DAKAR UPDATE–STAGE 12-14
Stage 12, originally scheduled as a 585km Special, has been canceled due to the death of renowned KTM rider, Fabrizio Meoni.
The motorcycle riders of the 2005 Dakar Rally have expressed their wishes to withdraw from stage 12, and the Dakar organization has complied with their request. All motorcycle racers will be flown from Kiffa to Bamako.
Scot Harden, Manager of the U.S. Red Bull KTM Dakar Team called to check in today and said, “I?m in Bamako. They just flew all the motorcycle racers in, canceling Stage 12 out of respect for Fabrizio [Meoni]. It?s been tough around here?Fabrizio was a very special guy and well-respected. He will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his wife and two children.”
He also added, “The team is still holding up really well. Chris [Blais] and Kellon [Walch] have exceeded everyone?s expectations. They have been riding with intelligence, determination and pure skill in these conditions, and they have impressed a lot of established people over here.
Unfortunately, Kellon had electrical problems with the bike and it caused him to lose a lot of time. He fixed it on his own and now sits in the twenty-first overall position. Chris is doing an outstanding job as he is in ninth.
We?re out of the sand now?going into the jungle and villages. We have to be careful because there is danger in every corner. We have three more days of hard competition, but we?ll just take it one day at a time.”
The Bamako to Kayes Stage saw the Rally riders leave the soft sandy dunes behind them. The riders piloted their motorcycles into the Malian bush land and through the Tambaoura mountain scenery.
U.S. KTM Red Bull Dakar rider Chris Blais had an outstanding day as he finished the 370km Special in 3rd place. This is his best finish to date. Chris clocked three minutes and thirty-two seconds behind KTM stage leader, Andy Caldecott, and is in the 9th overall position.
Teammate and Manager Scot Harden cruised in to finish the 668km stage in 24th position, while young Kellon Walch completed the stage in 48th. Scot Harden is 21st and Kellon Walch is 17th in the overall standings.
Tomorrow?s stage is from Kayes to Tambacounda and will have a 93km liaison to the 529km Special. After Stage 14 is completed, there are two stages left.
DAKAR UPDATE ? STAGE 14
The sun was finally shining for the rest of the 105 motorcyclists still competing in the Dakar Rally. The riders left Kayes and rode the 529km Special to Tambacounda and according to the Dakar website, “The track that leads to Tambacounda alternates between bush landscape, the crossing of villages and quick splashes in little rivers in Sonink?ountry.”
Chris Blais had another great day as he placed third in the Stage. He said, “”I am very satisfied,” he claimed, “The route and the terrain were to my liking. This year I am here to learn, and so far things have worked out very well. I got a bit closer to Dakar today. I definitely want to participate next year again.” Chris sits in the 9th overall position.
US Red Bull KTM Riders, Kellon Walch and Scot Harden had a good day as the two finished the stage within two minutes of each other. Kellon came in the 19th position while Scot finished 21st. Kellon is in the 22nd overall position and Scot is in 17th.
Stage 15 will be from Tambacounda to Dakar and will contain two liaisons and a 225km Special, totaling a 569km day. There are only two stages left of the 2005 Dakar Rally.