Cox motivated to finish Dakar race After the very tragic loss of the Italian Fabrizio Meoni yesterday, his teammates in the Gauloises KTM Team decided to continue with the race that finishes in Dakar on Sunday, 16 January 2005. Today's marathon...
Cox motivated to finish Dakar race
After the very tragic loss of the Italian Fabrizio Meoni yesterday, his teammates in the Gauloises KTM Team decided to continue with the race that finishes in Dakar on Sunday, 16 January 2005. Today's marathon stage was cancelled for the motorcycles and only the cars and trucks completed the 819 km stage of which 586 km was a special stage. Stage winner in the car category was the South African Giniel de Villiers in a Nissan, Alfie Cox's teammate in the South African National Off Road seen.
The motorcycles were finally prepared last night for the two marathon days. With today's stage cancelled the organizers transported the motorcycles and the riders from Kiffa to Bamako in Mali. Now the rally caravan finds itself in what the Europeans call Black Africa. Tonight, all the vehicles were impounded as no work is allowed on them before the start of tomorrow's second leg of the final marathon stage.
David Fretigne of France reflected on Meoni's crash: "I cannot understand why he fell. No one could fall where he did. I am stunned."
When asked whether they wanted to continue, a number of KTM riders commented:
Jean Brucy, Team KTM Gauloises, says with tears in his eyes: "By all means, we want a "blue one" to be on the podium in Dakar. In respect of Richard did we go on this rally and we will finish in respect of Fabrizio as well. That is our way of remembrance." Team mate Alfie Cox adds: "We have been working for this Dakar for one year. I have invested a lot of energy to be within the top drivers. It is our decision to finish the rally. And I am sure that Fabrizio would have accepted this due to him being a great sportsman."
Cox continued by saying: "Méoni loved his racing and he died doing what he loved most and did the best. The way I knew him, he would have wanted us to be strong and to race on. If we stop now, his death was worthless, but if we continue, and we put the blue Gauloises colours on the podium in respect for him, then both him and Sainct would have been proud of their team."
Tomorrow at the start of the second part of the marathon stage, the top motorcyclists will start in the order that they finished yesterday: Coma, Despres, Esteve Pujol, Deazavedo, Cox, Brucy, and Verhoefen.
It leads for 668 km from Bamako to Kayes. The special stage runs for 370 km. After getting up at 02:40, The riders will need to proof flexibility on the stage. At first speed is important, then the small track crosses through bush land and towards the end of the special a rugged and rocky scenery demands cross-country skills from the drivers.
From the start of the Special to the Manantali barrage, the still laterite track is on the wide side and allows for fast Rally style driving. For the next 150 km, it's back to bush landscape, where the track more often than not takes the form of a bush path through the middle of nowhere. Motocross specialists will be the most confident in the crossing of the Tambaoura cliffs. The finish of the Special will be judged in Sadiola, a small Malian town known for its opencast gold mine. The competitors get up at 02:30 in the morning, before they depart on the 205km liaison stage