahead of Stage One winner Chaleco Lopez of Chile and he now has a 2 minute 30 advantage in the overall standings going into Stage Three.

Coma manages to overtake Lopez

Coma said the first part of the timed special had been very fast as he rode together with Lopez, a prelude to the difficult ride in the soft sand. Coma: “It was a lot more technical and with some navigation to do as well. I took the lead and kept riding at a good pace. I'm happy because I didn't get lost. So, it's been a good day for me!”

Cyril Despres makes his mark in Stage Two

Despres finished thirteenth in the short 57 km timed special on the opening day, which he used as a warm up for what will be a testing 15-day journey to Lima. But on Stage Two he turned up the heat and advanced to the front of the field. Finishing second to Coma on Day Two was a confidence builder, Despres said, even if he had to eat a bit of dust while overtaking other riders in the opening part of the ride. He managed the difficult soft sand at the end of the special, which he said had not been easy but, like Coma, said it had been “a good day”. The Dakar 2012 is expected to be another face-off between these two riders who have each three Dakar titles to their names and have won on alternate years for the past six editions to create one of the great rivalries in today’s motorsports.

Solid day for the KTM “Water Carriers”

KTM’s two other factory riders, Joan Pedrero of Spain whose task it is to be the support rider for Marc Coma and Rubin Faria of Portugal who performs the same role for Cyril Despres finished the second stage in tenth and 15th place respectively and are ninth and thirteenth in the overall standings. Pedrero is 11:45 behind Coma in the overall standings and Faria trails the leader by 14:40. Also well placed are KTM riders Jakub Przgonski of Poland and evergreen Pal Anders Ullevalseter of Norway who occupy fourth and eighth place in the overalls.

KTM’s newcomers

KTM’s Dakar rookies, Johnny Aubert of the KTM Enduro Factory Team is in 20th overall after Stage two and Chris Birch of New Zealand who rides in extreme Enduro events for KTM is 31st.

Tomorrow demands a head for heights

Stage Three takes riders from San Rafael to San Juan and the ascent into the high altitude Andes, as they now ride due north parallel to the great mountain range. Concentration will be an issue with another testing day’s ride as they climb higher into the mountain region. Organizers have promised that this year’s route will be one of surprise challenges where difficult parts will come at unexpected times and endurance will be demanded throughout the rally

Stage Two Results

1, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM, 3:07.21
2, Cyril Despres, France, KTM at 1:18
3, Joan Barreda Bort, Spain, Husqvarna at 2:33
4, Chaleco Lopez, Chile, Aprilia at 2:44
5, Jakub Przgonski, Poland, KTM at 4:17

Other KTM

7, Pal Anders Ullevalseter, Norway, KTM at 9:11
10, Joan Pedrero, Spain, KTM at 9:35
11. Jordi Villadoms, Spain, KTM, 9:59
14, Gerrard Farres Guel, Spain, KTM at 12:35
15, Rubin Faria, Portugal, KTM at 13:36
16, Felipe Zanol, Brazil, KTM at 14:21
17. Jacek Czachor, Poland, KTM at 14:33
18, Alessandro Botturi, Italy, KTM at 15:32
20, Stefan Svitko, Slovakia, KTM at 16:30
22, Johnny Aubert, France, KTM at 17:56
30, Chris Birch, New Zealand, KTM at 24:24

Overall Results after Stage Two

1, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM, 3 hours 40 minutes 12 seconds
2, Chaleco Lopez, Chile, Aprilia at 2:30
3, Cyril Despres, France, KTM at 2:52
4, Jakub Przgonski, Poland, KTM at 4:32
5, Joan Barreda Bort, Spain, Husqvarna at 8:16

Other KTM

8, Pal Anders Ullevalseter, Norway, KTM, at 10:35
9, Joan Pedrero Spain, KTM at 11:45
10, Jordi Villadoms, Spain, KTM at 12:10
13, Rubin Faria, Portugal, KTM at 14:14
14, Gerrard Farres Guel, Spain, KTM at 15:33
15, Felipe Zanol, Brazil, KTM at 17:22
16, Alessandro Botturi, Italy, KTM at 18:21
18, Stefan Svetko, Slovakia, KTM at 19:28
20, Johnny Aubert, France, KTM 20:11
31, Chris Birch, New Zealand, KTM 30:01

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Dakar Stage One - KTM Results

New Year’s Day 2012 and KTM’s Dakar riders opened their bid for the eleventh consecutive Dakar Rally victory for the Austrian sports motorcycle specialists.

Starting their engines under picture book summer skies on Argentina’s eastern coast riders absolved a 57 km special just after the start followed by another 763 km hard ride liaison to Santa Rosa de la Pampa.

While the timed stage, supported by thousands of Argentinean fans was more festive than challenging, riders were very much aware that this was a mere crumb in the torturous journey that takes them for the first time from the coast of the Atlantic to the coast of the Pacific to finish in the Peruvian capital Lima after nearly 9000 km.

Dakar title-holder and KTM factory rider Marc Coma was in the best of form, finishing the special in second place just 14 seconds behind Chaleco Lopez of Chile. Cyril Despres, mainstay of the KTM Factory Team and like Coma, a three-times Dakar winner, took it easy in the warm-up and was 1:48 behind the leader in 13th place ahead of the long liaison into the interior of the country.

Coma and Despres in good spirits

Clearly in a confident spirit, Coma said after the brief dash of the timed special: “The first special was breathtaking: next to the seaside and with beautiful little dunes. It really was a fantastic warm-up. But we still have a long day ahead of us, with a lengthy liaison.” Despres was also happy to be back on the bike and communing with his road book. “I took this special quite cautiously because there were a lot of potholes, fesh-fesh, dust... and spectators, so I kept it cool at the beginning!”

The ‘Water Carriers’

The so-called ‘water carriers’, the riders whose job it is to support the two key factory riders also had a solid start. KTM’s Rubin Faria of Portugal, the support rider for Cyril Despres had a good opening session finishing 1:18 behind the leader in eighth place while Joan Pedrero, Marc Coma’s support rider was 2:24 behind in 18th place.

The KTM newcomers

KTM Enduro factory rider Johnny Aubert of France is making his first Dakar appearance riding the KTM 450 Rally bike and supported by the KTM Customer Service. With a mission to ‘learn and enjoy the Dakar experience’, Johnny finished 20th just 2:29 behind the leader. Felipe Zanol of Brazil, who finished a close second to Cyril Despres in this year’s Dos Sertoes Rally in Brazil was 26th and trails the leader by 3:15 minutes. New Zealander Chris Birch, who races in Extreme events for KTM, such as the Red Bull Romaniacs and the notorious Red Bull Hare Scramble at Erzberg, Austria is also tackling his first Dakar and was 5:51 behind the leader in 39th place. Moh Balooshi, KTM’s UAE rider and the first Arab to contest the bike category, ended the day trailing by 16 minutes 20 seconds and must now settle down to some steady riding to make up the deficit.

Serious racing begins tomorrow

With less than three minutes separating the first 20 riders it is clear that they get down to serious business in Stage Two. They leave Santa Rosa to tackle 300 km of timed special that starts on firm terrain and ends in dangerously tricky soft sand. As they get closer to their destination at San Rafael they will encounter the grey volcanic sand that slows down their bikes and requires absolute concentration and physical effort from the riders.

Stage One Results: Mar Del Plata to Santa Rosa de la Pampa: 57 km Special; 763 Liaison

1, Chaleco Lopez, Chile, Aprilia, 32 minutes 37 seconds
2, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM at 14 seconds
3, Javier Pizzolito, Argentina, Honda, at 27 seconds
4, Quinn Cody, USA, Honda, at 30 seconds
5, Jakub Przygonski, Poland, KTM, at 49 seconds

Other KTM

8, Rubin Faria, Portugal, KTM, at 1:18
11, Pal Anders Ullevalseter, Norway, KTM, 1:41
13, Cyril Despres, France, KTM 1:48
18, Joan Pedrero, Spain, KTM 2:24
19, Jordi Villadoms, Spain, KTM 2:25
20, Johnny Aubert, France, KTM 2:29
21, Alessandro Botturi, Italy, KTM 3:03
26, Felipe Zanol, Brazil, KTM 3:15
39, Chris Birch, New Zealand, KTM 5:51
130, Moh Balooshi, UAE, KTM 16:20

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David Fretigne withdraws from 2012 Dakar

David Frétigné, French rider of Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain, has to withdraw from the Dakar Rally 2012. After his vertebrae injury suffered at the Rally dos Sertoes in August, David is on a very good way of recovering. He was allowed from his medical team to train fully for the Dakar since a few weeks.

Unfortunately his final medical exams showed that his injury has not made enough progress to risk a start at the Dakar, known as the hardest race of its kind in the world. His team wishes him strength for his further recovery and will miss him at the starting line on 1st of January.

David Frétigné: "I am very sad that I can finally not start, after all the good hopes and the hard work to come back. I wish my team all the best at the race, and will be with them with my thoughts. I will continue to work hard on my physical condition, it was just a little bit too early to risk a start, but I will be back soon in full strength."

Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain announced Jose Manuel Pellicer as short notice new team rider, in order not to leave the starting spot of rider number twelve empty.


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Husqvarna to tackle 2012 Dakar

HUSQVARNA RALLYE TEAM BY SPEEDBRAIN

At the team headquarters in Stephanskirchen (Bavaria) everyone has been working overtime since many months to build five race bikes capable of winning the Dakar 2012 - with the brand new Husqvarna TE 449 RR by Speedbrain as the new challenger.

The team will have 5 riders: the French David Frétigné, the Portuguese Paulo Goncalves, the Spanish Joan Barreda and the two Brazilian Zé Helio and Ike Klaumann.

The new Rallye bike developed by Speedbrain is a very specialized bike, with many trick solutions developed and designed in countless hours of testing and engineering. It takes advantage of various elements out of the Husqvarna TE 449 and also the BMW G 450 X, and apart from the strong TE 449, it's especially lightweight and easy to handle both in fast and technical conditions.



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Help support Jonah Street and his Dakar bid

Jonah Street is once again hoping to take on the Dakar Rally and he's looking for your help.

By purchasing something on Jonah's site you become a member of the "Riff Raff"- the official unofficial crew of Jonah Street’s Dakar Rally Racing maniacs.

As a part of Riff Raff you get exclusive discounts, custom gear and sweet swag from Jonah’s sponsors. All proceeds go directly to Jonah Street’s race effort. All goodness comes directly to you and your bike 

About Riff Raff:

Started by Rally Pan Am fanatics on advrider.com in 2007, Riff Raff has grown into a cultural malady, infecting enduro and motocross junkies, hard core adventure riders and rally fans the world over.

“Being in the Riff Raff is like being a member of Jonah’s elite race team in the hostile Dakar environment except we get to wear really sweet clothes, take showers daily and cash in on discounts while swimming in freebies from his sponsors. ” –Unidentified Ruffian.

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Marc Coma takes third Stage victory in Stage 8

Marc Coma takes third Stage victory in Stage 8; Despres a close 2nd
KTM factory rider Marc Coma of Spain on Monday succeeded in taking his third stage victory in the 33rd edition of the Dakar Rally and the 14th of his career. The day's ride, a punishing 508 km special was again a cat and mouse game between the Spanish rider and fellow KTM factory rider Cyril Despres with the two arriving at the finish separated by just 1 minute 55 seconds
Coma has now accrued a 9 minute 19 advantage on Despres, the current title holder, as the two best exponents of rally sport battle it out for personal glory and what will be - if either ride in Buenos Aires in triumph on January 16 after more than 9000 km of hard riding - the tenth consecutive Dakar title for KTM, the Austrian sports motorcycle specialist. Coma and Despres have now won five of the eight stages between them and continue to be only minutes apart as the rally moves into its second half. The difference between them amounts to roughly the equivalent of the 10 minute penalty Despres incurred in the early stages for failing to pass a mandatory flag during one dawn start. All evidence points to a battle between these great riders right through to the finish.

A hard stage, Coma says
Marc Coma said it had been a hard stage that turned out fine at the end of the day. He rode together with Despres and "Chaleco" Lopez. "We took turns to open the way and at a very fast pace. It was a good stage after a complicated one yesterday. But in the end, everything turned out fine. I'm glad, because it was a 500-km special. That's a hell of a lot". 

Ongoing tough battle between Coma and Despres
 Despres did manage to briefly break away after the first 40 km on Monday but Coma quickly came back to hit the front and remained there for the rest of the day. While Coma and Despres incrementally edge their way in front of the rest of the pack and are looking more likely to be the ones who will be in front in Buenos Aires, their biggest rival remains Francisco (Chaleco) Lopes, the Chilean rider who is very much at home in the Atacama Desert. He now trails Coma by 22.48 minutes overall while fourth overall after Stage Eight is Portugal's Helder Rodrigues who is now almost 42 minutes behind Coma. Despres said Chaleco led the way on all the quick parts while he did the dunes. "The problem with navigation is the same as in cycling," he said. "In cycling some riders stick to your back wheel like leeches and it's the same in rally raids - but that's just part of the game". 

Best finish this edition for Norway's Ullevalseter
KTM rider Pal Anders Ullevalseter of Norway, who was second behind Despres in the 2010 edition of the rally, had his best finish in this edition, finishing fifth in Stage Eight. He was followed home today by Despres' team co-rider, Ruben Faria who finished sixth and is currently fifth overall. Juan Pedrero, Coma's Spanish co-rider was eighth today and is seventh overall. After Stage eight five of the top seven riders are on KTMs and 10 of the top 14 are riding the Austrian brand.

Second last day in the sands of the Atacama
Organizers presented the riders with another tough in the sands of the Chilean coastal desert in what is the penultimate day in Chile before the bikes cross back across the Andes and head for the Argentinean capital. They had to tackle a complicated alternating mix of sand dunes, off-road, rios and even more dunes then finished with a challenging offroad section coming into Copiapo. The stage also saw the exit of Paolo Goncalves of Portugal who crashed and suffered a broken collarbone in the morning to take one of the top riders out of contention.

Tricky loop tomorrow and a mass start
Tomorrow riders face a tricky loop through the desert from Copiapo to Copiapo with a 35 km link and 235 km of timed special that organizers promise can trick even the most experience of riders. There is also a group start with the front runners going off in rows of 10 riders and the later rows of 20 riders so there will be no traditional, dust free advantage for the front rider.

Stage Eight Results
1, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM 6:05:02
2, Cyril Despres, Andorra, KTM, at 1:55
3, Francisco (Chaleco) Lopez, Chile, Aprilia, 4:21
4, Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha, at 8:38
5, Pal Anders Ullevalseter, Norway, KTM, 25:03
6, Ruben Faria, Portugal, KTM, 29:06
8, Juan Pedrero, Spain, KTM, 42:28

Standings after Stage Eight
1, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM
2, Cyril Despres, Andorra, KTM, at 9:19
3, Francisco (Chaleco) Lopez, Chile, Aprilia, 22:48
4, Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha, at 41:42
5, Ruben Faria, Portugal, KTM at 1:09:59
6, Pal Anders Ullevalseter, Norway, KTM at 02:02:26
7, Juan Pedrero, Spain, KTM at 02:03:01

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Dakar News from KTM - Stage 4


Second Stage win for Marc Coma as two-way KTM battle ensues Marc Coma of Spain took line honors in Stage Four of the Dakar Rally on Thursday to even up the reckoning with arch rival and fellow KTM factory rider, French-born Cyril Despres. Coma also takes control of the overall standings by a mere two seconds in what is shaping up to be a battle royal between the two giants of the sport. Marc Coma of Spain took line honors in Stage Four of the Dakar Rally on Thursday to even up the reckoning with arch rival and fellow KTM factory rider, French-born Cyril Despres. Coma also takes control of the overall standings by a mere two seconds in what is shaping up to be a battle royal between the two giants of the sport.

Important day, Coma says Coma said it had been "a very important day" for him, even if a relatively short special. "It was difficult to open the way. I'm happy and I felt great. I hope it stays like that right until the end. The general standings don't matter for the moment. The most important thing will be the last day. It's essential to have a good pace and avoid making mistakes. Now we'll have to deal with two very difficult stages".

Coma finished 16 seconds in front in Stage 4
Coma registered the best provisional time of the day by just 16 seconds over Despres, who had stuck closely to his rival throughout the day's special. Despres was never more than 32 seconds behind and constantly shaved a second here and there as the day progressed as the stage took the riders from San Salvador de Jujuy in Argentina over the Andes and down into Calama on the Chilean side of the border. Riders absolved 554 km on the road and a special of 207 km and were rewarded at the end of the day with their first look at the famed Atacama Desert, the driest region on the planet.

Tough competition between KTM's two leading riders
 The rivalry between the two KTM factory riders is legendary and this Dakar is no exception. Despres won the first two stages and Coma the second two but in reality there is nothing between them as they tackle the tricky desert dunes of Chile. The KTM riders were closely shadowed on Wednesday by Francisco (Chaleco) Lopez who would have wanted to enter his home country in the lead, had riding at the top of the field not been so fierce.  He was two minutes behind but now has a deficit of more than 20 minutes in the general standings as the two leaders begin to put serious distance between themselves and the rest of the field. If either wins the event this year it will be the 10th victory for KTM, the Austrian sports motorcycle brand. Despres already owns three Dakar trophies; Coma has two to his credit and neither will concede an inch until after they get back to Buenos Aires on January 16.

Different mind set, Despres says
"For this type of terrain that's so different you need to change the way your brain's wired. There's no more hard ground, just desert, off-track riding and surfaces that break up. It was a good start to the desert stages. Today, Marc Coma rode a great stage. It's a superb battle with Marc. Today again we opened up a little more of a gap on the others. This evening, I'm in second, 2 seconds behind. For a number 2, that's a neat trick, isn't it?"
 
Mixed fortunes for co-riders
It was a mixed day for the co-riders of the two leaders. Juan Pedrero of Spain, Coma's partner in the 33rd edition had his best stage so far to finish sixth, just over seven minutes behind the leaders and now moves up to sixth in the overalls. Ruben Faria, Cyril's co-rider was not so lucky and experienced difficulties between waypoint two and four and dropped from third to 26th at the end of the day, Ruben crossed the line in 22nd place and dropped down the order in the generals to seventh place. The two KTM teams can be satisfied that all of their four factory riders are in the top seven after getting into the tougher stages, while Coma and Despres are now pulling ahead of the rest of the field.

Dakar goes to Chile
Today was the day that the Dakar "caravan" crossed the Andes at an altitude of 4800 m via the Paso de Jama pass so competitors had to content with the thin air as well as tough riding conditions, even if the special was only half the distance of yesterday's Stage Three.  Organizers had made provision for possible negative affects of the altitude on the competitors and some 30 vehicles were positioned along the course to assist anyone with altitude-related difficulties. Stage Four was also the first stage where bikes, cars and trucks in the rally all followed the same route.

High altitude crossing
Having safely managed the stage, the altitude, the crossover into Chilean territory, the teams now have to muster their physical and mental strength to apply themselves to attacking the soft and shifting sands of the Chilean desert, the mighty Atacama. Riders still have two very testing days on the bikes before the one and only rest day on Saturday in this marathon event. Stage Five, another very challenging ride allows them a mere 36 km on the road and 423 grueling kilometers of mixed terrain, including rocky track and dunes. The stage finishes at Iquique on the Pacific coast when they make a heart-stopping descent at an average gradient of 32%. On Friday they continue north through the sand and dunes to a point near the border with Peru, which is also new territory for the rally this year.

Stage 4 Results
1, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM, 2:04:00
2, Cyril Despres, Andorra, at 00:16
3, Francisco Chaleco Lopez, Chile, Aprilia, at 2:05
4, Olivier Pain, France, Yamaha, at 6:20
5, Helder Rodriguez, Portugal, Yamaha, at 6:55
6. Juan Pedrero, Spain, KTM at 7:15
22. Ruben Faria, Portugal, KTM at 17:43

General Standings after Stage 4
1, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM 11:43:12
2, Cyril Despres, Andorra, at 00:02
3, Francisco (Chaleco) Lopez, Chile, Aprilia, at 20:12
4. Paolo Goncalves, Portugal, BMW, 25:40
5, Helder Rodriguez, Portugal, Yamaha, at 26:02
6. Juan Pedrero, Spain, KTM at 26:23
7, Ruben Faria, Portugal, KTM at 27:07


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2011 Dakar is on!

The 2011 running of the Dakar is on - it started on January 1st and runs through to the 16th. The race begins in Buenos Aires and heads north then south in a circuitous route that brings the competitors back to (hopefully) finish in Buenos Aires.

The route brings the competitors over 9,500 km, including 5,000 km of racing stages.  Wow!

Sadly there's no coverage on Canadian television that we're aware of but if you want to keep track of the event there's two very good places to do it.

That's on the Dakar website and on a thread on the ADV Rider website HERE.

There's no Canadian competitors this year either (that we know of) but if you want to cheer for somebody close to home you might want to watch Jonah Street from the US.  He's got a real chance to win - or at least do VERY well - he finished 6th in the opening stage.

Go Jonah!


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2011 Dakar Teaser

Oh yes, it's almost THAT time of year. The Dakar is coming - January 1st-16th.  This year is going to be one to watch; particularly the motorcycle class.  Everybody will be riding bikes with 450cc or less of displacement this year.

KTM has dominated the Dakar for a number of years and this year they've got a custom built 450 prepared but you're going to see a lot of manufacturers trying to compete for the top spot this year. It'll be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Check out the teaser!


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Dakar - 2011. The year of the 450 cc

It's a bit early to be getting excited about the 2011 Edition of the Dakar is it not?  No, no, I don't think so.  This year is going to be particularly memorable because it'll be the year that everybody rides a 450.  Not only that, they're reducing the functionality of the GPS for riders making navigation and being able to decipher your roadbook even more crucial.



To quote some information on the ASO website:

"all elite riders in the bike category obliged to ride on a machine whose power does not exceed 450cc. Furthermore, the GPS functions have been reduced for guidance to the WPM (way point markers), giving priority to reading and mastering the road-book"



The 2011 running takes place 1st to 16th January 2011 and takes place in South America (in Argentina and Chile) again this year.


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Two of my favorite things - Dakar + motorcycles

Two of what are perhaps my favorite things - Dakar and motorcycle  - combined in a way that has never been done before to produce something pretty spectacular! Those crazy folks at Red Bull have been at it again.

Here's what you get when you combine Russian FMX rider Alexey Kolesnikov and Dakar 2010 winner, pilot of KAMAZ-master team Vladimir Chagin, 500 tons of dirt and some really big ramps.

You've got to see this one for yourself - the embed option doesn't seem to work for me so here's the LINK.

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Stunning high-resolution Dakar photo's

Who doesn't love pictures of motorcycles?

We certainly do - and we're always looking for new pictures to enhance the desktop of our computers! If you're the same you may want to check out Boston.com to view the galleries of stunning Dakar photo's.

This year was the 31st running of the event and the second time in South America - rumor has it the race may move back across the pond. It's apparently very expensive for the Europeans to ship their bikes across the Atlantic Ocean to get to South America so there's a business motivation there.

Photo credit to: GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images

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Don Hatton - Returns from the Dakar Rally

Duncan BC's own Don Hatton will be arriving at Victoria airport 11:45 Thursday January 21 from his adventure in the 210 Dakar Rally in Argentina. He welcomes media and fans to greet him there if available. 


Don's KTM race bike is being shipped back to England via France to be prepared for the balance of the Rally Raid race season. Although Don was unable to complete the grueling Dakar race this year he is excited to compete in more FIA World Cup events with the next one scheduled in Abu Dhabi. 


Don and the Rally Raid Canada Team will also be at the 2010 Vancouver Motorcycle Show Saturday January 23 and Sunday January 24 at the Tradex – Trade and Exhibition Center in Abbotsford. Look for them at the “Kimpex” booth. 
 


For more information and photos check out Destination Dakar


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Montrealer - Patrick Trahan finishes the Dakar

Montrealer Patrick Trahan has just joined an elite group of only six Canadians who've completed the Dakar Rally!

Lawrence Hacking, Guy Giroux, Eric Dubeau, Sean Price, and Bob Bergman being the others. Trahan finished 55th out of 88 finishers - 176 motorcyclists were on the competitors list at the start of the race. The 2010 running was Trahan's third attempt at it and the 31st running of the event.

The race is said to be one of the biggest challenges in motorsports - being on par with climbing Everest. It's a bit hard to make a comparison like that but covering some 9,000 km's, with the majority of that off-road, through rocks, sand dunes, difficult terrain, and sweltering heat over fourteen days it's very clear this race is among the toughest out there.

Trahan rode with Team Honda Europe and collected a lot of the $80,000 needed for him to compete in the Dakar this year. A big investment. There's no prize money for competing; just the glory that comes with having competed.

There were definitely some highs and lows during the race for Trahan. A low, or maybe a high, depending on your perspective would be surviving a crash at 120 km/hr with only bruises and some bike damage - he was able to continue on to finish the race! He decided to slow it down a little after that though.

For more details on Trahan's race from a personal perspective you may want to check out his personal Blog - DakarTrahan

Photo - courtesy Team Honda Europe


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Canadian Patrick Trahan - only Canadian moto rider left in the Dakar.

As of stage 5 , the Montreal native Patrick Trahan is the sole Canadian rider remaining in the 2010 Dakar Rally motorcycle field.

Stage 3 had utterly defeated all but one of the Canadian contingent, and many others too (upwards of 20% of the field). There was some bad gas that affected all the competitors, not to mention some of toughest terrain yet, and temperatures that soared into the 40's.

Stage 4 was his best yet of the rally. He started in is rally. Starting in 90th position, 9:05:59 and is now in 76th.

"It was really a great day!", wrote Patrick in his blog, "Pure pleasure. I arrived on time, the bike is intact and I'm not even tired! This day gave me much confidence!"

Go Patrick!



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Don Hatton retires from Dakar Rally

Some unfortunate news from the Canadian competitor Don Hatton's camp - he's out of the race. Stage 3 was a really brutal one and knocked out quite a few competitors.

More details below:

Don Hatton has been forced to retire on Stage 3 of the 2010 Dakar race upon advice of race medical staff.

For hours Don had been struggling in axle deep in the white sand dunes east of La Rioja in 45 degree Celsius temperatures. The combination of poor engine performance brought on by bad gasoline, fatigue from the heat, and the lingering affects of the food poisoning meant that riding the steep dunes was almost impossible. Riding with fellow Dakar racer Duncan Tweedy they were both overcome with heat issues. They were provided water from passing participants in cars and trucks to help them cope with their situation.

Passing race medical officials advised them both not to proceed as: “you will die in the dunes”, plus, “there are no helicopters available as they are all busy trying to get guys out of the dunes”. Not encouraging news considering their location and physical condition.

Still suffering from dehydration due to food poisoning that Don had on Stage 2 of the rally along with the advise of race officials Don decided to retire from the race. He was one of 20 motorcyclists, nearly 15% of the entrants, to retire from the race yesterday

We know at this time Don was safe at the Bivouac last night and is making his way back to Buenos Aires to meet up with his wife and support team.

We will advise further once we have been able to interview Don

On behalf of Don, Natalie and the whole Rally Raid Canada – Destination Dakar team we would like to give our utmost thanks to our fans, sponsors and especially our media supporters !

Dakar Racing Factoid – things you might not know or thought of :

According to an AFP account, the total death count of people involved in the Dakar race since it’s inception in 1979 is 52 competitors and 16 spectators.


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Just keeps getting better and better for Don Hatton

Don Hatton has finished Stage 2 of the 2010 Dakar Rally today in La Roija Argentina. The 626 km route today from last nights bivouac in Cordoba included 332 km of liaison and 294 km of special stages. Due to technological challenges we will not know of Don’s official overall positioning possibly till tomorrow

Today’s stage was over fast mixed terrain as the competitors took two different routes. Motorcycles and quads took one route while the cars and trucks took another. This makes for a safer (no cars overtaking you on your motorcycle) and faster stage for the bikes and quads. The unseasonable rain in the area made for a much trickier stage than expected. Most bikes and riders are set up for the hot, dry dusty conditions; not the wet, rainy, muddy ones like today.

Don was afflicted with a stomach ailment today that kept him awake most of last night and it is serious enough he may have to seek medical attention. According to Patsy Quick, team owner of Dessert Rose Racing who is supplying logistical support to Don in Argentina, that although he is not feeling well “I don’t think a bad stomach would keep Don off the rally”. Nor do we.

This, along with the Stage 1 mix up of Don not getting his time card and having to return 89 km back to the start of the stage to get it, is making a challenging Dakar for Don. It is a grueling endurance rally for many reasons with numerous pitfalls. So far he is taking them all in stride and is concentrating on finishing the 2010 Dakar race !

Dakar Racing Factoid – things you might not know or thought of:

When we all travel oversees we tend to get upset stomachs. It is due to a variety of things such as the stress of traveling, different foods and water supplies, heat etc. Known by various names: Montezuma’s Revenge, Delli Belly, etc it is not fun for a traveler to have to miss part of their vacation due to this ailment. But if you are a competitor in the Dakar race that is even more challenging. There is not a lot of restroom accommodations in rural Argentina and if nature calls you have to answer it. Immediately. So off you go to try and find a private place, stop, remove all your safety gear and go about your business. Oh did we mention that your are surrounded by crowds of spectators ( there were apparently 800,000 spectators on the first day of the Dakar race in Buenos Aires). Challenging to say the least.

For more information and photos check out the Destination Dakar website.


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Dakar Day 1 - Don Hatton

Don Hatton finished 69th today, the first day of competition in the Dakar 2010 Rally in Argentina, up from his 74th starting position.

Yesterday was the ceremonial start to the rally in Buenos Aires with a relatively short transit to the inland city of Colon. Don arrived late to the bivouac due to the extremely heavy traffic and after grabbing a less than spectacular dinner (2 chunks of meat and a sausage) he was off to prepare for the next days competition.

Due to his early start time, he had to be at the start line at 5:00 AM, Don retired to his tent to prepare the next days route book and get some sleep as he had to be up at 4:00 AM !

Today’s stage one of the race consisted of a transit stage of 317 km, the special of 219 km, followed by another transit stage of 84 km for a total of 652 km for the day. A transit or connection stage is how the competitor gets from the bivouac to the start of the competition stage known as the special. These are held on public roads with all the hazards of riding a motorcycle in Argentina !!

The special today was mainly good gravel conditions, slightly damp due to the recent heavy rains in the area. Temperatures here are in the low 30 C. Excellent riding conditions and Don has not reported any issues

Dakar Racing Factoid – things you might not know or thought of :

As part of your entrance cost to the Dakar the organizers provided basic meals, bivouac services (shower, toilet, medical personal, etc) along with most of your fuel. But due to the global nature of the event some of the services might not be up to what we would expect for this caliber of event. A constant complaint from most of the privateer participants is the food. It varies greatly in quality and quantities. It has been referred as “poor at best, horrible at worst”

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Follow a Canadian at the Dakar

Patrick Trahan is a Canadian hailing from Montreal. He's doing something that many people have have tried but relatively very few have done - he's going to compete in the Dakar on a motorcycle.

His number is #153 so keep an eye on the TV coverage for him.

You can also check out his BLOG or follow him on FACEBOOK.

His bike looks fantastic! Good luck Patrick! We'll be watching and rooting for you.

* Photo courtesy Patrick Trahan's Blog


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Canadian - Don Hatton - leaves for Dakar 2010

The day all Dakar racers fear. Scrutineering day. This year that day is December 29, 2009.

Scrutineering is where the organizers of the Dakar race go over everything with the racers. We mean everything. They review your documentation, your race vehicle, your support vehicle (if you have one), the registered members of your team. Everything. And if they find something that cannot be fixed by the time scrutineering closes you do not get to compete.

The technical inspectors review your vehicle. Does it have the proper lights, navigation equipment, adequate fuel supply, emergency water carrying capacity? Does it have the proper and authorized decals in the correct places? Are all the movable pieces, certain nuts and bolts, secured by the proper safety wire?

There is a mind boggling myriad of technical inspections any of which if the vehicle fails could cause the organizers to disallow you from competing in the race.

On top of these there are all the little things like:

- Does the competitor and all the support team members have a valid passport good till June 2010. If not, go home.
- Does the vehicle have the proper registration and insurance – originals only please. If not, go home.
- Does your helmet meet current safety standards. If not, go home

There are some 18 different inspection stations that the competitor, his documentation and his vehicle must pass through to get final approval. Then they are allowed to get their time card and target time (time they will start the race on race day) and enter the Parc Ferme (secured parking area for the vehicles)

Scrutineering day. The day the Dakar competitors fear for a good reason.


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First Canadian on two wheels attempting Dakar on four wheels

Okay - this isn't really two wheel news but I suspect it'll be of interest to many 2 wheel fans...

Lawrence Hacking - the Canadian Off Road Legend and one of the visionaries behind World Enduro Canada - is on his way to Buenos Aires to start his next Dakar adventure. A few years ago Lawrence became the first Canadian to finish Dakar on a motorcycle and is now looking to do the same on 4 wheels.

See this LINK for more information on his plans. Be sure to follow his progress on line www.dakar.com the race begins on January 1st.

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Don Hatton - Going to Dakar celebration!

Team Destination Dakar’s Don Hatton is heading off to race the Dakar 2010 race in Argentina and is inviting fans and media contacts to come to his going away celebration on December 23rd, 2009 from 6PM to 9PM

UPDATE - We had the date as the 13th but have since been sent a corrected Press Release with the proper date - December 23rd, 2009.

It is being held at Duncan Motorsports, 1063 Canada Ave, Duncan BC from 6:00PM to 9:00PM.

Come meet the team, see his 2009 Dakar motorcycle and enjoy some refreshments. There will also be a special viewing of 2009 Dakar race and some of Don’s video footage of his recent rally race in Morocco.

See you there !

For more information and photos check out www.destinationdakar.com

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Dakar 2010 - 30 Days and counting!

We got an email from BC resident - Don Hatton's, Team Destination Dakar with some updates that will have all the Dakar fans out their on the edge of their seat.

Press Release:

The bike is built and loaded on the ship in France heading for Argentina. Entrance fee is paid. The medical shots are all done. Moose’s – a motorcycle endurance racer’s version of a tire inner tube - are located and being shipped via a courier company to a motorcycle dealer in South America that he has only met once.

A thousand little details are being looked after by various people around the globe all cumulating in Canadian Don Hatton starting in the 2010 Dakar Race on January 1, 2010 in Buenos Aires Argentina. The race lasts 17 days and covers nearly 10,000 kilometers in Argentina and Chile.

“I’m nervous about the race but really excited about being back in the Dakar” Don said in a recent interview. This will be Don’s third attempt at the fabled endurance race.

His first attempt was preempted by the cancellation of the race in 2008 when it was still held in North Africa by the organizing body – ASO – due to terrorist threats against the race participants. In the 2009 Dakar race held in Argentina Don crashed on day five severely injuring himself.

Don is fully recovered from his injuries and recently finished fourth in the 2009 NPO Shamrock Rally de Maroc (Rally of Morocco)

Don’s new KTM 690 Rally bike was recently on display at his dealership, Duncan Motorsports, in Duncan BC where team mechanic Bernie Wright prepared the bike prior to shipping it to France. It will be loaded along with his replacement parts and personal racing equipment onto a ship by the ASO so that all the competitors bikes clear Argentina customs at one time. This will greatly simplify some of the logistical challenges faced by Don and his team last year.

Don is inviting his friends, fans and media to a gala send off party to be held December 23, 2009 at Duncan Motorsports in Duncan BC. Time to be advised.

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Come watch a Dakar bike being built in Duncan (BC)

Don Hatton, Canada’s own international motorcycle racer, would like to invite the public to come and watch the creation of his new KTM690 race bike being built in Duncan BC.

Don has hired KTM factory trained motorcycle mechanic Bernie Wright to come to Duncan Motorsports, Don’s motorcycle shop in Duncan BC, to build the new race bike. They have opened a part of the shop to allow the public to view and talk to Bernie while he performs the upgrades necessary for the KTM to survive the grueling 14 day Dakar race.

Bernie was the mechanic on the Dessert Rose team that Don was riding with in his recently successful completion of the 2009 NPO Shamrock Rally de Maroc (Rally of Morocco). Bernie was also the team mechanic in Don’s two previous Dakar attempts.

We all look forward to meeting Bernie and watching the transformation of the KTM 690 Rally bike into a true Dakar contender.

The location of Duncan Motorsports is:

1603 Canada Ave
Duncan BC, V9L 1V2
Ph: 250-716-7148

For more information and photos check out www.destinationdakar.com

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Canadian - Don Hatton to ride the 2009 Morocco Rally!

Don Hatton, Cowichan Valleys own international motorcycle racer has entered the 2009 Morocco Rally set to start October 24, 2009.

“I’m glad to be racing again” Don says.

He was severely injured on stage 5 of the 2009 Dakar race held in Argentina in January 2009.

“I just recently got my medical clearance from the FIM – the governing body for motorcycle rally racing including the Dakar – and I am ready to get back racing”

Don competed in the 2008 Morocco Rally successfully completing the seven day endurance event in 127th place.

Don will be racing for England’s Patzy Quick race team about a KTM690. Patzy Quick is famous for being the first English women rider to complete the grueling 14 day Paris Dakar Rally and by being featured in the TV series Race to Dakar.

Don is planning to compete in this years Dakar race starting on January 1, 2010. He will be riding a specially prepared KTM motorcycle which will be built in the show room of Duncan Motorsports, a local motorcycle dealership which Don and his wife Natalie purchased earlier this year.

“We are inviting the public to come and see Bernie my mechanic build the bike to race specifications right in the show room. For anyone interested in motorsports, not just motorcycle racing, it should be very interesting and informative”

For more information check out www.destinationdakar.ca

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Simon Pavey coming to Duncan BC

Simon Pavey, multiple time entrant and finisher in the Dakar, trainer of Ewan McGreggor and Charley Boorman, and manager of BMW Motorrad's off-road training facility in south Wales, will be coming to Duncan Motorsports in Duncan, BC on June 20th. At 6PM on the 20th Pavey will be giving a talk and presentation. Rumor is it's just $15 to attend with proceeds going to the Association for Injured Motorcyclists.

He'll also be presenting a mini version of his Adventure rider school on June 21st. Contact Duncan Motorsports for further details.

Duncan Motorsports
1063 Canada Ave
Duncan BC V9L 1V2 Canada
866-746-2453 (toll free)

Looks like it'll be a great opportunity to get some rare Dakar insider information and a chance to brush up on your off-road skills from a pro!

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Details of rule changes from Dakar organizer - ASO

Well, after yesterdays shocking news of KTM's withdrawal from the Dakar we went looking for a bit of information on the rule changes. We found some, but it reads a little like a bad google translation - all the information is there but it just isn't quite clear enough to be exactly sure what it means.

We thought we'd post the direct quote from the ASO here regarding the rule changes, as they apply to motorcycles:


Bikes: on equal terms
For several years, more and more of the top bikers have won specials or finished in the leading ten overall positions using under 450cc bikes. At the same time, the smaller capacity machines have been more and more present, representing 40% of the registered riders at the start of the 2009 Dakar. Financially more accessible and more reliable than the older bikes of the previous generations and now more adapted to the demands of off-road rallies, the 450cc still have a deficit in performance that prevent them from reaching even higher ambitions. This difference will be totally erased for the 2011 Dakar during which only bikes with engines under 450cc will be accepted.

A bridle in 2010 for the amateurs over 450cc

In order to reach this objective of levelness between competitors that will open the number of potential victory contenders, a transition measure has been taken for the 2010 Dakar. Aware of the important number of competitors already having bikes of over 450cc, the organisers have decided to accept them for this edition with the obligation to set up a bridle reducing the power of the engine. This bridle, conceived to limit the performance to the level of the 450cc, will be provided by the rally organisation.

The champions on 450cc in 2010

This modification aiming to support the amateur riders that want to line up at the start of the rally will not be applicable to a certain number of professionals and semi-professionals for which a list will be established later. The possible winners will therefore be forced to use as soon as 2010 a bike of under 450cc. On equal terms, they will battle it out using the qualities that define champions in the discipline: physical endurance, piloting, navigation.

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KTM quits the Dakar!

Some shocking news from KTM in response to rule changes by the ASO on the displacement size of motorcycles allowed in the Dakar.

Full release...

"Rally Dakar” – KTM withdraws!

The limiting of motorcycles with a displacement of 450 cc forces the long term dominator of the Dakar Rally to withdraw.

Following the announcement at a press conference on June 4, 2009 of the French “ASO” - the organisers of the “South American Dakar“ that from 2010, only motorcycles with a maximum displacement of 450 cc will be permitted to compete, KTM, after eight consecutive victories, has decided to immediately accept the consequences and announces its withdrawal from the “Dakar”.

The company will no longer be represented at the rally in South America either with an official factory team or a KTM-supported team. At the same time, KTM underlines that the company remains committed to rally sport and will now concentrate its efforts on the world championship and other important rallies.

The organiser’s short term change to the rules, designed to end the dominance of KTM, and which comes without any advance warning, hits the KTM factory hard. Today, just six months before the start – and at a time when not only the factory team but also dozens of private teams are deep in preparations for this extremely complex rally, the immediate withdrawal of the worldwide market leader of offroad sports motorcycle is the only possible consequence.

“Every sport regulation needs changes and adjustments to new developments to retain an interest in it, but this also require the appropriate lead times. We have the entire material for the 690 Rally motorcycles for our factory team as well as that for 50 customers’ motorcycles in our storage facility ready to be constructed in June. Riders’ contracts have been finalised and all the team members have been engaged. The financial consequences that results from this decision are enormous. Quite apart from this, we are shocked by the organiser’s lack of loyalty, above all because of the huge efforts we made following the cancellation of the Dakar in 2008 by contributing to the new edition - even during a period of extreme economic crisis,” said KTM Motor Sport Advisor and “Rally Legend” Heinz Kinigadner in a first statement.

Following the decision for the deployment of 450cc motorcycles, which are unthinkably unsuitable for use in long distance rallies, KTM can no longer economically justify a commitment to be engaged in the Dakar in the future. KTM Motor Sport Director Winfried Kerschhaggl: “Rally sport serves to prove the efficiency and stability of our large volume series single cylinder. There is no question that we will remain active in rally sport! Having said that, for KTM, the rally in South America is now history. We will now fully concentrate on the Rally World Championship and we will seek out alternatives. Maybe we will soon again see full KTM Rally engagement on African soil – back to the roots!”

With its commitment to rally sports, KTM naturally takes the obligations to its long term worldwide customers seriously because it is they who have decided to put their trust in the products and in the unique service of the Austrian company for rally sport by choosing KTM motorcycles.

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Canadian, Don Hatton to attempt Dakar in 2010

We received word from Canadian rider Don Hatton himself that he's planning on tackling the Dakar again in 2010. The event doesn't take place until early in teh new year but it's never too early to be starting to think about the Dakar - especially if you plan on competing in it!

His 2009 Dakar attempt in Argentina and Chile ended earlier than he anticipated due to a navigational issue which lead him to a big crash! What looked like a bump in the road through all the dust was actually a jump; and a big one at that. Hitting it at about 100 km/hr sent him 10 meters into the air - like being dropped off a second story. It resulted in some pretty serious injuries which he's still recovering from.

Here's some of the details from his correspondence with us:

Hi guys just wanted to drop you a quick note to bring you up to speed on what is happening with Team Destination Dakar.

First I would like to thank all the readers who have e-mailed me their kind words and support these last couple years, you have no idea how much your support helps I have had an amazing year, I successfully competed in the Shamrock Rally in Morocco, and the Desert Challenge in Dubai UAE, before competing in the Dakar Rally in Argentina.

I was having a very good ride in the Dakar until a Navigation error caused me to crash out of the rally on Stage four, I have some very serious injuries which I am still recovering from, Doctors are hopeful that I will be riding in the next 4 to 6 weeks.

I have every intention of returning to compete in the 2010 Dakar Rally held again in Argentina, how big of a team we take will be determined by how much sponsorship money we are able to raise. I am also planing on participating in the Egypt Pharoans Rally and the Moroccan Shamrock Rally in October 2009.

I must apologize for my web site I messed it up just before the 2009 Dakar and have not yet found a technician to fix it for me. Thank you again for our interest in my team.

---

So if you're interested in helping Don get to the Dakar for 2010 and promoting your products and services in this worldwide media attention garnering event you should get in contact with Don directly.

Don Hatton dhatton**@shaw.ca . Take out the '**'

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Spaniard takes home top moto prize in 2009 Dakar

The Dakar Rally, held in South America for the first time in its history, is over. It was an exciting route for spectators and thousands of South Americans showed up on a daily basis to cheer on competitors. It was clear they enjoyed themselves.

All of ASO's work in planning the South American Dakar appears to have been warranted. The route seems to have been a success and proved tough on competitors and equipment. 217 motorcyclists started the Dakar but only 113 made it to the finish line.

Spaniard Marc Coma, riding his factory KTM, took home the top honor in the moto division beating his nearest rival (and team mate) Cyril Depres by nearly an hour and a half. This is the second win for 32 year old Marc Coma, who also won in 2006. A perhaps surprising third place finisher was French rider, David Fretigne. Fretigne was riding a Yamaha WR450 that was certainly outmatched in the pure horsepower department by the larger KTM's of the two top finishers.

KTM has a history of success in the Dakar with this year being no exception. The Austrian motorcycle company produced "the" motorcycle if you wanted to be successful in the Dakar this year. KTM riders took a whopping eight of the top ten spots. The Yamaha of Fretigne and Portugese rider, Paulo Goncalves, on his Honda were the only riders of non-KTM's to make it into the top ten.

In the moto division, the Volkswagon Toureg was the vehicle of choice for the top two finishers. South-African Giniel De Villiers and German co-driver Dirk Von Zitzewitz took the top spot. US driver Mark Miller and co-driver Ralph Pitchford (South Africa) took the second spot. Third place finisher was the US Hummer team, Robby Gordon and co-driver Andy Grider.

Robby Gordon is perhaps more famous for his Nascar exploits was the only top three finisher in a two-wheel drive in the car division. No doubt the third sport will be bitter-sweet for Gordon. He desperately wants to be the first North American to win the event - I'm sure the same can be said of Mark Miller though!

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Motorcyclist dies during the Dakar

Yamaha motorcycle rider Pascal Terry, age 49, died during the Dakar while in the race. He was found 15 meters away from his motorcycle, sitting in the shade in an area of dense vegetation, with his helmet off, and with food and water.

He went missing on Sunday during the second stage of the race, between Santa Rosa and Puerto Madryn.

Local police performed an investigation as to the cause of death and it was determined he died of pulmonary edema. According to the Argentinian military body charged with police duties, his life could have been saved if he would have been treated immediately.

Dakar organizers (ASO) indicate there was an unfortunate breakdown in communications between the local event organizers, the local head office, and the French based head office. The breakdown in communications caused a prolonged delay before a search was held to try to find Terry. Terry had called race organizers Sunday on a Sat phone, to indicated that he had run out of gas but then obtained some from another rider. It's not clear what happened after that call and the time up to his death.

The tracking device was showing his bike in one place but there was reportedly some confusion as to whether he had made it back to the base camp without his bike. This delayed rescue attempts.

Before the race he spoke about his long-held desire to compete in the event.

“I’ve dreamed about being in the Dakar since it started,” said Terry, who had been racing motorcycles for 29 years. “I think it’s going to be great. ... I’m going to do all I can to take full advantage of all the legs of the race.”

His body was found on Wednesday and the ASO have vowed to review their communication procedures.

It's a very unfortunate incident that highlights the dangers of the race. Even with all the modern technology and tracking devices available to us that things like this can happen.

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Canadian's out of the Dakar

Sadly, it appears the two Canadian's in the Dakar have both withdrawn from the event.

Don Hatton and Pierre Navarro are both listed on the withdrawals page of the Dakar website here.

No word yet as to what the specific reasons were for the withdrawals but we'll let you know as soon as we find out more.

Update: Don Hatton was reportedly injured and airlifted from the stage. He cracked his C4 and thoractic (I don't know what a thoratic is but it doesn't sound plesant!) and had to have surgery. He's apparently going to be OK though.

Still no word about Pierre Navarro though.

Expanding our "who to cheer for" list slightly beyond our Canadian border to the south we've got Jonah Street. He's from the USA and appears to be one to watch. Currently sitting in the number 4 spot in the rankings (as of Stage 4). He's near the top and a contender to be on the podium at the finish.

To learn more about Jonah Street check out his website here.

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Marc Coma wins first stage of 2009 Dakar

Spaniard, Marc Coma racing under the Team Repsol KTM banner, has won the first stage of the 2009 Dakar. Coma finished the stage with a commanding 22 minute lead over the second placed rider, Jacek Czachor.

Tire problems seemed to be the common issue many riders faced on the first stage but Coma luckily made it through unscathed. Many other riders ended the stage on ruined rubber, or in many cases, on their rims. Such was the fate of famed rider, and one of the top contenders, Cyril Despres. He crossed the line with the rim bare on his rear wheel, 41 minutes behind Coma!

Stage 1 saw the competitors making their way from Buenos Aires to Santa Rosa de la Pampa which consisted of 371 km's of special stage.

For full details of the first stage check out the Dakar website here.

Stage 2 of the Dakar took competitors from Santa Rosa de la Pampa > Puerto Madryn with 237 km's of special stage. The stage was mostly quick but Marc Coma lost some of his lead, due is part to a radiator problem. Frans Verhoeven won the day taking his first ever special stage in the Dakar.

Coma is still has a 13.47 lead over Verhoeven. Provisional third place on the podium went to Jonah Street, who was 5th to cross the finishing line.

For full details of stage two check out the Dakar website here.

As for the Canadian content in the Dakar. Well, Don Hatton was 115 of 212 riders at the end of stage 2 (just behind Simon Pavey - BMW off road instructor, off-road skills trainer to Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, and multi-year participant in the Dakar). Stage 2 saw Hatton lose a few spots and he's down to 176th spot. That's out of 192 riders now though. Looks like 20 riders have dropped out after the first day.

Pierre Navarro (who's indicated to be from France but he's living in Quebec, so we'll claim him as a Canadian) may be out it appears. He's listed as being 208 of 212 at the end of stage 1 but he's missing from the stage rankings for stage 2. No doubt that'll be a big disappointment.

Pierre gained a little fame when he helped out a fellow competitor who was mere kilometers from the finish line. Here's a quote from the Dakar website of what happened:

"The first stage was especially difficult for the most experienced bikers, whose day was disrupted by tire problems. It was also hard for Belgian Stéphane Charlier, who ground to a halt 5 km before the end of the special, due to engine problems. But in South America, just like in Africa, solidarity is alive and well on the Dakar. “I managed to finish thanks to Pierre (Navarro) who towed me home using a strap that the Argentines found for us”, explained the rider.

“I found him lying down by the side of the track. I thought he was having a nap, but he told me he thought he had broken his engine”, said Pierre Navarro, the day’s good Samaritan. “I checked my road-book and saw that there were only 5 km left. It would have been such a shame to have to give it all up there and then. That’s also why I’m taking part in the Dakar, for its human values, but I never thought I would end up in that sort of situation on my first Dakar…”"

The Dakar is not won on the first (or second!) day so there will be plenty of time to gain some ground so long as you manage to stay in the event. Go Canada! Go Don!

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