Dakar, the ultimate test of man and machine against the forces of nature offers new challenges each year and preparations at KTM - a company that sees rally sport and the “Big Adventure” as an integral part of what it stands for - are now in full swing for the 2006 event.
In 2006, four factory teams will been on the starting line for the Austrian company that has registered five consecutive wins in this desert classic:
* GAULOISES KTM with Cyril Despres, Isidre Esteve, Michel Gau and David Casteu
* REPSOL KTM with Marc Coma, Carlo de Gavardo, Giovanni Sala
* REPSOL KTM JUNIOR with Jordi Duran, Jordi Viladoms
* RED BULL KTM USA with Chris Blais and Andy Grider
But as tough as the challenge of the race may be, the teams will only be as good as the support network that follows them in their quest to conquer the desert. It is also an exercise in mind blowing logistics and precise planning to ensure that every rider is equipped, maintained, kept safe and supported for the duration of the race. For KTM that means no less than a crew of 60 support staff with seven Jeeps and seven MAN Trucks to follow the race.
The mountain of equipment to be transported includes 15,000 kg maintenance material, 6,000 kg spare parts, 1,800 kg luggage for riders and mechanics, including tents and sleeping bags, replacement material for the race- and transport vehicles and accompanying Jeeps, electric generators, welding units, tool kits and complete independent repair and service facilities. In addition, as a contingency plan in the event of transport being delayed or disabled, another 2 tons of selected spare parts are also air freighted. In total, KTM will be transporting between 36-38 tons of equipment and supplies.
The KTM Dakar Machine will be underway with 3 x 3 axle and 2 x 2 axle all wheel drive trucks with a maximum cross country capacity as well as 2 x 3 axle all wheel drive race trucks and six Nissan Patrol all wheel vehicles, each carrying enough spare parts so that service work can begin in the event of the late arrival of a truck.
In addition, all service vehicles must adhere to the race regulation’s strict safety standards with roll bars, bucket seats, four point safety belts, additional tanks for a reach of 1000km, fire extinguishers and emergency equipment such as satellite phones and state-of-the-art navigation equipment. All KTM vehicles for the Dakar rally feature specially modified chassis to ensure they can handle the additional loads and the rigorous journey they must undertake.
Rule amendments emphasize safety
KTM places the utmost emphasis on safety and following incidents last year, a security plan has now been worked out with the organizers, including a number of points introduced at KTM’s request. A 150km/h speed limit will now apply and riders’ neck guards will also be available from the organizers. Shorter tank stops, reduced from 350 km to 250 km, are also to be introduced. The move is designed to counter the fact that a rider, after making a rest and refueling stop can suffer a short term lapse of concentration while having to readjust to the heavier weight of a fully tanked machine and may overlook potentially dangerous obstacles. In addition, mechanics may no longer bypass certain sections of the course by flying from point to point and mustcope with the same conditions as the riders themselves.
KTM, with its distinguished record of wins in the Dakar race expects its teams to continue the tradition of excellence. In order to give them the best possible prospects to succeed, nothing is left to chance. Under the KTM motto “Ready to Race”, the company therefore applies as much dedication to the precise logistical planning for the Dakar Rally as it does to the design and manufacture of its machines.