Dakar: KTM stage 16 report

The rally crews have finally reached Dakar. Today they had to say good bye to the dunes and the loneliness of the West-African Sahara. Bye, bye Mauritania, welcome to Senegal. Today Nani Roma did everything right: He kept close to Richard Sainct.

The rally crews have finally reached Dakar. Today they had to say good bye to the dunes and the loneliness of the West-African Sahara. Bye, bye Mauritania, welcome to Senegal. Today Nani Roma did everything right: He kept close to Richard Sainct. This way he would be save that the Frenchman wouldn’t endanger his first place in the overall standings. "I rode very carefully so I wouldn’t make any mistakes. Now I’m in Dakar. I’m pretty nervous. There are so many Spanish journalists here. Tomorrow nothing should go wrong."

Richard Sainct, too, is not only content about winning the stage, but about the overalls as well. "I’m so happy that I was able to finish the race at all. And now that I am able to claim a place on the podium it makes everything perfect. Nani deserves his victory, he didn’t make any mistakes. That is what sport is all about. At one time you win, at other times somebody else does." The entire KTM-team admires what Richard Sainct has accomplished. In spite of the injury on his forearm he has since the 4th stage he was racing until the finish. There aren’t many riders which would have endured this until the end of the rally.

And finally, Cyril Despres was satisfied about today as well. "I achieved my minimal-goal and defended my 3rd place. That isn’t only important for myself, it is also important to the team." His team includes, we don’t want to forget, Jean Brucy, too. In the meantime he has swooped sides and become a "spectator". Tomorrow he will have the chance to celebrate with his team-mates. Team Gauloises KTM France (102 points) leads in the team overall standings ahead of Team Repsol KTM Spain (132), Team Gauloises KTM International (175) and Team Red Bull KTM USA (471).

This year’s Dakar rally has demanded the maximum of its participants. The more surprising it is that many private riders (that have used the KTM support) fought their way to Dakar. We have enormous respect for them, because they are:

Silent heroes

On January 1st Matteo Graziani was the first one to clinch a stage in the 26th edition of the Dakar rally. He won the prologue enduring awful snow conditions. And now he, too, has reached Dakar. Today he arrived in 9th place. Although Matteo Graziani enjoys his vineyards near Rimini most, he is continuously drawn out into the world. Graziani’s passion is riding motorbikes. Best he likes racing them at rallies and whenever possible he likes riding them fast.

"That is what I need," explains the winegrower from Forlio, "Riding motorcycles is the perfect compensation to the winegrowing business." He is racing the Dakar rally for the second time now. His success is obvious. If his luck keeps up tomorrow the Italian would rank in 9th position, a wonderful accomplishment.

The KTM-support-crew has contributed to his success, but they weren’t the only ones. It is also for the help of Larry Roeseler. "Larry shared his gasoline so that I could go on," explains Matteo, "I thought it was awfully nice of him. After all, he was racing for a good placement. And maybe this is exactly what makes the Dakar so special: the cooperativeness among each other." Matteo feels comfortable within the large rally family. It is this feeling that helps him endure the torment of the thousands of rally kilometers."

About tomorrows’ stage the riders dream about since they started in France. It is the stage at Lac Rose right in front of Dakar city. It means that they have managed to reach the finish. New this year is that there won’t be a all-at-once-start of the whole field of competitors at the lake. The riders will start separately and then they will finish their Dakar at the Atlantic coast. Time is taken on 27 kilometers and traditionally no one is going to touch the overall standings during the last day.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Jean Brucy , Cyril Despres , Richard Sainct , Nani Roma , Larry Roeseler