Cox does it again!!

South African off road hero and cross-country motorcycle specialist, Alfie Cox, has yet again proved his excellence by finishing third in the 2005 Telefónica Dakar race today.

Everyone predicted that with the short special stage of 31 km not much should happen in the overall standings. Cox, a wily old Fox, taking it easy, preserving his machine so that he ensures reaching the finish, whilst the young adrenaline junky flies to try and make up time to snatch third place from him. In the end it was Cox of the Gauloises KTM Factory Team, who beat Esideré Esteve Pujol of Spain by a marginal 22 seconds.

The motorcycle category was won by Cox's teammate; Cyril Despres of France with Marc Coma of Spain in second place.

"I really wanted a podium finish badly this year, to finally salute my two teammates of the past few years, and now I can proudly say it, this was for you Richard (Sainct of France), and Fabrizio (Méoni of Italy). After Fabrizio died on the route I realized that he would have wished for that and I raced on to ensure more than one blue Gauloises machine on the podium today," commented a jubilant Alfie Cox.

A tradition was brought back, where the motorcycles started 20 abreast for a sprint along the beach, through the dunes, around the traditional Lac Rose and onto the podium finish in front of thousands of spectators.

A very cheerful and satisfied Cox said: "The organizers said it from the start, this race was shorter than in previous years, but it was really tough. Over the last few days, everyone just competed with the mind focussed on one thing, reaching the podium in Dakar. It is great to have received this trophy and I thank my technician, Lee Palmer, all the sponsors and the back-up we had from the KTM factory for the support, you made this possible. For my wife Hazel, your support made me carry on after that fall in Barcelona and throughout this race."

-cvz-