Dakar Daily by Scott Cox 1/10/07 - THE GOOD GUY FILE: Johnathan Edwards, M.D. Pulling off an event like the Dakar Rally requires the participation and sacrifice of many fine men and women every year, and not just the fast guys with numbers ...
Dakar Daily by Scott Cox
1/10/07 - THE GOOD GUY FILE: Johnathan Edwards, M.D. Pulling off an event like the Dakar Rally requires the participation and sacrifice of many fine men and women every year, and not just the fast guys with numbers on their backs or rooftops. Long after the dust settles on each daily special test and transport section this army of silent warriors does without basic necessities (read: eating and sleeping) in order to keep their riders and drivers in the hunt. You won't read about them on rally websites or see their faces in your favorite magazines -- truth is they're not in Africa to lead a stage or race for a podium finish. But when it comes right down to it these truck drivers, mechanics, technicians, tire changers, chefs, communication specialists, and computer techs are the behind the scenes heroes who make it possible for a chosen few to ride, drive and survive until tomorrow.
Again this year the Dakar Rally in general, and #9 Red Bull KTM rider Chris Blais in particular, is very fortunate to have one of the best "silent warriors" in the rally business along for the ride. He's Johnathan Edwards, M.D., of Las Vegas, Nevada, and hopefully by the time you've read this, after he's secured his own rider and who knows how many others in need of a diagnosic, treatment or just some reassuring words - in english or french - Amercia's own "Dakar Doc" will have finally found a chance to steal a few winks more than the "about an hour" that he settles for most nights on the Dakar. Sleep tight rally racers, the good Doctor's on duty tonite. -- Scott Cox Elmer Symons & Chris Blais
Rest in Peace, Elmer Symons - Since yesteday's tragic death of Elmer Symons during Stage 4, there has been a tremendous outpouring of grief and heartfelt condolences toward Elmer's brother Philip, the Symons family, and to his friend and JJE/SSC teammate James Embro. Without exception everyone who knew Elmer was impacted by his happy spirit and high level of enthusiasm for motorcycling. He was a gifted rider, a skilled mechanic, and friend to all. It seems like just yesterday that Elmer was introduced to us here in California by legendary off-road racing star Malcolm Smith, himself a Dakar veteran, and the man who played a huge role in making Elmer a part of the American off-road racing scene.
Stage 4 - Tuesday 1/9/07 Er Rachica - Ouarzazate
Heads-up ride moves Blais to 4th overall
Most of today's communications had to do with the status of fallen rider Elmer Symons but what we did learn was that Chris had a very uneventful day. This was his third sojourn through this region of Africa and with a non-supported "riders only" bivouac this night, #9 didn't make unnecessary moves that could damage his motorcycle and take a toll on his physique. 6th place for the day, 4th overall. As expected as the action has stepped up, so too has the attrition rate. Rider dropouts took a heavy toll on Southern California rookie teammates Brian Schuckle and Mike Kay (both Husqvarna) and American fastman, #25 Jonah Street (Team Rally Panamerica).
Stage 5 - Wednesday 1/10/07 Ouarzazate - Tan Tan
Blais rolls a trio of 5's: 5th stage, 5th on stage, 5th overall
After a night on his own, with no assistance from Red Bull KTM technician Matt Spencer or guidance from team physician/manager Doc Edwards, Chris stuck to his careful plan by maintaining a brisk pace but avoiding pitfalls that can quickly end the event. According to Edwards, Chris is in excellent condition, still very focused and motivated. "When I finally saw Chris at he end of the Stage 5 special, he looked great; very alert." Said Edwards. "He's really riding a smart race and saving himself for the next couple of marathon stages that will serve to thin our the field. Between now and the weekend, there will be some very rugged challenges ahead. But Chris is ready for them."
-credit: scott cox